I am a mother of two, I suffered from post-partum depression after I had my first child. I didn’t expect to go through it again! Yes, I am a two-time victim of post-partum depression, and here is my story.
Why is becoming a mother of 2 significantly harder than becoming a mother for the first time? Don’t get me wrong, when I had my son, I was a mess and there was some form of post-partum depression.
All the typical symptoms were there; loss of self, loss of identity, difficulty bonding with the baby, etc., I remember it took me a while to fall in love with my first but this time around I loved our second the instant I saw her. And even then, I was quite literally all over the place, feeling rudderless.
You would think that the second time around, things would be smooth and easy. Why wouldn’t they be? After all, I’ve been there before. But here I was three years later, experiencing the same things all over again.
I couldn’t recognize myself like my identity had been stripped away. This second baby has formally cemented my label as “mom”. With my first I had only been experiencing and experimenting with motherhood, journeying through the ups and downs hand in hand with my son. Now, there were two of them, and still only one of me. And the “me” that had fought for its right to exist three years ago was now being demolished. There was simply no time or space for me outside of being a mother.
The reality was starting to hit. You see, I’m a creature of habit, and once I’m used to something it’s very difficult for me to accept change, even when it’s for the better.
Suddenly there was this new thing, taking me away from my son, instilling another overwhelming, yet different kind of loss. My boy, almost overnight, was no longer a baby. It’s true that the minute you come home from the hospital with baby number two, your first will seem so much older. On top of having a hard time adjusting to life with the latest addition to the family, I now have to accept how fast my son was growing. and this was the most heart-wrenching part for me (more on that later) When will these feelings go away? Why was I having such a tough time adjusting to a baby we had planned for, and both wanted?
The reasoning is simple. With your first, you have more time, more energy, and more of yourself to give. Yes, it’s hard adapting to life as a new mother, but you have all the time in the world to do it. With a second, there’s a lot less time and a lot more responsibility, much more of yourself you’re expected to give, but very little left of you.
And everyone will tell you that once you see the bond and love between your kids, it makes it all worth it. But amid everything, when you’re in the eye of the storm, all you can see are the darkening skies.
What I will tell you instead, is that you will find your way because that’s what mothers do. They adapt. And only a mother can give everything without expecting anything in return. You will get your bearings. Somewhere, between the incessant cries for Mama, and the never-ending demands and duties, you settle into your new role. As time goes by, you will realize that you really wouldn’t have it any other way. In the middle of the mess, the clutter, the tiresome mornings, and the long nights, your life is now complete. Because the truth is, as your hands grow full, so does your heart.