Friday, February 09, 2007

Tick Tock

In three months, give or take a week, I will welcome a new baby into my home. This is something that SuperHubby and I prayed about, and that we both wanted very badly. But as countdown to baby number two continues, I do not find myself rejoicing and longing to hold his tiny hands. Instead I am reduced to an inanimate lump of molten, abject terror.

Maybe it's because I have finally settled into something resembling a routine, after more than a year of sleeping, eating, cleaning, showering whenever I could. Maybe I've just become used to a child who sleeps 10 straight hours. I've become accustomed to a couple of uninterrupted hours of computer or TV time at night, no demands, no wailing, hungry, fretful children to keep me from taking time for myself. I hate that I am already fretting over giving that up once S. arrives.

I know, in reality, that three months is a very long time. I don't need to be worried that we are not even close to ready to move Tom into his big-boy room. I have time to accomplish all I have set out to do. But I am having misgivings over my decision to try to move him out of the crib and into a real bed before the baby is born. My mother reminds me regularly that she thinks moving him out of his crib is a terrible idea. I'm starting to believe her. If I don't move him, though, I will have to buy another crib. And I really don't want to do that.

Unlike with Tom, where I (falsely) had a sense of security bestowed on me by the dozens of baby-care books I devoured, I have no such comfort with this child. Even though I will have nearly two years of mothering experience under my belt by the time S. comes along, I am sure that I won't know what to do. I have no sense of security in my abilities to parent two children with such very different needs at the same time.

I want so badly to feel like this, but I don't.

I want to be glowing with the joy and wonder at the miracle that is happening every second inside my body, instead of sitting on hot packs because somehow I ended up with a shooting pain in my backside and left leg this time around. I want to be enjoying the baby's kicks, punches, jabs and rolls, not resenting the fact that putting on socks is already difficult for me.

It's sort of the way I felt about Christmas this year. I knew it was coming, the cheerful holiday presence loomed over my head and blasted from store speakers starting around mid-October. I had plenty of time and warning to prepare. But I dragged my feet. I didn't want to buy Christmas gifts before Halloween. I didn't want to plan menus and shopping lists and day trips and everything else to keep my family happy over the holidays. As a result, when I finally got around to completing these tasks, I was rushed and frustrated. Although the holidays went well, they were not the exciting family time I had anticipated. We spent a lot of time sitting around staring at our hands because I had not done a good job planning day trips and activities.

I feel like that's how it's going to go with this baby, too. I feel unprepared. And messing up Christmas is not nearly as bad as messing up my kids because I didn't know what to do.


Heth said...

I just want to hug you. Don't beat yourself up for feeling this way, it's the ebb and tide of motherhood. And you aren't going to mess up your kids. I loved your last post about Tom laying on you on the couch and how that calm washed over you. Don't worry, it will wash over you with this little one too. Now go put your feet up and eat something that's terrible for you but delicious.

Jess said...

I'm sorry you're feeling so anxious. I think it must be just plain human to be freaked out about such a big change coming up and having so little time to yourself again. But I think you're wonderful with Tommy and I'm sure you'll be equally fabulous with S. Your love for them comes across in all your posts. Try not to be too hard on yourself for not feeling/doing what you think you Should (says one perfectionist to another :)).

Stephanie said...

I felt the same way. Even the day before Jules was born I was still thinking, "I am so NOT ready for this."

The upside: tiny babies do eventually grow up to become small independent people who can entertain themselves.

That wasn't much consolation at midnight, 2 AM, 5:30 AM, and 7 AM this morning, but, you know. Eventually.

PS: Hang in there!

Sheryl said...

Um, I don't recall that I or my family stared at our hands during our vacation. Actually, we had a very nice time with plenty of outings.

Meredith said...

Oh, I hate it that you have the searing-back-and-leg pain. I did, too, and understand how it can steal your joy.

We used a Graco Pack-n-play with bassinet for the first couple of months while our house was on the market. It was a great alternative which gave us more transition time to the real crib.

scribbit said...

I can relate. The only comfort I can add would be that you'll be surprised how your abilities to handle more have grown. I remember when I had my second child it was overwhelming and scary and I felt tied to the kids in a terrifying way. But I've grown and learned and am a better mother than I was and can handle much more than I used to. I think that's the way life tends to work anyway . . . you grow and learn and soon you realize how far you've come.

And meanwhile a little anxiety is normal. I'm convinced that there is a reason that gestation takes 9 months. It gives a woman time to worry, settle into the idea of having a baby and prepare.

And someone like you who is so concerned about being a good mother can't help but be successful. Wanting to do your best is the first half to being a great parent.

mopsy said...

The previous commentors have given great advice and confirmation that what you are feeling is so normal. It doesn't matter how many kids you have.

beth said...

Oh sweetie, I could have written this myself. I've been feeling completely overwhelmed with how I am going to do this too, but we will, and we will not mess up our kids. You don't have to beat yourself up over not "preparing" enough. All of those details will work out.

Candace & Anna said...

Bless your heart. I know that you will be a GREAT Mom to S. You are stronger than you think!!! Hopefully once S. gets here you will settle nicely into a routine that will make you feel more confident in your new roll as Mommy to 2!!!

Jen Rouse said...

It will work out. It really will. I was worried too. And I have my moments, being the mother of two, believe me. It's different than the first time around.

But there is this huge added dimension of seeing the interaction between your two children, and realizing that while No. 2 might not get the same amount of your attention that No. 1 got, there is this older sibling around to love on him and be fascinated with him. Watching the relationship develop between my daughters makes my day, every day.

Oh, and my daughter never had any trouble with the big girl bed. She loves it. Does she make occasional night time visits to our room now that she's not penned in the crib? Yes. But she's learned how to climb in and out of the crib anyway so I don't think that would have deterred her even if we had not made the switch.