We must be insane.

December 22, 2011

The last few days have been rough with Bella. She’s just been in this mood; whiny, early up, hard time going to sleep, one hour naps, falling apart at the tiniest things, refusing to eat.

Mentally, I’m fried. I feel like I’m stretched to the very max. I keep tuning her out completely and half the time don’t even know what she’s whining about anymore – because it’s gone on for so long. I find myself giving in to just get silence, or snapping because I have drawn happy, sad, and scared faces, made airplanes, played, danced, and done everything I can think of.

Anyway, I realize this is just a phase and it’s not really what this post is about. What it’s about is me starting to wonder:

Are we crazy for wanting to add more screaming, more stress, more noise to our home?

I love Bella. I wouldn’t trade her for anything. I wouldn’t change my life for anything. But honestly, how on earth did we make a rational decision to do this again?

Can I do this? Everyone says, “Oh, you just get in a routine, you just get used to it, blah blah,” but I question if I can truly handle two without losing my mind or collapsing in exhaustion. What if it just takes over my life? What if being a mother is so all consuming that by the end of the day I can’t do anything but sleep? Am I just supposed to push this all aside and hope for the best? Jump into it and deal with whatever comes?

I know there will be good times and wonderful moments. It just seems like so many of the second time moms I’m reading are so tired, so strung out, stretched to their max. I hear about their days and wonder if I can cope. It appears that most of the time (note the most as I’m sure not everyone feels like this) things are just a disaster, a mess with tiny moments of happiness. They are simply trying to survive. Their blogs are filled with stories of the kids screaming, terrorizing each other, making messes, crying, and taking turns being up all night. The friends I meet at moms groups with two look at me and say, “Be ready, it’s non stop and it gets harder as they get older.”

This terrifies me.

It’s so hard because there is no middle ground. No trial period. It’s not like I can say, “Well, this isn’t working. Let’s send Jimmy back because we weren’t ready for two.” It’s all the way. All or nothing.

And what if I can’t do it? What if I just remain in a perpetual, zombie like coma for a year or more?

Is it worth it?

And yet, is it worth it not to – and could I ever be ok knowing that I took an easier way because I was afraid?

I guess this is one of those points in life where you make a decision, jump in with both feet, and pray hard that you find the strength for whatever lays ahead of you in the years to come.

44 Comments

  • Stephanie

    January 5, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    You? Me? Same page and sentence.

    I’m finding it much harder to decide on when to add a second than I did the first. There’s just so much to consider! And of course it’s hard because there’s no one right answer.

    I really liked reading through all these comments, although… I came away from it feeling even more scared. BUT if you ask me what it’s been like having one I would have the same response as many of the above mom’s of multiples: hard, challenging, but so worth it! So I guess I can’t expect to read something different about having more than one child!

    If only I could see the other side of that brick wall!

    Thanks for posting this.

  • Leah

    December 30, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    My two cents is to jump in with both feet and pray. I’m a mother of twin girls and a single boy. The boy came after the twins and both pregnancies were planned.

    Yes, there are ups and downs and I have many days of imperfection I wish I could do over, but as I look at my children (now 14, 14 and 11) I realize that every moment is worth it. I don’t regret marriage and having a family. Ever.

    Did I mention I stay home with them? I’ve worked from home when needed while my husband went to college, but otherwise God has always provided for our needs – both monetarily and emotionally for me.

    Good luck as you decide!

  • Sally

    December 29, 2011 at 2:56 am

    You haven’t caught me on the best of days with this post since the kids (4 and 2) are ill and have been super grouchy all day until I convinced them it was really late and hussled them off to bed early… but your concerns were mine too until I had a second.

    On balance I have to say it’s worth it and, to some extent, I feel we’re more of a balanced family in the sense that our eldest (boy) isn’t the centre of attention. But it did make me sad watching him slowly realise he wasn’t the only priority in our lives, a process that started when I got pregnant and lasted a good year after our daughter’s birth. It was also sad that I no longer had all my energy to give to him and that closeness we’d shared was just a little bit diminished.

    On the plus side, the two kids are really delightful to watch playing together and learning from and I love the fact they’ll have each other to call upon as we get old. Also, our second child is a breeze compared to the first who is a product of all our ignorance when it came to childcare (clueless about getting him to sleep properly, overly tentative about tumbles etc).

    Life is complete whatever hand you’re dealt (single, without children, with one child or more) but don’t let your fears get in the way if you really want to try for a second and it turns out to happen!

  • Misty

    December 27, 2011 at 8:41 am

    More and more I am hearing of women terrified of having multiple chidlren (myself included). I see this as a problem of lack of support. I am currently halfway through The Red Tent (awesome book about a family set in biblical times), and I’m realizing how much easier child rearing would be if I was surrounded by my extended family – or if my husband had 4 wives….LOL! That said, I think life was probably a lot more challenging in these situations, as you also had to deal with family feuds and living with piles of people in a small space (not to mention the fact that women were often treated poorly). But child rearing itself must have been a breeze!!

    I see it this way – yes, life will probably suck for a while. And yes, I may feel resentful, lose my patience, and be a really bad mom sometimes. But I’m willing to experience all of that, just for the joy of it. The joy of giving birth again, watching a helpless little infant grow and learn, and look at me with their adoring eyes. I’m willing to jump in with both feet, because I want to end my life surrounded by little grandchildren and (hopefully) children who love and support me through sickness and old age. Maybe that’s a selfish reason to have children, but there you have it. I want to look back on my life and say “yes, it was hard, and maybe I didn’t do it all right. But I took the chance, and I was rewarded with the deepest love imaginable.”

  • Jennifer H.

    December 27, 2011 at 7:21 am

    As a mother of five children (3-14, one with autism) I can definitely say it’s worth it. Am I busy? Sure. Do I get tired? Most every day. Would I change anything? Absolutely not. We have been through fussy stages, sleepless nights and pukey days, but they all came to an end and here we are on the other side with a thriving, loving family. Each day and year was and is a learning process and wised us up for the next. Because one of our children was fussy didn’t mean the next would be, and order in the family household is determined by us, the parents, not them. I have time for myself every day, even with homeschooling the two oldest. I say all this to say, don’t be afraid of the blessings that far outweigh the fears. You are stronger than you think and we are not given more than we can bear. And the little years are truly brief. Soon they grow into responsible children and teens and young adults – and are true blessings along the way. So be encouraged! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sonya

    December 22, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Bella needs a playmate!!
    Best wishes on making the right decision for you and your family!

    1. Diana

      December 23, 2011 at 8:09 pm

      Lol, after I wrote this I thought, “Maybe Bella is bored being an only child?” ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Stacey

    December 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I have three 2 and under. (4 technically, but I digress) I am busy to the max, BUT it is SO worth it. I’m tired, sure, but honestly? I was more tired when it was just Colby. The three have just FIT and have brought me so much happiness. Is it busy? Sure. Are there days that make you want to cry? Sure. But I felt that way with one. Now I can see the bond forming and it’s amazing to watch– and the girls are only 6 months old. Time is already flying. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Amber

    December 22, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I’m due in March with our second. Our first will be 3 a week before my due date. I’m absolutely terrified. Apparently 3 is the hardest age in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD and I’ll have a newborn too. What in the world was I thinking??????

  • Anne-Marie

    December 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    My dad is insane, but he did have one good metaphor. There are these brick walls in life, and the only way to know anything about what is on the other side is to climb on over. You can get a peek. You can’t know anything about what’s coming. You just know that it is. And then you learn as you go. Adolescence, adulthood, marriage, having a child, having a second. There’s us. Then there’s a wall. Then we do something and we’re on the other side of that wall going WHOA! That’s what everyone was talking about?! It’s been true about marriage, and I suspect it will be true about having our first, too. But oohhh ohhhh would I LOVE to have a practice pregnancy or a preview or something. I’m also keeping in mind the phrase “Ready or not, here we come!” lately. Kids are like that, I think. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Teresa

    December 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Ok. Mine are 2 and 4. They are the best of friends, but they do argue over toys and who gets their drink first. *sigh*

    I was so scared when I became pregnant with my 2nd, thinking the same thoughts you are thinking, but it goes by one day at a time, until you don’t even notice it anymore and don’t even remember what having just one kid was like. I love them both the same and I don’t regret it.

    Now that I am expecting #3, I am feeling this way again. I am terrified and wonder if I will lose my mind. So, I guess it’s normal to have these feelings, especially when anxiety is in our veins. It will be ok, whatever happens, trust that God knows what He is doing and will help you (and me).

  • Kim

    December 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Honest? It is like that. It IS crazy – but crazy in such a grand way that it’s OK. And some days you do just fall asleep in the mess b/c who cares? BUT, it DOES get better as they get older. I’ve got 3, in 4 years, and I’m telling you the honest truth. It DOES get easier.

  • Jessica

    December 22, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks for this post. DH and I are TTC #2 and I have days where I wonder what the hell am I thinking? Can I really handle 2. I’m a part time SAHM which would probably switch to a full time stay at home working mom with #2. I am so afraid that baby #2 will be a monster demon child because our DD is so amazingly easy. She was sleeping thru the night at 2 months, breastfed like a champ and is just ….. great. So its nice to see I am not the only one wondering what the hell am I thinking!

  • Miranda

    December 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I get it.
    My first was a complete surprise. A month after I got married -> positive test. Shock! After she was born, I went on BC for fear that I was massively fertile. I went off it April and still not pregnant. I’m scared that this is planned therefore with stress I have no one to blame but myself. With my daughter, I always kind of felt justified becuase we hadn’t planned, KWIM? I know that He gives me not more than I can handle and I try to say to myself that at least if I’m not pregnant, I don’t have as much stress but it’s not helping with the baby fever ;).

  • Sara T.

    December 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    We have made the decision to only have one child. Our daughter is 3 and we are still very content with the idea of only one. Sure, I think about what it would be like for her to have a sibling and I would like to experience being pregnant again with the knowledge that I have now… but then I listen to my friends that have 2 (or go to their house!) and I am even more sure that one is enough! It’s just the right choice for us… and you will make the right for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Desi

    December 22, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I have the same fears. Especially on the days that I can’t get Liv to sleep and I feel like I’m stretched to my limit. I am not trying to get pregnant, but I plan to in a year. I am naively hoping that Liv will be at a stage where she is more consistent and want to help more. I actually think it will be good for her…that may sound strange, but it might be a reality check for my little princess that she is not the only person in the world…even if she is the one in her mother’s that means the most. You can’t predict how things will go, but you have to think positive and know that you can do it! It just seems overwhelming because you don’t know what it’s like until you’re there.

  • Connie Gomez

    December 22, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I think what you are feeling is totally normal. I didn’t get a chance to think about it..it just happened and it’s worked out for me..but I am definitely thinking about number 3 … it is a lot of work..some days I manage and others..I want to sit and cry.. in the end. Both my children are amazing and I love them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hanan

    December 22, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I completely understand how you feel! There are so many days I feel like that, where we both think “How could we have another one, when these two are already driving us crazy?” But to be honest, in the end I KNOW it will be worth it!!

    Like you said…there are simply phases. Eventually things will get better, so don’t let the bad days discourage you from choosing to add more children into your life!

  • molly

    December 22, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Honestly? Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s stressful. Yes, you’re tired. But I find that the first year was hardest. But for us that was mostly because Brigham was so sick and never slept through the night. We’ve had a routine for quite some time now and I gotta say, I don’t care HOW much stress there is. I’m so glad I have both my boys. I couldn’t imagine being a mom to just one child. It is very hard for me to think back to being a mom of one. For me, it’s like they have both always been a part of my life.

    I wish I hadn’t spent my entire second pregnancy worried about how I was going to manage two children. The truth is you don’t “manage” – you just love them more than you ever thought you would and take care of the rest as best you can.

  • Jackie

    December 22, 2011 at 9:31 am

    *Raises hand* We just added a baby to the family…she is almost 3 months and we have a 2.5 year old. Not gonna lie, it’s hard. Really hard. We kind of have a routine but then, of course, the 2.5 year old destroys that most days. She is the same way you describe Bella right now – hard time going to bed, tantrums all.the.time, hardly naps…I lose my mind most days. And I hate to admit it, lose my patience also. It’s definately hard but there are those few times when everyone is quiet and the 2.5 year old wants a hug and kiss and says I love you that makes it worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • DianaKat

    December 22, 2011 at 8:55 am

    What I love most about your blog is that you have, on several occasions, posted exactly what was in my head. I have been feeling so torn lately about the whole thing- hubby is ready for baby #2, but I’m content, tired, and completely in love with our daughter. Everytime I start thinking about not having another one, I start feeling guilty for her sake. Will she have to take care of us by herself when we’re old, will she miss out on the sibling experience like I did as an only, etc… Thank you for letting me know I’m not the only one who’s scared either way. Also, the idea af pregnancy and nursing again simultaneously scares the bejeezus out of me and makes me nostalgic for that baby time.

  • grace

    December 22, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I’m a lil behind here…are you preggo? If so, congrats. =) As a Mama of 2 boys, I do think that yes these past two years have been pretty much a nightmare. (Ransom was 4 when Rhys was born)…that REALLY helped, as he was helpful and out of the whiny stage…but being older he wanted more lego time, more board-game time, etc. The hardest part for us, was Rhys being a clingy, needy and not a good sleeper…we were both exhausted and never left time for our marriage which has been sort of it’s own disaster zone since Rhys. Am I encouraging you at all??? Probably not, eh? =) I think my htoughts are this: i just decide to PUSH THROUGH it…it WILL pass. For example, the 2nd year of Rhys’ life has been easier than the 1st…for one he sleeps from 7pm – 7am. (victory)! And also now that he’s chatting he can communicate his desires and also he & Ran play together more often giving me a minute to actually read a magazine cover-to-cover. I look to my friends for hope: a lot of the friends in my circle have kids that are older… like in the 6 – 12 range…they have GREAT lives! It’s just different when you don’t have a baby or a toddler running around. In two years, Rhys will be 4 adn I know my whole life will be different, our house will be cleaner more often, and the baby-stressers will be somewhat removed…so I’m hopeful…for now I’m just accepting that my life is a little crappy due to the younger kiddos and try to hope for more peaceful days ahead. Like everyone else, I really love my kids a lot, and appreciate them a lot and would never trade them, yada yada yada,…. but yeah, at times IT TOTALLY SUCKS.

  • Amber

    December 22, 2011 at 8:45 am

    We still haven’t made the decision on whether or not there should be a second. I’ve placed on clock on it – we have to decide by the summer.

    The closer summer gets, the more terrified I am of making the decision. Honestly, I wish that when summer comes I would just get pregnant accidentally, so I don’t have to decide. Then I just have to suck it up and deal with it as it is.

    I don’t think it is unnatural to feel this way when you are trying for the second one. I think it means that you are realistic about the responsibilities and changes when you bring a life into the world. That’s a good thing.

    Either way, big hugs. Hope that feeling calms for you.

  • Emily

    December 22, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I was talking with my mother recently about this after a good friend just had her second baby and was posting on Facebook about being nervous about having two. My mom had 3 of us and said that it’s not necessarily harder, it’s just more. Still though, she said 1 child take up 24 hours of your day, 2 children take up 24 hours, and so do 3. A day is still a day. Makes sense I guess! Am hoping to experience it for myself!

  • Janelle

    December 22, 2011 at 8:04 am

    I have an awesome relationship with brother and sister, and although there was plenty of fighting and mayhem when we were kids, I canโ€™t imagine not having them around now. I am so glad my parents blessed us with siblings, and have always been determined to do the same for my kids! I also have a great relationship with my parents, and selfishly hope that I can have the same relationship with my kids when they are older. Thus I was always determined to have at least two. More to come? Maybe.

    That said, two is mayhem. I have frequent moments where I think โ€œWhy in the heck didnโ€™t we wait!โ€ However, when I make myself step back, I realize that weโ€™re managing. Even thriving. The kids are happy and healthy, our house isnโ€™t a complete wreck, we eat reasonably healthy most of the time, the husband and I both hold down full time jobs, and then come home and dedicate all of our remaining energy to the kids. Sure, it is tiring, and while those magical moments of perfection donโ€™t necessarily make it all โ€œworth it,โ€ they sure are amazing.

    1. Janelle

      December 22, 2011 at 8:05 am

      Our friends who are pregnant with their 6th? They are insane. You wanting a second? Perfectly normal ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Diana

        December 22, 2011 at 8:29 am

        All of this is why I love you. Thanks. <3

  • Cassie

    December 22, 2011 at 7:57 am

    I have three kids (5 year old boy, 22 month old girl, 3 month old boy). And I wont lie to you. It is hard. There are days when it seems I am redoing everything all day with what for return? Exhaustion? Frustration for losing ny cool for a minute? There are days when I wonder why I did this to myself. But I love those kids more than life itself and I wouldn’t change anything.

  • Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy

    December 22, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I can honestly say after the initial shock and complete sleep deprivation, having 2 was easy for me because my oldest son was sooo easy. He never whined and complained. He was seriously an angel. I think if you’re struggling that much with one, you might want to wait. There is a chance she could make a 180 but she could also get worse because of jealousy. I think you’re smart to question your decision if you are that maxed out with just one! I didn’t get there until #3 (and two now have ADHD Dx and the middle one has serious jealousy STILL so he fights with the youngest constantly).
    The only trail run you could possibly do is offer to do some babysitting for an infant. It won’t be fully the same as my middle was ok for a couple weeks but then he asked us to take him back to where he came from, and he was VERY serious. But find a friend who has a colicky baby who needs a break and watch that baby for a couple hours. That would give you a little taste of what it’d be like! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Diana

      December 22, 2011 at 7:38 am

      I don’t know that I’m struggling with Bella as much as I’m just realizing two times the amount of screaming and mess isn’t exactly something I’m looking forward to. We have our good and bad days and she’s just like any other child – in fact she’s more easy going most of the time than most children. I just wonder if I’m crazy for wanting to stir the pot and add a child who could be completely different.

  • melissa

    December 22, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Remember when you posted about perspective? Recalling that to my mind everday has helped me not only to cope but to enjoy my children. Katie nurses every hour STILL, parker is acting out a lot and testing his boundaries with me, he dropped napping altogether, and getting out of the house to go anywhere? Ha! Disaster. I’m exaughsted. But I do it, and I love it! Because I love my kids and I chose this. I am doing what I always wanted to do. I’m blessed. It’s not perfect, the house isn’t as clean, dinners are simple now, but its my life and I am choosing to make the most of it and realize that one day all I will want is for them to be small again. I’m also lucky enough to have an amazing husband and that helps so much. I can vent and cry to him and then go back at it again with a fresh face.

    It’s not easy and its not for everyone though. You may need to do au.e real soul searching before you jump in.

    1. Diana

      December 22, 2011 at 7:42 am

      I’m soul searching as I write these. I know it would be worth it eventually, but I don’t know if I could get to that worth it point again without being a mess in the meantime – like I was with Bella.

      Sam works really long hours, I work from home, I don’t know if changing our whole lives wouldn’t just mean I get stretched in a million more directions. :/

      1. Diana

        December 22, 2011 at 8:30 am

        Also – sometimes I feel like you’r super mom and I really have no idea how you manage it all. Really. It kinda blows my mind.

  • Sarah Hammond

    December 22, 2011 at 7:24 am

    I don’t think that by deciding not to have two kids you’d be taking an “easier way” at all. I really do believe children are a blessing and it would be worth it. The easier option, in my opinion, is to have another one. It’s easier to just do what you want, it’s harder to accept responsibility and limits. I WANT to have another kid, but sometimes I feel like I have to accept my limits as a person and make the harder decision not to. I love sleep and will lose my mind if I have another “sleep through the night only 6 months out of my three years of life” kid. Sleep aside, I have my own emotional needs, I want to get my PhD and that won’t happen with another kid around. I need that for my own growth as a person. On top of that, ugh, finances.. Thankfully, my husband signed over his GI bill so Aba’s college is paid for. I’m not ready to split that between two kids. (I’m super biased because of the way I grew up, we all have our own quirks, but I believe strongly that children are the financial responsibility of the parent. I will never have more children than I can comfortable afford. I will pay for every cent of their top-notch education, whatever they choose to do.) It’s a given that with two the quality of life of the first goes down.. I know people are going to get mad about this, but everything is a resource, from your time to your money, even your effort and affections. I don’t know that I’ll be ok with dividing those things. I know that the majority of the world has more than one kid and they all turn out ok. My feelings on the matter are just what I’ve observed over my 29-years of life, and are so different from anyone else on the planet. I just think that choosing not to have another kid is a harder choice than choosing to have one, for me at least.

    1. Diana

      December 22, 2011 at 7:43 am

      This is brutally honest and I love it. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  • Alexia @ Babies & Bacon

    December 22, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I’m with you on this one completely. As exhausted as I’ve been and as challenging as Cedella is right now this whole pregnancy I’ve been wondering if I’m out of my damn mind. How in the world are we gonna survive? It’s incredibly intimidating and frustrating to think of how hard and awful it will be.

    And then I visited my friend who just had her first baby. She was exhausted and struggling with nursing and just so in the dark and wondering if she was doing anything right. And as I was helping her through some issues it clicked. Total AHA Moment. I have a HUGE leg up in the newborn department cause I’ve been there and done that already. And yea, it’s gonna be hard, but like you so eloquently put in your last paragraph, just gotta jump in, pray hard and you’re gonna be just fine.

    1. Diana

      December 22, 2011 at 7:55 am

      Man I hope that happens. So far when I visit my kid with two I just want to run out in the street for peace and quiet. lol

      1. Diana

        December 22, 2011 at 8:09 am

        And by kid I meant friend. No idea why I put kid.

        1. Alexia @ Babies & Bacon

          December 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

          Yea, I haven’t visited my friend with a four year old and twin three year old boys in a while. Sure that would be a much of a shock to my system! lol

  • angela

    December 22, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Hmmm, mine are almost 4 and almost 2, and I don’t think it’s gotten harder as they’ve gotten older. I am sure it will get hard again at some point, but you DO find a rhythm. I would never lie and say it’s just as easy as one, but you do figure it out and figure out how to have your life.

    My husband works a lot, and I still manage to keep a (most of the time) clean house, cook reasonably healthy meals, train for half marathons, blog, participated in NaNoWriMo, etc. I’m not saying it in a “look what I do!” way, but just wanted to let you know that you don’t necessarily lose YOU when you have a second baby.

    1. Alexia @ Babies & Bacon

      December 22, 2011 at 7:27 am

      This is so encouraging. Thanks for the perspective!

    2. Diana

      December 22, 2011 at 7:57 am

      That is good to know. I think it’s that I just so recently found “me” I’m a little more possessive about losing it all again to diapers and nursing.

  • Alena

    December 22, 2011 at 7:16 am

    I can say this with absolute conviction. I have never been more afraid to have 2 as I have been this week. Before I knew I’d manage. Now? I am scared to death.

    1. Diana

      December 22, 2011 at 7:56 am

      (((hugs))) I know. ๐Ÿ™

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