Hey, I had that baby I was whining about. Finally!
Related: If you ever want to feel like a superhero, have a baby so fast that there's no time for an epidural. Push three times. Discover your baby is almost nine pounds. Celebrate what your body can do, what it just did.
Anyway, some observations:
Motherhood, part 2
How different baby #2 is from the first time around! Of course, the babies themselves are different -- they are each unique beings, after all -- but it's mostly me that's changed, chilled. And the changes in me have made all the difference. Motherhood is much more pleasant now; my days with a newborn are much more enjoyable. Now, when I'm up all night, my back and upper arms sore from rocking this little guy to sleep, I have a new mantra: "It's all temporary." This bad stuff only lasts a few weeks (months, really). Which is doable. As my sister always says, you can handle anything when you know there's an end date.
This is not to say that the hormones didn't crush me, that sometimes I collapsed in tears and wondered aloud why I did this again, how I would adjust, what would happen to me, my career, my life. That still happened. But it's okay. Time passes and those feelings get absorbed into new lines on your body, new plans, new valuations.
Maternity leave, part 2
The first time around I didn't know what to do. Like...do we just look at the baby all day? Change its diaper and feed it? And the answer, I discovered, was yes. But it felt wrong. I felt slothful. I felt like I was wasting time.
So this time I'm much more relaxed about it all. My house is messier. I wear ten-year-old tee shirts that really have no business still being in rotation. I haven't made my bed in weeks. But I am enjoying the heck out of cuddling this babe. I meet other moms and their newborns -- for coffee, for yoga, for breakfast, for margaritas. I visit family. I eat lunch out.
The final act
When you know you're done having babies, you allow yourself the freedom to enjoy every part of the process. The pain, the incredible sleep deprivation, all the worries and fears that come with motherhood -- you just kind of acknowledge the process and trust things will work out.
So here I am, a mom of two. A wife. A suburb-dweller. A professional. A writer. Finding out ways to make sure these can all coexist.