I’ve drafted this post a number of times and after a couple of paragraphs I have sat back and wondered where in all the words I lost my point. So I’m going for third time lucky and heading directly to the aforementioned point – I feel like people have forgotten I’ve just had a baby far quicker because it’s my second child. I thought it was just me being a bit overly sensitive but I’ve seen comments on Instagram and Twitter from a few other mums in the same boat. Friends and family don’t forget you’ve got a new baby, but they seem to stop asking how me, the postpartum mother, is coping. This makes me a little annoyed. A little sad. And a little lonely.
Even though I know I’m not alone in feeling this way, I do feel a little selfish and self involved thinking it and definitely for ‘saying it’ outloud. And I’m not expecting things to change. But I feel if I write it down here then I might be able to move on past it. I’ll also be honest – some people do ask how I, personally, am doing. It’s only a couple of friends though and the rest are fellow mums who don’t count because we’re all going through the same exhausting daily routine and there is an unspoken camaraderie there. I just remember it was different when Little H was born.
In that first year of Little H, people would ask how she was doing and then go onto enquire about me. They’d ask if I was getting much sleep or enough rest. They’d ask if feeding was going well. Ironically (and this is where I’m sure I will sound like a walking contradiction) I almost found it frustrating because I just wanted people to accept I could ‘do it’, that I had this mothering thing nailed. Second time round though I have Little H and Little Z to deal with. Lack of sleep means a whole different thing this time and occasionally I just want to grumble about having a broken night followed by an unavoidable 6am wake-up call. Perhaps have someone come round and even thought Little Z is approaching 6 months, still make lunch and do the tidying up.
Perhaps this is slightly symptomatic of how society treats children though. The birth of a first child is a source of real excitement for everyone. But that seems to fade for the second child for anyone other than the parents (and probably grandparents). Friends and colleagues almost seems to have a “Yeah, we’ve celebrated this for you before.” vibe. So when the baby arrives, the flurry of presents, cards and flowers is much shorter lived. The second child being in the family is taken as ‘normal’ far quicker. Not for us of course, Little Z is still a wonderfully magical new member of our family. But sometimes I feel she also doesn’t get the attention from the world that her adorable little face deserves.
Ultimately there is nothing much I can to change my situation other than a) try and not be bothered when people don’t ask and b) be more vocal when I’ve had a bad time of it so people find out whether they like it or not. Perhaps I’m actually just being unreasonable. I’ll risk sounding that way though because even thought I first became a mum 3.5 years ago, I am still a new mum. A second time mum sure but a new mum to a new baby. A new mum to two kids. A new mum who is tired and still learning. A new mum who sometimes would like people to simply check how she is when she says Little Z has been sleeping badly.