This is the question a dear new mommy friend of mine posed to me last week as she stared at my toddler racing around on his trike, while I constantly swooped in to rescue the baby who was chasing the wheels like an overexcited puppy. Why, indeed.
I remember my husband and I, in the depths of sleep deprived exhaustion, looking at each other and saying the same thing. Why the f#%^ would you have more kids once you know the “joy” of having one?!?
Well, I think I can answer this at least from my perspective anyway.
Firstly, if you are the mama of one dear baby looking on at moms with two or more babies, wondering how they do it because you are finding one more than enough to handle, ease up on yourself. First time around is every bit as hard as you are finding it. Those mamas would’ve felt it just as keenly as you do. It’s normal.
First time around, the emotional, mental and physical exhaustion is like nothing else. It’s all new. The baby and all its little intricacies, the baby care, the sleep deprivation, the feeding, the new identities of mom and dad, the lack of control, the uncertainty, the naivety, the body changes, the hormone changes, the responsibility, the expectations for the future as well as the expectations already crushed and rethought... it is an enormous amount to take on and process.
And then there’s teeth, milestones, sickness, separation anxiety, possibly a return to work and many more bumps to navigate. Why, oh why, would you want to throw another baby or two or three in for good measure? Why?
Because it’s completely different second time around.
I think this is even more true if you’ve not had the easiest route first time. You have been broken in. The surprise factor isn’t there. You know what’s coming, and you know it will pass. You can see past the drowning moments to the very quickly approaching time where you’ll be swimming along just fine.
Sure, it’s seriously freaking tough, and there have been MANY more occasions of "What the f#%^ have we done?" and "How about you go and get the snip directly honey, because I sure as shit won’t be doing this again 'cause it’s f#%^ed!" But in all honesty, it just happens. The same way the days just tick by with one, and before you know it, your baby is a toddler.
I never got to the "I’m ready for another baby" stage… I fell pregnant while still in the "I don’t understand how this world is still populated" stage. And even I can say, there are more babies because for everything that is harder with two or more, there is even more that’s easier! The logistics can be a killer but the emotions are way more in the realm of manageable.
That first baby, well it’s doing its bit to keep this world growing. It’s training its mom and dad in the ways of the baby world. Listen to that baby’s lessons, and before you know it, you may just find joy in doing it all again with another tiny soul who is just the right fit for your family and gets to learn even more lessons on this crazy journey that is parenthood.
Chin up, new mama. You are doing just fine.
A version of this post originally appeared on the Grubby Mummy and the Grubby Bubbies page.