It’s a week now since I gave birth to Summer, in a water birth in our living room. She arrived 3 days early, catching me ever so slightly off guard as I was just settling into the idea of being pregnant for another week or so, as I was with Jasmine. Having been pregnant for a full 39 weeks and 4 days, much of that time spent with fairly crippling sickness, almost daily nausea and back pain, all of a sudden Summer was here and I wasn’t pregnant anymore.
Welcoming Summer was an absolute joy with her birth experience being everything I’d ever wanted it to be (more on that another time) but even the day after she was born I was hit by the feeling that I never quite got the chance to say bye to my bump. Which is strange to say, because Summer is here and she was my bump! But her slightly early arrival meant I didn’t stop to take in those last moments of being SO pregnant, to treasure it for those last days, to take final photos and to marvel at the female body and the transformation it goes through. In an instant it becomes a distant memory, with the squishy post partum pouch existing where Summer once lived. Although I’m enjoying the current freedoms and the novelties of all the things that come with not being pregnant, at the same time I’m strangely wanting just one more day with my big bump. One more day to waddle around, to rely on help to get up, to bask in the special capsule of time that is late pregnancy and to wonder who it is that I’ve been growing in there.
Having said that, not being pregnant has already given me so many things to appreciate and enjoy. I feel energetic, light, able to move, freed from nausea. I can sit on the sofa in any position and sleep without worrying I’m going to crush baby if I roll to the wrong side. I can bend over to pick things up, climb the stairs quicker and not feel puffed out. I can help with the housework and have a spring in my step. Not feeling sick has made the biggest difference and just proves to me how sick I actually felt throughout my entire pregnancy, as now I can move freely, cook food, touch my toes, eat meals without stopping to avoid throwing up, do some yoga, stand up in less than 5 seconds and this feeling is magical too!
So here we are. Post partum with all its hormonal cocktails making you feel high on love one minute and like you could cry a river the next. My heart is absolutely bursting with love for my new baby. Maybe it’s because I know how much joy we have ahead of us, Jasmine having showed us the way with that. Even now, in this first week, I feel an unbelievable sense of love and attachment. With Jasmine around too, the time I spend with Summer is even more precious. I’m soaking in those cuddles, the smell from the top of her head, the perfection of all her tiny features, knowing full well how quickly the next stage will come and how quickly you forget what having a brand new baby is like.
Everything has an ease this time around. I’m no longer a first time mum but a mum of two. As a family, we’re already in the flow of parenthood. We have meals to prep for Jasmine, naps to think about, activities to plan and nappies to change. We are already parents as we introduce Summer so we are just adding to the mix. Adding another dimension to the family flow and it feels just as if it has always been this way.
When Jasmine was born, I don’t remember having hours to relax in her first week. I don’t really remember ever feeling relaxed in those first few weeks. I remember being in love with her, staring at her and marvelling at our creation but I also remember being worried, second guessing, being in pain, trying so hard to get breastfeeding established despite it hurting so much. I remember wondering when she’d next wake up for a feed and when I’d next be needed. I remember my physical recovery after birth being slow and difficult and I remember a big sense of shock, although perhaps in hindsight I’m able to recognise that more than I did at the time! I cried a lot more and felt intense highs and lows of emotion. All very normal for a first time Mummy!
With Summer, it’s so different and what fascinates me is why. Is it because I’m a second time mum and experience goes a hell of a long way? Is it my positive birth experience getting us off to such a good start? Is it just Summer being who she is and being super chill? It’s likely a combination of all those things and more.
The first time newborn experience is special all in itself, even if in comparison to this time I reflect on it as more difficult. It’s a beautiful time to welcome your first baby and start that rollercoaster of first time parenthood. To fall in love with your first baby and realise how much your life has changed. To find everything a challenge but realise everything is also a huge achievement. To become a family. A second baby is welcomed into an already existing family and so that experience will always be different. The achievements are still there, the joy and the love are still there. I’ve fallen in love with Summer instantly and it’s an overwhelming feeling of love. The relative ease of second time newborn life has me on an oxytocin overload and I’m actually enjoying it so much as opposed to willing it to get easier.
Summer is a week old already. For a week we’ve been a family of 4 and there’s an atmosphere of love enveloping our home. A sense of accomplishment, a sense of pride in both our girls, a sense of wonder as we compare them both, a sense of belonging, a sense that there has always been space for Summer here, in our home, in our hearts and in our family. I can’t wait for the coming months and years getting to know this little baby, who she is and what sort of personality she will develop and of course seeing Jasmine as a big sister too.
This time around truly has been a period of bliss. I can’t stop looking at Summer, stroking her soft skin, kissing her little cheeks. I can’t stop taking photos of her and telling her I love her. She’s the perfect new addition to our family and I’m so thankful that she’s here.