Like the song goes, " second verse same as the first". Well no not really.
Everything was different. We lived close to family. I now didn't think I could handle motherhood x2 but knew I could. We did have a phone and to and from family members did happen.
Daughter was approx. 18 months old when it was apparent I was pregnant again. Whereas I had the first 3 months being ill with daughter, I didn't experience that second time round. The 18 months of being mum to a active and energetic daughter had sharpened my perception of what it takes to be mum. A lot of those early months dad was absent- Navy wives ' in my time' got to do lots on their own. Dad's missed out on many 'first time' moments.
The pregnancy can't compare. Everything was different - the birth too. Where I felt the pride and joy and satisfaction of giving birth almost 'textbook style' this story had many hitches, glitches and moments worth remembering but also blotting out. I had 3 attempts at giving birth- third time lucky. Felt such a failure as a woman-mother. "I couldn't even do that properly." Hormones and emotions totally off balance.
It wasn't generally 'done' to check on the gender of the baby before birth. Even if that had been so, I wouldn't have taken that road. The thrill, expectation the long awaited disclosure is something I feel personally, which makes the pregnancy more baby than 'child' oriented. I liked thinking in terms of baby. For me the switch to son/boy or daughter/ girl takes the mystery away. But each to their own. Happily people are allowed and in the position of making their own choices.
And there he was, a healthy baby boy. A son. Again this surge of pride, of protection and nurturing burst forth in me. Another wee person to cherish and care for. Long, skinny, gentle. Content. Times had changed and a long hospital stay was no longer in vogue. I felt great so wanted to go home as soon as an 'all clear' could be given.
The meeting between sister and brother was heartwarming. A touch on the mouth, forehead. "Can I kiss him will he break?" All new and bewitching. A sort of doll but it moved and made noises.
Christmas gifts for our daughter were baby cot, little oven, ironing board, high chair, all home made by her dad. During the pregnancy daughter had shown her affinity with all domestic chores and motherhood. I know it was all very gender oriented- but that's what it was back then. Had she not been affected in that way- it would have been cars and a garage for all we cared. She wanted to bath her baby too.
As the pregnancy was different so was his character and carefree first year. Not sickly but troubled by tonsils and adnoids. Bronchial. And as opposed to his sister, he LOVED to sleep. Lay him down to change a nap, answer the phone, play in the playpen- eyes shut and off to snooze land. Not an early riser. That was so handy and considerate.
With his arrival, and my sister's two boys, my parents had a great time being oma and opa. Even though we lived at some distance 20+ km, it was 'do-able'.
The baby years went fast- lots of happy moments, health issues which caused the odd sleepless night and headaches. Mini accidents, fingers and toes, head bumps, tummy bugs, croup, temperatures. We were no different to the 'normal' family. You took everything in your stride. No special 'father' days. No home help. Just being mum doing 'normal' mum stuff.
The area we lived in was dubbed 'Nappy Valley'. The name says it all. Young families, plenty of children. Also plenty of support. We all were there for one and other. Our two were used to being dropped off at a neighbours if I had a doctor's appointment or whatever and they were also used to having friends over, returning the 'babysit favour'. It was happy, not carefree, but laughter filled time with children developing right under one's nose. Daycare was an oddity and exception to the rule.
With pride I went out and about with my children. Me, a mum of two. People's heads did turn. They were so cute. Both blond as can be. Clear blue eyes. Inquisitive and chirpy. I can with all honesty say that this was one of the most 'joyful periods' I look back on with absolute pride and joy.
The second motherhood experience was so different. One thinks to know what to expect- but nothing is further from the truth. Well, in general terms, but not the reality. Due to the gentleness and contentment of his nature, I had space for the attention my daughter needed.
Placid, easily pleased, non demanding, cheerful, bubbly, quiet, allergic for milk ( oh yes), hospital experience at 9 months, reluctant to part with mum or dad, easy to settle, headstrong - a family trait. Many of those characteristics still present today. A fine man, husband, father and friend as far as a mother can judge that. No, no saint. Can get pretty worked up angry with injustice issues and can raise his voice and get mad as any other person. Just has a tighter control than some. Great sense of humour which he has inherited from his opa. As his build and gait. He walks like my dad... yep he does.
My parenting years are behind me. Yes, there is only a 'I'm here should you need me' task for me now. They are adults in their own right. Being a parent I did my best and being a 'parent on the background' I do what I think is right. It might not be seen that way, but who can say, " I did it perfectly." Is there such a thing- perfect parenting?
The years that followed brought joys and sorrows, worries woes and happiness. Being family is an art. And art has many forms. The shape and form of my family still had one change left to go.