Things I am Learning 6-Months Postpartum as a Second Time Mom

I wanted to take a little space on here to reflect on the first 6 months with sweet Thatcher. It is amazing that 3 years ago I wrote a post reflecting on the first 6 months of motherhood. The first 6 months with Hudson were entirely different compared to our first months with Thatcher. As I reflect on in that post, the first 6 months of motherhood were incredibly challenging. So many tears. So many doubts.

These past 6 months with Thatcher have felt light and right. Maybe it’s us. Maybe it’s his mellow nature. Maybe it’s a combination, but we truly have felt blessed with how smoothly life has carried on since his arrival in May. Of course the first month was still an adjustment. I think those first couple weeks postpartum will always feel a bit hard and uncomfortable and emotional, regardless of how many babies you have. Once I got past those initial more difficult days of engorgement, C-Section recovery, and very little sleep, I eventually felt more present than I ever did in the early days with Hudson.

Thatcher, if you ever read this, I just want you to know how thankful we are for you. As our rainbow baby, you have brought such great joy and hope to our family. You will always be our reminder of God’s tenderness, grace and kindness. You truly are a blessing. From our first moments in the hospital to 6 months later, you continue to be so gentle, easygoing and flow with our family so well.

Reflecting back on these past 6-months, there are definitely a few things I am noticing that really made this season of postpartum (so far) feel less chaotic and more joy-filled.

Prayer

I was much more intentional about praying throughout the pregnancy. Experiencing loss just a couple short months prior, I was very much aware that I am not in control. I was much more reliant on the Lord through this more anxious pregnancy. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, I even was intentional about asking the Lord to help me in the early weeks of Thatcher’s life. I knew how much I struggled with Hudson, so I had the perspective to directly ask the Lord to move in areas that previously were hard. I asked Him for a baby that took to breastfeeding well. I asked Him to help me with my emotions and give me greater joy and presence. Now, I can really see the tangible ways in which the Lord answered these small, yet specific prayers. Prayer is powerful.

Movement

I need to move on a daily basis to feel like myself. I took what I learned from Hudson and I incorporated movement into the early postpartum days much sooner. Even in the hospital, I was more intentional about walking loops on the hospital floor. I definitely did not push my body, but I intentionally incorporated the appropriate type of movement even in the first days of being home. It started with walks around the block and then turned into longer walks with the baby in the ergo and then around 8 weeks, I went on my first 15 minute run. I built very slowly, but now I am running 4 times a week (20ish miles), biking on the Peloton 2-3 times a week, and squeezing in a bit of postpartum core work or stretching really whenever it fits. For me in this current season, this feels like a really good rhythm of movement. I feel healthy, mostly strong (definitely still building strength back), and it gives me energy to pour back into daily life with my boys.

I ran with the baby jogger A LOT with Hudson. I did most of my marathon training with it. It has been a while, but it feels good to be back to running with the jogger. I actually have been going on runs with BOTH Hudson and Thatcher. Not at the same time, I have a single stroller, but it has been a really amazing way for me to spend time individually with both boys. My runs with Thatcher of course are much quieter, but I am excited to continue to log runs together as he grows in the next year. With Hudson, it has been a special thing to return to after so many miles together from when he was a baby.

Connection

Transition from working full-time as a high school English teacher to a SAHM was hard. Everything was new and I felt like I no longer had community or connection with other adults on a daily basis. Some of my longest days were the days I was alone at home all day with the baby. I am really thankful I early on took the time to build community with other moms. It has made this time around feel so much better because I have good friendships with other moms that I get to see on a weekly basis.

I joined MOMS Club when Hudson was 4-months old and now 3 years later, it is a group I’m still involved in and attend play dates on a regular basis. This community of moms helped me realize how much it matters to have community with other moms. I feel way less alone because of these friendships. The other decision I made when Hudson was a little over a year was signing up for a mommy and me class. Unfortunately that class got cut short due to COVID, but I made friendships in that class that I still see on a weekly basis. The thing I learned with these two seemingly small decisions is that saying yes to join a moms group or class are actually the very things that will help you thrive years down the road in motherhood.

Besides just mom friendships, I find it essential to make sure I stay connected in all my relationships. That looks like calling a friend I haven’t talked to in a while or getting out on a date with my husband or meeting up with a friend at a cafe in the evening once both boys are asleep. I need to feel connected to more people than just my two little boys. I need good adult conversations. I need to be able to really listen to a friend without a baby on my hip. This time of connection without kids has definitely been prioritized more and it is making a massive difference.

Routine

My first season of postpartum was so much harder because I did not even know who I was as a mom. I had no idea how to even fill my days. Now that I have been a SAHM for over 3 years, I feel like I have figured out a sense of routine that works best for our life. I know this routine will constantly be changing, but I really think I will try to keep the general shape of it as long as I can. Generally, this is what I find works best for me during the week:

  • Wake-Up (no alarm): I used to wake up to an alarm at 5am. I wrote that post almost 1-year postpartum. That totally worked for that particular season, but right now I am still waking up 2-3 times to nurse T. My sleep is still very much broken and I need as much sleep as I can get. I wake up naturally around 6:30/7.
  • Coffee, breakfast, devotional: This is my time to really wake up. It seems to take me longer these days. It is not “quiet time,” but I still use it as my time to jot down a few notes in my journal about the previous day and read the devotion for the day. I have been reading through Bob Goff’s Live in Grace, Walk in Love devotional and it has been the perfect daily devotional book for me in this season. I desire to read my Bible more in the morning, but I am finding that this devotional book is right for where I am at and gets my heart turned towards Christ.
  • Workout: I like fitting in my workout for the day in the morning before the day really gets going. Movement in the morning always helps me pour out more patience and gentleness to my boys.
  • House Tidy: I am going to be really honest here, I feel like I have been having a hard time keeping the house managed. Lance has helped a TON. It is a lot now with 2 kids, but I have learned to let go of feeling like each day I need to do a big cleaning task and now just focus on maintaining and keeping up with small acts of tidying. I make the beds, try to fold a load of laundry for the day, put away the toys and things that gather throughout the day, and on a good day give a good sweep to the house. All this to say, our house is not spotless, but I am not super worried about it. One day the house will be clean and quiet and I certainly will miss the chaotic mess of our current days.
  • Outing: This piece is essential. Even if it literally is getting both kids in the car and driving to go get a coffee. I need one scheduled outing. I sometimes do not do this and my days are always SO hard. I finally am noticing a pattern! Typically during the week, on Mondays my outing is just picking up H from preschool. On Tuesdays, it is usually the Farmer’s Market with friends or a trip to the botanical garden or an afternoon playdate with friends. On Wednesdays, it is heading to my parents so I can workout and then picking up H from school. On Thursdays, we usually head to the aquarium or the park or some local kid event. And on Fridays, we usually have our weekly trip to the library after getting H from preschool. I write this out to show that our outings are usually pretty standard and based within the community we live, but these patterns of visiting similar places every week and month is incredibly helpful for me.
  • Rest at home: Once we return from the outing there usually is just 2-3 hours left before Lance wraps up with work. We use this afternoon time resting and catching up on things that have yet to get done. I try to not be very ambitious with this piece of the day. My energy is definitely the lowest here. Most days H will get 2 shows of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. This is one of the best shows. I have learned a lot about screen time that I had no idea about when H was baby. I wish I knew more, but basically we now have a really good rhythm set around screens with H and it really makes a big impact on his mood. He just gets these two shows in the afternoon for his “rest time” because he is no longer napping. This is one of the only shows I let him watch because it is not overstimulating and most days once the two shows are done he happily moves on to the rest of his day. This really should be a whole post (maybe one day), but main thing is wait on TV until age 3 if possible, set clear time frames of when TV can be watched, and choose high-quality shows. While he has tv time, I will usually nurse T or do something with him in the playroom or nursery.
  • Dinner + Bed: We usually start making dinner at 4:30 and wrap eating around 5:30. After cleaning up and a small amount of down time, we start the bedtime routine. We are currently in a rhythm where both boys go to sleep at 6:30 and let me just say, it is pretty wonderful. I know this will not last forever, but it is lovely to have a solid 3 hours of time for just Lance and I.

Okay, I know this was a bit all over the place, but I think it is all super important in capturing why I feel so much better this time around than I did the first time 6-months postpartum. I write all this with a lot of gratitude. I can see so clearly the Lord at work in my life and I am so thankful for all the lessons he has taught me and continues to teach me through motherhood.

I also want to be very clear that there have definitely still been some very hard moments in these past 6 months. There was the day I decided to take the boys to the Science Center right after Thatcher’s 2-month shots. He would not stop crying as I obsessively walked in circles around the Endeavor in an effort to calm poor T. There have been the days where I feel deeply overwhelmed with just the responsibility of feeding two little children and keeping up with the basics. There have been a lot of moments in the evening where I have longed for a longer stretch of sleep.

Even in the crying, the chaos, and the very broken sleep (yes, still at 6-months he wakes up multiple times each night), I am finding myself just rolling with it. And I truly praise God for that. That is all His doing. Rolling with it was not even remotely in my nature 3 1/2 years ago. Now I roll with it so much better. I do not let the minor hiccups of daily life with a preschooler and baby take over. I roll with it. I pivot. I keep the peace. Well as much as possible…sometimes there are just those days.

No matter what season of motherhood you are currently in, I hope these random snippets of information and reflection are helpful for you. If you are currently feeling lost in motherhood and just 6-months in, I hope this can be your encouragement that it does get easier. You might not know exactly the type of mother you are right in this moment, but you will. God will show you and point you and nudge you in a certain direction. You will find your way and He will be right there through it all.

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