I’m really glad that I didn’t allow postnatal depression to put me off having another baby. Motherhood the second time around is SO different! Especially, as I have one boy and one girl… as you may know. Mothering both children requires different tactics, so to speak. When I had Angelo, the first year and a half of our lives together was a nightmare. It may not have seemed that way to some but it was for me. I regularly had nightmares about losing him in some random flood or  in a wave by the seaside. It didn’t make sense but does any nightmare. I’d wake up and still felt asleep. It was though I was trapped in dense cloud, my responses to anything but him was slow and delayed… if I responded at all. Food gave me little pleasure. I ate because I had to but the the appearance, the flavours, nothing meant anything to me. At night I’d with Angelo in my arms and cry. I felt so lost and isolated. Bless him he was a colicky baby. Even now I mostly remember him crying or fussing. Probably unfair but I honestly can’t remember much more than that. I was paranoid and insecure, as well as drained mentally and physically. Then I bought into to the line: is easier the second time around.  ‘They’ said that the first child matures quicker and clings less to the mother, when the second child is born. So I decided to have a another baby. Mad?! I know! I think even my GP thought that as she wrote the prescription for my PND tablets. I remember telling her, that’s how desperate I was to make things better.  As faith would have it ‘they’ were wrong.  Angelo clung to me still. It was rough having two kids under under the age of three. Its still rough having two kids under the age of five. However, my daughter has given me such joy. Valentina has shown me not to sweat the small things. Every day she fills me with wonder. I’m always mouth open gaping at her antics. Valentina’s  strength and independence has freed me to enjoy motherhood.

I didn’t experience postnatal depression with Valentina. Phew… her birth was quick but painful and it took me almost two weeks to regain my energy. She was so tiny I didn’t know what to do with her. Her dad took the lead and that allowed me to maintain special time with Angelo. On the occasions when Angelo was sensitive and needed reassurance, I was able to give him that cuddle because Valentina was so calm and required so little. When she turned six months her feisty personality started to blossom. Yes, there have been times I had to cradle my two children in my arms at the same time, and cry. Yeah I’ve cried a fair bit since becoming a mum too. However, she has always been a bit quicker to soothe. I’m amazed at how she can sit and watch a programme or play on her own. She’s physically strong, loves to climb but is also quite determined. She rarely gives up at trying to achieve something she’s set her mind to. She reminds of the girl I used to be and for my ‘sins’ she’s even starting to look like me. Sometimes its like looking into my own little Maria’s face. She’s an inspiration to me for one so small and young.

Now 22  months on,  I’m still sleep deprived, tired and achy but happy. For my daughter, Valentina, I had to learn to be good to myself again. I had to learn to find a balance that I could live but at the same time wouldn’t upset the family. She has a funny bone. She makes me laugh so much by blowing raspberries (bubbles) on me.  pinching my news so that I speak nasally and lots of other little silly things.  She seems to me learning and maturing without my assistance. Perhaps, its due to having an older brother. The children adore each other and Angelo loves teaching her new things. As a result, she’s able to do things unaided by me. She can now climb down from the top bunk. When did she learn that?! She says “OK” when I ask her to do something. She tidys up after herself  and returns things to the place she found them most times AND without me telling her to do so! Don’t get me wrong she’s no angel. She can scream like a banshee and through a phenomenal strop in a store but I’ve lost shame and pride some way along my motherhood journey. For a long time I despised having to be at home. I never factored in being a stay at home mum, but seeing my daughter blossom, observing her learn to love and care for her brother and listening to them play makes it worthwhile. I never saw Angelo take his first steps and I doubt I heard his first words. I was lost in a hazy thick cloud mentally, as well as working full time. I was parenting on auto-pilot. Having a second child, Valentina,  has made me become a better mum to my first, Angelo, and allowed me to learn to love myself again

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