Dear mamas thinking about a second baby or already expecting #2 or in the early days and months of being mama to two babes, this post is for you. If your worry and anticipation and new brutiful (brutal + beautiful) emotions are a little less about what to pack in the hospital bag and much more about how your first born will possibly be okay during your hospital nights away or your hours of newborn feeds or your heart suddenly loving double, you’re not alone. Enter the beautiful Nicki Sebastian, new mama of two, friend to all, and editorial and family photographer oozing with talent and magic, who stepped in front of our camera to share her heartfelt and genuine experience of bringing home baby #2. Read and leave more ready and hopeful for your “greatest dream come true” (a work in progress)!
What new joys does Cece introduce to your family dynamic?
“Cece is one of two lights of my life, but she is also—in the most literal sense—Cami’s greatest dream come true. (Cami had been relentlessly requesting a sister via Amazon Prime ages before I became pregnant, and behold, her wish was granted!) So in Cami’s innocent four-year-old mind, Cece was mystically summoned by very intently hoping for a sibling—and for Cami, that magic hasn’t faded one bit. She still holds Cece in the highest regard, and each and every day she’s right by my side to help with her “living baby doll.” I have to knock on wood, but I will say that Cami has taken on this new role with pride and ease—and Cece couldn’t be more enamored with her big sister. Seeing Cece’s ear-to-ear smile each time she lays eyes on Cami is just priceless—and it’s only getting better every day.”
What is your biggest tip/lifesaver for adjusting from one to two kids?
“If I had the chance to become a second-time mom again, I would tell myself this: Give yourself permission to feel some rather tough, not-so-blissful feelings as you transition into your new life with another child. To be totally transparent, I went through a pretty rough grieving period in the beginning, longing for the days when it was just Cami and me—and on top of it all, I felt ashamed and guilty for having these emotions instead of being completely overcome with joy and gratitude for this new baby. I wasn’t exactly gentle with myself, and I felt undue pressure (mostly from the facade that is social media) to make our family of four integrate seamlessly. Sure, there were some indescribably awesome moments in the very beginning, but a lot of our early days were tear-filled and short-fused, and I fumbled through those first weeks as though it was my first rodeo all over again. I eventually found the courage to reach out to other moms of multiple children (and cried on a lot of their shoulders) and they helped me to understand that all of this was totally normal and just part of the process—the joy would compound over time, and the family would gel gradually.”
What are you still figuring out as mama of two?
“Only four months in, I still feel like a total rookie, and every day seems to bring a new challenge (ex: I’m completing this interview hooked up to my breast pump, while also braiding Cami’s hair for school in between typing sentences—parents are the ultimate multitaskers). In short, I’m still figuring out my limits. I’ve reached the end of my thread countless times because I’m trying to accomplish too much at once, and it usually ends in some sort of breakdown. So, the goal is to better understand what’s humanly possible as a new mom of two (hint: not much at the moment) and avoid hitting that wall by taking on less, politely declining things, and feeling good and confident about just saying “no, not right now.””
Describe your favorite part of the day with both girls
“My favorite part of the day is—and I can’t believe I’m saying this, as I never considered myself a morning person—the crack of dawn. I’ve most likely been up every two to three hours with Cece (sleep is not exactly her forte at the moment), but for some reason the fatigue disappears momentarily, and I really just treasure the time when both girls join us in bed with huge smiles and lively moods. I may not always be my best self at 5:30am, but the kids are definitely at their chattiest and cheeriest, which is actually pretty contagious. Combine that with a tall cup of cold brew, and I’m ready to tackle the day! (Sort of.)”
How do you find one-on-one time with Cami?
“This has been a challenge, but it’s also a consistent goal of mine—finding time to spend with each of the girls solo. As soon as Cece was born, I felt terrible for not having as much time for Cami—she was my one-and-only buddy for over four years, and now this brand new baby needed me 24/7, which really changed our family dynamic in ways that I didn’t anticipate. Roni (my husband) has been great about pushing me out of the house and encouraging me and Cami to even just run a simple errand together. Quite honestly, a trip to CVS or a walk around the neighborhood with just Cami and her doll stroller feels like an extra-special outing these days—and squeezing in those little excursions a few times a week has been crucial for our bond and my sanity.”
How do you stay present with your girls among your busy business?
“This is definitely a work in progress. Juggling my own business with two little ones is harder than anything I’ve ever attempted, but in the same token, the uphill climb has made me the strongest I’ve ever been. Staying present while maintaining fluid business hours and having no real “office” is definitely tricky, but Roni and I have implemented some daily routines and structure in our lives since welcoming Cece—and we try to stick to these no matter what. For example, we eat dinner as a family at the table as much as possible (Cece included, even if she’s fussy, which is often the case), and I reserve one weekend day to be home with Roni and the girls (even though my job often demands Saturday/Sunday work). It’s sometimes hard saying no to gigs and opportunities that come up (and truth be told, I also miss the spontaneity of my 20s), but our time together is sacred, and the rigidity of our daily life curbs my anxiety—and it also allows us all to be more present with one another.”
Photography by: Paige Jones