Being pregnant with your second child brings up a lot of worries for some moms- Will I love this baby as much as I love my first? Will they get along? Is this the best or worst idea I’ve ever had? How will I figure out which kid to respond to first? Will it be more than I can handle?
Let me first assure you that it most likely won’t be more than you can handle. Here’s a secret about the second time around- it’s much easier. It’s not the first time you’re changing your baby’s diaper. It’s not the first time you’re breastfeeding or mixing formula. You’ve got some experience under your belt and that simple fact will give you more confidence and make things seem less difficult. So if you’re thinking back to your first baby’s initial days (weeks, months) at home and the chaos that accompanied them, it’s probably going to be much more calm this time around.
To demonstrate this point, I have two of my own mom’s favorite stories about the first weeks home with my older brother, Matthew (her first,) and me (her second).
A few days after my mom and older brother came home from the hospital, my grandmother was over at the house and was trying to help my mom out. She came up to where my mom was resting with her new bundle of joy and asked if my mom wanted her to take some meat out of the fridge for dinner. My grandmother was a smart and capable woman that could have made dinner all by herself without my mom’s input but wanted to make my mom feel included. My mom’s reaction to this simple question? She burst into tears and yelled at her mom, “How can you ask me a thing like that at a time like this?!” She says she just felt like everything she did all day was making decisions and that every. one. of. them. was important. Because it often feels like this the first time you have a new baby in the house. Everything is new and overwhelming.
Fast forward two and a half year to the days after my fabulous entry into the world: same main characters, my mom and grandmother. They were chatting while my mom gave me a bath in the sink and her mother looked at her and asked, “What WERE we doing all day with Matthew?” My mom shrugged and said she didn’t know, but it certainly seemed a lot less busy this time around.
Here’s the difference between those two scenarios: with your first baby you’re not only adjusting to having a new baby in the house. You’re adjusting to being a mother yourself. That’s a huge shift in your life. And even with the 9 months of time to adjust, it still slaps you in the face when you have that actual baby in your arms, needing food, shelter and love. Holy moly. I am someone’s mother. This little person is entirely dependent on me (and the rest of the family, but come on, we all feel like it’s on us). And while every new baby throws a wrench in the works a little bit, just by the natural disruption to routine, the lack of sleep, and a change what you’re used to… the second time around you don’t have to adjust to becoming a mother too. You’re already Mom or Mama or Mommy. It’s only one transition, not two.
So don’t worry. You’re going to love baby number two just as much. You’re going to love baby number one just as much (if not more, the first time you see your oldest being sweet to the new baby your heart will melt and you will burst with even more love for him or her… try to hold on to this feeling the first time the oldest is less than sweet to the new baby, because that will happen too). You will be able to handle it. You will figure out what to do first and who to answer first and how to get everyone in the car and all the logistics. It will take some trial and error, you might need a few extra minutes sometimes, but you’ll do it. And soon it will be insanely easy and you’ll forget what it was like to only have one.
Go forth and conquer being a mom to more than one. After all, you’re already a mom- you’ve already morphed into a superhero and can take on anything.