I‘m not sure there’s a mother on this earth who hasn’t harboured fears about the arrival of a second child. That first child changes your world and flips everything on its head. Something in you wants another baby but at the same time you feel like you’re already at capacity and can’t imagine being capable of giving, caring, and loving any more than you already do. And then there’s your precious firstborn. How can you have another child without taking away from them? Rest easy, mama. You are not alone in your thoughts and fears, but let me put you at ease by sharing 5 truths you need to know about having a second baby.
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1) You Will Be Capable of Caring For Them Both
Becky Thompson once shared something that really stuck with me. In response to the question, “does it get easier?” she said:
He grows us as He grows them.
What did she mean? Well, parenthood doesn’t get easier but you learn to adapt and grow. God gives you grace, and you become stronger. I remember wondering many times while I was pregnant with my second child how on earth I was going to be capable of caring for both my children. The truth is, you just are. Sure, its a little rocky at first but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. I also remember the first time my parents took my son for the weekend after my daughter was born. Looking after just one baby all of a sudden seemed SO easy when just a few weeks previous to that, one child seemed all I could handle.
It won’t be without challenge, but you can do it.
2) You Will Sleep Again
If your first child isn’t the best sleeper then I can understand why the thought of having a second makes you want to go take a nap right now. Yes, you will lose some sleep, but it won’t be forever, or even for long if you’re willing to work towards establishing healthy sleep habits with your little ones.
We’ve worked towards that goal since day one with both our children and it has been so beneficial for everyone. Now at almost 11 months postpartum with my second child, we all get a full night’s sleep. It has been that way since my daughter was around 3-4 months. It can be done, I promise. 🙂 We’ve used a modified version of Babywise and Moms on Call and have had great success!
3) Your Eldest Will Not Be Neglected
Before my daughter arrived I was so worried that my son would feel neglected once his little sister was on the scene. He was only 18 months old when she was born and I had always stayed at home with him. Neglect really needs to be defined here though. Yes, your eldest child will for sure have times when he/she can’t have exactly what they want or need right at that very second but that doesn’t qualify neglect. No, instead they will begin to learn the important lesson of patience. Instant gratification is a dangerous thing that has developed in the modern world.
Of course, I’m not talking about genuine time-sensitive needs. Although there will be times when both your children seem to NEED you at the exact same moment, you will learn to prioritize.
If you’re concerned about your older child feeling left out and that they might be struggling to adjust, then quality time is a really powerful tool in rectifying that. You can find more tips regarding that in THIS post that I wrote addressing toddler jealousy.
4) You Don’t Have to ‘Lose’ Yourself
I’ve come to realize that it isn’t motherhood itself that leads women to ‘lose themselves’. It is the busyness of life. It is the result of never stopping to take care of yourself. However, motherhood does lend itself to this simply due to the nature of the job. So, be aware and proactive. Treat yourself kindly and extend grace to everyone. Figure out some way so that you can have time to just breathe and relax. Learn what makes you feel fulfilled and then pencil some time in to work on that. Postpartum struggles are not uncommon but they can lead to much more challenging things like postpartum depression if they’re not dealt with appropriately.
5) You Will Have Enough Love For Both of Them
This. This is the number one thing that constantly crossed my mind when preparing for the birth of my daughter. How on EARTH could I possibly love a second child without taking love away from my first? How could I love someone that I hadn’t even met yet as much as I already loved my son? Well, here’s the truth, mama:
Children don’t take up room in your heart, they grow it.
This is something you’re just going to have to trust me on. There is no describing or explaining it fully. It just happens. You hold that baby in your arms while your older child snuggles into your side and your heart will feel like it could explode with all the love you feel. Your love grows. It just does. And it is one of the most wonderful and inexplicable things I have ever had the privilege to experience.
Mamas of two or more, what things did you worry about when expecting subsequent children. Now that we’ve got two, I will say that the thought of having a third is not nearly so scary…except that we’ll officially be outnumbered, ha!