In many ways, the decision to try to conceive a second baby was easier for me than the decision to get pregnant the first time around. I knew what to expect (or at least I thought I did), I had always wanted to have two kids, and my daughter was a pretty easy going child. However, that doesn't mean it didn't scare the sh*t out of me. I held onto the undeniable fact that it's OK to be afraid to have another baby, though, and even if you always planned to have more than one. My feelings (just like any other point in my life) are always valid.
I'm not gonna lie. The transition from having one child to having a toddler and a baby was hard AF, probably harder than becoming a parent in the first place. You are often outnumbered, can rarely focus on one tiny human's needs at a time, and are pulled in multiple directions. That relentless combination can feel so completely overwhelming. Being pregnant while parenting is no joke either, and once your new baby is here things will rarely go as planned. Other times, being a mom to more than one child is truly amazing. To see your children not only grow up but also grow together. To see how different they are, their individual personalities, strengths, and challenges? Yeah, that's ah-maz-ing.
Like most things in this wonderful parenting ride, so much is completely unexpected, challenging, and beautiful at the same time. So, yeah, it's OK to be afraid. You probably should be afraid. I am not saying that to scare you, either. Reality is stranger than fiction, you are making a big decision and a little bit of realism never hurt anyone.
It Is A Big Deal
Whether it's your first, your fourth, or your fifteenth, having a baby is a huge deal. There are some moms that make it look effortless (I'm not really a huge fan those moms), but bottom line is that being a parent might just be the toughest and most important job on the planet. It's OK to want to think it over or to not have a second baby. It's totally up to you.
While my first pregnancy was blessedly easy, my second was terrible. I had hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme nausea and vomiting) all day for months. It was hard enough to be pregnant, without also having to chase around a 2-year-old toddler. Then, I was put on bed rest and couldn't even chase her around. We survived by a combination of take out food and Netflix.
It Will Hurt
Yes, if you have been pregnant before, you know this already. They don't call it labor for nothing, but it might be totally different this time and recovery when you have a child to care for is no joke.
You Might Worry About Being Enough
Right after I had my second baby, a horrible person told me that a mother's love, time, and energy are like a pie; once you have more than one child, there's less of that pie to go around.
In some ways, she was right. Some days you won't feel up to the job. However, in general and over the course of their lives, you are enough (even if it's different than the first time around).
It's Harder Than Having Your First
Having two kids is harder than just having one, at least right away. Then, as they get older you realize that two kids also entertain each other, play with each other, and your older child can watch your younger child (while you poop alone), and that is priceless.
You Are Happy The Way Things Are
While you might have always thought you wanted to have a large family or even just two kiddos, you might enjoy being a mom to one and not want to change a thing. The good part: how many kids you decide to have is entirely up to you, just tell naysayers to shut up about it.
You May Not Enjoy It
I had a close relationship with my sister growing up. Until our teen years when I hated everybody, we were the best of friends. I wanted that for my kids: a built in playmate and partner in crime. I would, however, be totally lying if I told you that it was fun and games all of the time.
As much as my kids play with each other, they also fight like cats and dogs. There have been so many bedtimes, car rides, sibling spats, and mealtimes that have ended with mommy in tears.
You Haven't Slept In Years
Aside from a few child-free vacations, I haven't really gotten a good night's sleep in seven years. Now that I am pregnant with baby number three, I seriously question my sanity (or ability to remember what life with a newborn is like).
It Will Change Your Life
Everything will change. Some things for the better and some things in ways that are no fun at all. That can be exciting, but it can also be scary. It's OK to be afraid. You wouldn't be "normal" if you weren't at least a little bit apprehensive.
Things Won't Go As Planned
Nothing in parenting goes as planned. Nothing. It's scary not to know what to expect, or worse, to plan for the worst. If you would have told me three years ago that today I would be a mom to two, a step mom to two, and expecting a baby? Yeah, I would have laughed. My life so far has been totally unexpected, but also totally wonderful.
It will be OK.
No matter what you decide — to be a mom to an "only" or to fill your house with chaos — you've got this. Sometimes the things we can't plan for turn out to be the most amazing.