Going from one child to two can be absolutely terrifying for a mother (well, OK, it was absolutely terrifying for me). I clearly remember desperately asking all my friends advice for having a second baby when I found out I was pregnant with number two. As an only child who grew up without the benefit of close cousins, either in age or in geography, I knew I didn’t want to create the kind of isolation I felt growing up. I was determined to have more than one child. Then I chickened out.
Part of the reason I chickened out was because my husband came into my life with a daughter from a previous relationship, so we kind of had a ready-made sister for any baby I might end up having myself. Sure, there would be a big age difference, but at least there would be a sibling! Two years into my daughter’s life, I felt like I just couldn’t love another child the way I loved her, and that I wanted to devote my time and energy to just one, since I planned to go back to school for my Doctorate.
Apparently, the universe had other plans for me: Shortly after my husband and I decided that we weren’t going to have any more children, I got pregnant. I was scared, for so many reasons.
The biggest reason for my anxiety stemmed from my fear that I would never be able to love another child as much as my daughter. I spent my entire pregnancy feeling ambivalent and also fearful. But once my son was was born, it took just a few minutes for me to realize how misplaced that fear was. And if there’s one thing I could convey to anyone out there expecting a second baby, it’s that you will be able to love the second as much as the first. But that’s probably something you’ll just have to see for yourself.
As it (unsurprisingly) turns out, I wasn't the only one who had fears and doubts going into my second-baby experience. Here's what a bunch of other now-experienced moms wish they had known before going in for round two:
"People said having more than one child was really no more work than one child. They lied. Each child is completely unique and needs what they need."
"I wish I'd realized I could relax a lot more, not stress so much about [everything in] detail. The baby won't die if you don't carry your cloth wipes and use an alcohol wipe on their bum when you're traveling!"
I wish I had know how important it was to spend individual time with each when they were little. I did spend some but not as much as I should have.
"I wish I had known how different two kids (well in my case 3) of the same sex can be. They are all completely different."
That I should toss everything I learned by having my first out the window. The minute my second was born, I felt like I knew nothing. She is entirely different and navigating life with two changes everything.
"I had this delusion that if we did everything pretty much the same, we'd end up with similar kids. LOL!! I have three completely different personalities living in my house and I don't even know who to blame!"
"I was so terrified that I would never be able to love a second [kid] as much as I loved my first. Silly, I know, but it kept me up at night. I wish I would've known that my heart would grow that much bigger."
If I would have known how important company is for [my] first kid, I would [have] had the second [kid] sooner.
"That I should lower my expectations of how much and when and with whom, and I should let life happen instead of forcing it."
"I stressed out and worried myself sick before going solo with my two girls for the first time. It wasn't as hard as I thought it was. I wasted so much time worrying. Time wasted. I didn't realize how "easy" it was until I had my third this past June."
"Every child is different. What worked for one (or what they liked [or what they did]) isn't necessarily how it'll be for #2. Kid number 1 is the apple and kid number 2 is the orange...you can't compare the two."
"I wish I had known how incredibly hard it would be to transition from one child to two. I would have lined up more help. I would have given myself a lot more grace."
"Buy the double stroller right away. Don't waste money on the single one."
"Spread out the age difference a little more. My daughter turned 2 the day we brought our son home from the hospital. I was scared sh*tless trying to care for both."
I wish I'd had mine closer together in age!
"Nothing is easier than the stage you are in right now. I wish someone had shared that but I would have never believed them!"
"My son was 13 months when my daughter was born. He ignored her for several months but he was a high energy never stopping toddler who [learned] to walk at 7 months. I wish I knew how exhausting it was always wearing the little one while chasing the older one."
Sleep is for the weak.
"As long as we're on our routine, it's actually not hard at all."
I wish I had known to write more down. With number two, I've forgotten so many little things about number one that I never thought I would.
"Have them close together. My 2 never fight, they are best of friends and do pretty much everything together... I have also been told that mine are weird to get along that well so this advice could be less than helpful."