Most of the time, when you tell people you're going to have a second child, people are sweet and kind and happy for you. But every now and then you get One of Those People who say things like "Oh boy are
you in trouble" or "Now's when it gets real" or just otherwise delight in undermining your confidence and pee on your joy. But I'm here to tell you just a few of the reasons you should be pumped for baby #2 because, for real, having a second baby is the best.
What surprised me most in
having a second child was how quickly it felt like I had always had a second child. At the same time, my daughter felt "new" for a long time. It was a really weird but pleasant conundrum, like "Hi! Have you met my new baby? She's either been with us for a week or 97 years. I can't remember which." I was so worried, before she arrived, that it would take Herculean effort to assimilate her into our lives but... no. That sorted itself out somehow. ("It sorted itself out somehow" should actually be the motto for having more than one child.)
Look, is it always easy?
Of course not. Will there be some days you didn't know what you were thinking? From time to time... generally when one of them is pitching a fit in public and the other has a poopy diaper and everyone can see, hear, and smell you at your worst. But you know this! You're already a mom! You know that the good moments are going to overshadow the bad, even in those periods where they don't always outnumber them. And let me reassure you, as a mom of two for almost five years now, that you're in for a lot of fun, both in the immediate aftermath of have a second child and in years to come.
New Baby Smell: Revisited
Please do not underestimate how much this amazing smell will have an effect on you and how much you've missed it. New babies are hard: they keep inconvenient hours, are entirely reliant on you, and can only communicate by shrieking... they're sort of like higher-stakes, not-nimble cats. The smell, I hypothesize, is an evolutionary feature that keeps parents from going crazy. It's like built-in aroma therapy.
There's Cute And Useful New Stuff Out There
Even if you had your first baby within a couple years, chances are
new stuff has come out that can help make parenting a little bit easier. And even if you don't choose to get new stuff (hooray for reusing and combating the ol' carbon footprint, to say nothing of saving pennies), you can dust off Baby #1's old stuff and OMG WAS IT ALWAYS THIS TINY AND ADORABLE?! How on Earth do they make babies this small?!
Oh. Right. They
emerge from your pubic region. Stay small, babies.
When I found out I was pregnant again, I was tremendously concerned that I would not be able to love my second child as much as I loved my first. Because... how? How was it possible? I didn't even
know the new baby. I'd known my first for more than two years. And I loved him more every day. So, at that rate, there's no way my second baby would ever be able to catch up.
That's not how it works. Somehow your heart expands, like when the Grinch decides not to ruin Christmas.
You'll Love Baby #1 In A New Way
After my second was born I saw my first in an entirely new light. Specifically, seeing him next to an infant allowed me to see how far he'd come since his infant days, even if I didn't really recognize it while it was happening. Like, he would always be my Wee Little Dumpling, but good god he was
big. When did he get so big? Were his legs always this long? Did he always speak so clearly? OMG, remember when he couldn't feed himself with a spoon? Holy crap, this kid is amazing.
This isn't to say second children are always easy. (Mine was, thank god, but she is not every baby.)Your second
may be as challenging or even more challenging than the first. But most moms of two (or more) I know go into subsequent births and postpartum periods with more confidence. Because you've changing innumerable diapers and soothed thousand different kinds of crying jags. If nothing else you know now that having a baby restructures your life and sense of time and accomplishment, which in and of itself can give you a huge leg up on handling that ish.
Seeing #1 and #2 Together = #HeartExplosion
boom. And, I'll be honest, my oldest DGAF about his sister for most of her first year. Some kids are all about their younger siblings and it's amazing. But even if your kids aren't BFFs just yet, seeing them interact is going to make you happy in ways you didn't know were possible. It's incredible. Imagine if your two favorite movie franchises had a crossover film. How can you even handle all that awesome in one place? You can't. You just freak out and wake up covered in glitter* like "What happened? The last thing I remember he offered her a toy..."
*The glitter came from your heart, which burst out of your chest, but it's better now... either that our your oldest found some glitter in a craft closet and dumped it on you while you were passed out. Either way, get the vacuum.
People Will STFU About You Having Another Baby
For a while at least. If people perceive you as having "one of each [gender]" your chances are even better. But it's nice. I was still in the hospital recovering from my c-section when people asked me when I was going to have a second child. Holy crap. Slow your roll, dudes.
You Can Put #2 In #1's Old Clothes
AND THEN YOU CAN DO SIDE BY SIDE PICTURES OF THEM IN
THE SAME OUTFIT AND IT'S THE CUTEST THING EVER AND I'M NOT SHOUTING YOU'RE SHOUTING!
Snuggling one kid is awesome. Snuggling
two? So super great. And the age difference means you get complementary snuggles. Like... infant snuggles are different from toddler snuggles, but they go together so beautifully. It's like adding salt to chocolate or peanut butter to chocolate or chocolate to strawberries, or chocolate with literally any other thing that's good. On a physical level alone it's so cozy. Emotionally? You're probably going to wake up covered in heart glitter again.
You're Going To Learn A Lot About Yourself
I'll level with you: even when things work themselves out (and they will), often, something's gotta give. I've heard it said that one child is a life changer and two is a game changer and... pretty much, yeah, especially since it often feels like you
just got a handle on things with one kid upending everything now: BAM! There's two of them. But, again, this ain't your first rodeo. There's a lot to do, but I find that you can identify priorities pretty quickly. What needs to get done now? What can wait until tomorrow... or 2035? The trick here is listening to the voice in your head instead of the prattling of other people trying to dictate your priorities to you.
They'll Team Up And It's Adorable/Terrifying
Photo courtesy of Jamie Kenney
This picture tells a true story. My son was being naughty — I forget what he did, but it got him landed in time out. When this happened, my daughter, about 18 months or so, scowled at me, toddled over to her brother, and gave him a reassuring hug of solidarity.
It is one of my favorite things they've ever done, because it's so unbelievably sweet. At the same time, it was horrifying, because I have seen the future and they will rise up against me...
I was extremely worried that I was going to ruin
my oldest child's life when I had my second baby.
I absolutely did not. In fact, I think having a sibling has allowed him to grow as a person. And that's not to say that you
need a second child in order to best serve your first child or that they won't grow if they remain an only child, but I'm saying that having a second child will yield similarly good outcomes. Photo courtesy of Jamie Kenney
I won't lie: it took a while. My kids are just under three years apart and there's not a ton a barely mobile 1-year-old has in common with an active, highly verbal 4-year-old. But as the years wear on those differences become less and less stark and now, at 7 and almost 5, there are afternoons when they ignore me completely in favor of one another's company... and you'd think that would sort of suck but it's truly incredible, because the only thing better than loving each of my children is seeing that the two people I love most in this world actually love and care for each other.