Nothing you can do truly prepares you for the birth of a child. This holds true regardless of which child you are expecting. However, there is a large shift when moving from an only child family to a two-child family. Here are a few things you can expect with your second child:
1. You will feel tremendous guilt and fear. Guilt over turning your oldest child’s world upside down and fear over not loving your second as much as your first. These are not fleeting moments. These emotions are evident throughout the pregnancy and into the first few days/weeks after birth.
2. Your oldest will grow up instantly. The moment your youngest is born, the oldest instantly seems to change, as do your expectations of them.
3. Your village is smaller. Remember all those people checking in on you with your first, bringing you food, helping with laundry and letting you nap? You’re an old pro now, right? Don’t expect the same level of assistance you had the first go ‘round.
4. You will need that village more than ever. Things that slipped through the cracks the first time, like eating supper, are now required by your toddler or first child. Not to fret – I have found with the second you are much more likely to voice your needs and opinions, so let your village know what you need!
5. You and your partner will argue. A lot. Raising one child was easy – you each got a break when needed. With two, it’s a man to man defense and there are no guaranteed time outs, even though you are both begging for some ‘me’ time.
6. The oldest you were so worried about? They will have a bond with the new baby that nobody else has. Watching your oldest care for the new baby will truly make your heart explode.
7. It might take you longer to bond with the new baby than it did with your first. See #1. All of those emotions? They can really wreak havoc on that bonding experience.
8. You will lighten up. After a couple of weeks freaking out over every detail of perfection and organization to be the ‘perfect parent’ you will find a whole new level of chill and let your kids do anything for a moment of peace and quiet. Yes – even let them eat chocolate for breakfast.
9. The second child is not a replica of your first. Your second will have its own unique features, needs and personality. Roll with it or you will drive yourself crazy.
10. Remember how time flew by with your first? Weeks felt like days and they were crawling before you knew it? Expect that to double. I swear my second was crawling at 8 weeks, or at least that’s how it felt. Truthfully, my second ‘baby’ was no longer a baby by around 9 months when he was ready to take off after his brother and never look back. As cliché as it is, cherish those first few months because they are gone in a flash.
Expect “10 Things to Expect with Your Third Child” sometime in Fall 2017 after I go through the experience!
What did you learn from having your second that was unexpected?