Having My Second

Happy smiling child near pregnant mom tummyBy Abby Bordner

I didn’t reach my decision to have a second child easily. I love my first child with my whole heart and body. It is a dream come true to have my son. Being a Mother consumes me and gives me deep joy and satisfaction in my life. Yet, I was unsure about a second.

My son was approaching his fourth birthday and most of my friends had already had their second child, some even pregnant with their third. I hadn’t felt the strong urge to get pregnant again although I started to feel that there was another spirit child waiting to come through me. I couldn’t let it go. It began to consume me. I was getting very clear that I wanted my second. Fortunately, my partner was supportive and soon I became pregnant with number two.

I started to be plagued with anxiety. I feared that my son’s life would be greatly disrupted. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to love another child as much as my first. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to function on no sleep and constant breastfeeding when I also had my 4 year old needing me. I couldn’t imagine going through the newborn “fog” again. I worried that the birth would go too fast (really). I was mourning my one on one relationship with my first child.

I also felt more confident the second time around. I’d done this before. I didn’t have all the questions and concerns about pregnancy, birth and infants. For all the planning and focus I had with the first, the second was the opposite. We didn’t have a name picked out. I didn’t go to prenatal yoga. We didn’t have a baby shower. I didn’t get the attention I got the first time. The relatives weren’t sending gifts or planning to visit. I felt like, “Life will just go on as normal when this new one arrives.” She’ll be able tojoin the momentum of family life, strapped onto my body in a carrier. I experienced overwhelming gratitude for this second child coming to bless our family. And, the lucky thing she has that my first didn’t, is a big brother.

Some ways to help an older sibling prepare and adjust:

  • Tell stories about when he was a baby
  • Show him pictures of when he was a baby
  • Ask him to help with simple tasks (although don’t force him to help with the baby)
  • Don’t compare the two children (even little things; “she doesn’t cry as much as you did”, “she is growing faster than you did”)
  • Acknowledge feelings; even if he says “I don’t like the baby” reflect back that all the changes with the new baby may be hard for him.

Well, the truth is, I was surprised how my life changed with a second. My time, my energy, my strength was zapped away from me during the first three months with my newborn. I fell in love with my newborn and enjoyed breastfeeding, co-sleeping and smelling that sweet spot on her head. My son loved his baby sister and loved the joy that washed over our family. My son’s life wasn’t actually compromised; it was enhanced by another person that totally adores him.

Some things to do for a Mom having her second:

  • Make her family food
  • Take her older child out for a special outing
  • Hold her baby for her
  • Offer to accompany her when she has to go somewhere
  • Make her family food
  • Bring a small gift for the older sibling (and one for Mom is nice, too)
  • Offer to pick some things up for her at the store
  • Make her family food!!

My best practice as a Mother is to notice the variety of feelings that I have about my children. I have learned to breathe, count to 10, open my heart with a lift in my sternum, smile and wait. Most feelings swirl around; anxiety, fear, concern but when I actively calm myself all that lies beneath is extreme gratitude, joy, love and peace.

What were your feelings about deciding to have OR not to have a second child?

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