“All Hell breaks loose when you have your second baby.”
At least, that’s what an article said that I read shortly before Oliver was born.
I don’t know if I’m just lucky, but I’m almost four months in, and that has yet to happen.
As I anxiously awaited the arrival of Oliver, I clung to the days I had left with just my firstborn. I kept (selfishly) thinking how I loved our life how it was right now. I felt guilty that my new baby wouldn’t get the same undivided attention Jack had gotten for so long.
It had taken me a long time to want to have another child after Jack. My pregnancy with him was difficult (from morning sickness to depression and being in school the whole time.) While he was, and has always been a sweet child, his first few years were difficult.
I worried about how Jack would handle things. He seemed to understand that we were having a new baby – and he seemed rather excited. But I couldn’t help but wonder if he really understood what was going on.
Sometimes I think I underestimated him. To be honest, I think he was more ready for it than I was.
I also worried about how I would handle caring for and loving two tiny human beings. I knew I loved Jack SO much, and I didn’t think it was quite possible for me to love another child as much.
Well, those fears washed away as soon as he was laid on my chest. I was even more relieved when Jack met Oliver for the first time. From the moment he first met him, he’s been so caring and gentle.
For weeks after Oliver was born, Jack would tell me, “I’ve just waited so long for Oliver. I’m so happy he’s in our family.”
I’ve only been a mom of two for a few months, so I can’t give you all the advice in the world about having two children. I’m sure we have many ups and downs ahead.
But what I can tell you is that it will be okay. Yes, there will be hard days. I’m sure I have plenty ahead. But there’s nothing sweeter than seeing your oldest child become an older sibling, and the good days far outweigh the bad. My mom always tells me that the greatest gift they gave their children was each other – and I am starting to understand why she thinks that.
You may feel guilty at times that you can’t give either child 100% of your time. In the beginning, a lot of that attention will have to be toward your baby. And that’s okay. Just remember that sometimes you will have to choose which child to attend to – just make sure that sometimes, you choose the oldest child first (these parent-child mini date kits are a great way to connect with them!)
And the thing is – you don’t have to divide your attention all the time. Involving your older child in the care of the baby can be such a sweet experience. Allow your children to bond – keep your new baby safe, but don’t be afraid to let your older child help.
Through the three short months that I’ve had two children, I’ve discovered this – the heart has an infinite capacity for love. You’ll love your new child so much – and you might find yourself loving your older child even more as you see them become an older brother or sister.
So, if you find yourself pregnant with your second child and terrified to death…I promise it will be okay. No experience you read online dictates how yours will be. Not even this one. But go forward with a little courage and a positive outlook, and you might just be surprised. Trust yourself. Trust your child.
One day soon, you’ll ask yourself, “How did we ever live without this child?”
Originally posted in 2014; updated in 2019.