Having a second baby: The fear vs the reality

We never for a moment hesitated on whether to have another baby, after our first. The ‘when’ question was overrun by a sequence of events; life took a path seemingly a destined fate, as it so often does.

None the less, we still had a LOT of worries about facing life with two. Almost a year into becoming a four-piece, here’s a little look back at the details we fretted over, and how it panned out for us.

  1. The age gap. What is the perfect age gap? As tiny as possible? (Tough work but ‘gets the baby stage done’ while its fresh in your mind and you have all the kit). As big as possible? (Easier on the intensity but you just got your life back a little?). When your childcare costs drop; at three, at school age. (Can I wait that long?). The answer is, there is no perfect time. You’ll be just fine, it’ll have highs and lows whatever the age gap; and I doubt you’ll find yourself rocking in the middle of the night chanting ‘if only I’d waited another six months’.
  2. Can we afford it? The strange thing about having children, is although they cost you an arm and a leg, if you’ve had one, is it really that more expensive to have another? Your portion sizes for spag bol could easily feed a small village, and the ‘clothes and cocktails’ budget that is not required for that first year will easily cover your milk and nappies costs. Its amazingly cheaper second time around because you have most of the essential kit, and you learnt the hard way not to go mad on the non-essential stuff (12 packs of 3 x vests in 0-3 months a little OTT). For most people, childcare costs conveniently drop at age 3, when you might be likely to be returning back to work after baby #2? If you were super quick in going for it, it won’t be long till those costs for baby#1 drop a little. You’ll be hugely more cost-savvy and will be loads quicker in accepting bags of peoples ‘hand me downs’ (they grow out of them in two minutes don’t they?).
  3. But I found those first months so hard first time around. There’s nothing like the culture shock of becoming a Mum. But guess what, now you’re a Pro. You know whats coming, how to feed, wind, keep alive a small person so you’ll spend more time resting and less time googling in the small hours. They’re laying awake in their crib, but they’re not crying…you’ll be sleeping. I know, novel.
  4. How will I cope with two? You will, you just will. Everyone will tell you you’re amazing, and you’ll wonder if they’re talking to the person behind you. You’re their Mum, your every fibre is wired to make sure they’re ok – you’ll surprise yourself. You’ll just be wondering how people do it with three…
  5. Will my darling first born feel neglected? Do you think you’ll ever neglect your precious child? Exactly! You’ll shower them with love and attention so they don’t feel left out. They will love getting involved if you let them. Okay, maybe they’ll go through a jealous phase, but that’s perfectly normal too. It won’t last forever. The irony is, they might demand more attention but believe me, they will be the ones getting the majority of it.
  6. What if child A needs me at the same time as child B? I spent hours imagining baby feeding continuously – what would TG be doing? What if she needs my help to go to the loo? Would the world grind to a halt? It’s almost laughable how often I worried about this in hindsight. The answer? Put the baby down somewhere safe for a moment. Simples. Baby may protest somewhat, but guess what, a babys crying isn’t quite as stress-inducing second time around. The result of ‘Mummy only has one pair of hands’ syndrome, is, incidentally, a much less needy child. Someone gave me this advice, which I still refer back to: ‘When you’ve had your second baby, your first child is going to be watching a lot more TV than you’ll be comfortable with. The sooner you accept it and let go of the guilt, the better. It’s not forever.‘ SO TRUE. Thank you Disney.
  7. Do we need a double buggy? This simple question left me and google exploring every buggy review site online for months. Every friend of two kids was subject to the spanish inquisition of whether they had one, how much, how often was it used etc etc… The age gap, in the end, for our two was 2.5 years. TG was in the ‘never going in a buggy’ phase, but guess what she fell back in love with a week before Baby-G was born? Yep, sitting in the buggy. We decided to wait before investing, and guess what, we survived without one. Oh, to have all those hours to be googling, what a luxury that was. (FYI we did snap up a buggy board which was a godsend, and a sling for baby is gold dust second time around).
  8. Will we have one of each or two the same sex? You will be asked your preference over and over and over again. This may come as a shock, but you have a 50:50 chance and no control over it. As someone who has experienced loss, around the 20 week scan stage, it’s a little uncomfortable how much people seem to focus on the sex of that baby at that event. It’s not a sexing scan, it’s to find out little baby is doing ok in there. Believe me, nothing is more important than that – blue, pink or green. And anyway, there are massive positives whatever the sex- we had two girls so massively lucked out on the clothes and toys re-use. But one of each would have been equally lovely. They also, so far seem to be extremely close, which brings me onto my next point…
  9. Will they get on? No two people on this earth are the same, so who knows. In our case, it’s been a win-win situation. Someone LOVED being a big sister from day one. Nothing makes her happier than having her little buddy around (whose feelings are mutual). It’s a beautiful thing to watch, as I so often do. If I ever doubted having another baby, this is absolutely the best thing that has come out of it. I just hope it continues long into the future.
  10. I’m scared of going through pregnancy / childbirth / feeding again. No two pregnancies are the same, nor deliveries, nor babies. If having another baby is something you want, it would be so sad to let a past experience put you off. The end result will be worth it; a lifelong friend for your first child. Our second baby couldn’t have been more different to her sister. In temperament, in sleep behaviour, in feeding. The deliveries were worlds apart. None of these things have been without complications, but absolutely different experiences from our parenting premiere. It’s highly likely you’ll worry about one thing and be taken from the side by a completely different and new issue; that’s life as a Mum. Or maybe, just maybe there will be no problems at all.

So, I say…GO FORTH AND MULTIPLY! 🙂

x MMT

Mummuddlingthrough
Mummuddlingthrough
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46 thoughts on “Having a second baby: The fear vs the reality

  1. Mum in Brum Reply

    Such a great list – I need to show this to my hubby who is currently against having a second due to all these reasons! I think the advice about not feeling guilty about child A watching a lot of TV is brilliant! Also like your experience with those first few months second time around – as that is a BIG fear of ours!! I do think we found it so difficult because we didn’t know what the hell we were doing first time around. Thanks for making me feel more at ease – I’m definitely book marking this one 🙂 xxx

    1. MMT Reply

      You can’t give your first baby any better gift than a brother or sister? I know not everyone can or would choose to, but we have never looked back. Stopping at two though!!! X

  2. Laura's Lovely Blog Reply

    Some of these we worried over too. I actually bought the double buggy but actually have hardly used it. It’s in such a good condition I’m sure I’ll get a good price for it second hand though so I’m not worried. And you’re right you just find a way, so the baby cries for a minute when you have to wipe the other’s bum as long as they’re safe it’s ok #picknmix

  3. Picking Up Toys Reply

    I panicked over most of these too!I have a huge gap of 11 years between kids 1+2 and I really felt like I was learning all over again!Between kids 2+3 there’s a 3 year gap which has been perfect – they’re proper best buddies (most of the time)

  4. rhymingwithwine Reply

    We have a two year (less 4 days) gap between our two and I have been nodding along throughout reading your post. Love the TV quote (and absolutely agree with it!) Brilliant read. #justanotherlinky

  5. Robyn Reply

    Enjoyed this post and it’s so relevant to me as no. 1 is about to have his first birthday and I think it’s high time for a no. 2. You’ve addressed my biggest worries. Can we afford to? Maybe not, but we can’t afford NOT to because I’d always regret it (or at least regret not trying). Also will no. 1 feel neglected? I think he’ll feel LESS neglected. Sometimes I watch him playing alone and think he’d love a little sidekick. Glad to hear reassuring things from someone who’s come through unscathed! #justanotherlinky

  6. Talya (@motherhoodreal) Reply

    Even having read this I am still stuck on the fear! I don’t think my hormones have settled down 2 years plus on…better get that fixed first! x #JustAnotherLinky

  7. Julie S. Reply

    Such a great post! You’ve addressed many of my fears very well. Thanks pro mama 🙂

    1. MMT Reply

      Hmmmm never thought of myself as that… Mum muddling through remember?! It’s not been s bed of roses all the time, but 100% no regrets x

  8. ljdove23 Reply

    I worried about this a lot too with my second and yet it didn’t even cross my mind for the third, fourth….or fifth!!!! #justanotherlinky

    1. MMT Reply

      Wow! Now that is pro-parenting! Can’t imagine life with three let alone five!! X

  9. janeb Reply

    We also had a lot of ´doubts´about when and if for baby number two. In the end it worked out that it took me years to fall pregnant with number two anyway so the whole age gap question was sort of out of our hands! I´m currently pregnant with number two with a six year age gap and I´ve already decided to start trying for number three straight after his arrival…we´ll see how that works out! #picknmixFridays
    http://www.rockinmummysworld.wordpress.com

    1. MMT Reply

      Life seems to have its own plan sometimes doesn’t it? Certainly seemed that way to us when it came to having a family. Feel very blessed to have two gorgeous girls with us, even at 5am after the clocks went back x thanks for popping by x

  10. Mummy in Training (@mrskxxxx) Reply

    Something I needed to read today. We are considering having our 2nd, number 1 is just 3. There are so many what if’s but you’re right you just have to go for it. Great post. #PickNMix xx

    1. MMT Reply

      I’m definitely one to take huge leaps of faith! Have fun 🙂

  11. Silly Mummy Reply

    Good advice. Have only 15 months between mine (not deliberately), and it’s been completely manageable. Also two girls so useful for reusing stuff. & they’re really close so far – eldest adjusted so well and has loved little one from the start. #justanotherlinky

  12. mudpiefridays Reply

    Great advice for someone considering their options! 🙂 Thanks for the double buggy tip and the TV I will be book marking this 🙂 xx #justanotherlinky

    1. MMT Reply

      I think the bottom line is don’t worry…if you want it? go for it x x x

  13. acornishmum Reply

    There’s 19 months between my two and I love how close they are and into the same things 🙂 we keep getting tempted to have a 3rd but I think it’s too late my youngest is 10 in Feb I have a lot of freedom back now!
    Thanks for linking up to #Picknmix
    Stevie x

    1. MMT Reply

      I wonder how long it’ll take to actually accept the baby days are over?! Obviously , in a little while when our baby is no longer a baby! I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of the baby stuff, even though I’m 99.9% sure I’m done! X x x

  14. mummydaddymia Reply

    We are at the stage now that Mia is nearly 2 1/2 where we are thinking about whether we want another child in the next year. We are happy we are and can give her everything she needs and worried that we are compromising that if we have another baby. As well as me being worried about having a bad pregnancy and labour (it was ‘good’ the 1st time round) and worried about whether we would have another girl so we can use everything again, we would need to decide on whats the right age gap, not forgetting we would need to move house also! Such a tricky choice and your post is a great way to show we all go through the same emotions and question everything! 🙂

    #justanotherlinky

  15. wonderfulandaverage Reply

    Great list, and very timely for me at the moment! It’s good to read about it from someone who’s been there and done it. I worry that we wouldn’t have the right age gap or that little T would feel neglected, so it’s great to know other people worry about the same things. So sorry to read about your loss, that must have been absolutely devastating. Xx

    1. MMT Reply

      Thank you. Two years ago this week, as we ironically prepare to celebrate our daughters first birthday. A life lesson for sure. Sad times could be around any corner, so hold on to the good bits with both hands x x x

  16. athomewithruth Reply

    My second son was so completely different than my first. I don’t think this is something I considered would happen! Poor sleeper, skinny, early crawler, dummy sucker, into everything – far beyond the baby proofing we still had in place from son 1. He’s exhausting and if he had been my first, we would have stopped at one! Love them dearly and you’re right. The best gift to give your first born is a brother or sister (even if they spoil all their games, eat all their toys and wake them up in the middle of the night!) #justanotherlinky

    1. MMT Reply

      Sounds like you are talking about my two children!!! Thanks for dropping by. X x

  17. lifeasmum Reply

    This is a great post. I have two daughters aged 3 and 5 and it isn’t easy going but its all worth it. I want a third and get pregnant by this time next year, however my partner doenst – but may change his mind! we will see

    Thanks for linking up with #justanotherlinky

    1. MMT Reply

      I can’t imagine life with three kids! We plan to stop at two, unless life throws us its own plan…again! X

  18. Something Crunchy Mummy Reply

    Great post as all these questions went through my mind too. But the best thing I did. Thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky xx

  19. Jade Munro Reply

    I needed to read this. He wants #2 now, whereas I am umming & aaahing. Mainly over things like, there aren’t enough hours in the day to have two children (I know!), I’m just getting my life back on track, I hated my first pregnancy & labour, I really like Prosecco on a Friday (and Saturday night), our first still sleeps around 15/16 hours out of 24 (she’s 19 months!) and lastly, she is my absolute world, I can’t bare to think how I’d love anyone as much. Your post has made me realise that I am totally over thinking this!!! Gah! I think perhaps we may do as you say and go forth and multiply (once the mulled wine season is over) because the pro’s soooo outweigh my fears.
    Wonderful post, so honest and funny, as usual.
    Thank you muchly
    xx

    1. MMT Reply

      Thank you so much 🙂
      Obviously this post omitted the sleep deprivation issues, and a few of the less rose tinted glasses factors…BUT I would do it again in a heartbeat. Its much less lonely second time around, as you’ll have your first daughter to chat to all the way, which is pretty magical in itself. Plenty of time for prosecco when it’s all over. Appletiser in a wine glass was my best friend after three close consecutive pregnancies! X

  20. Kyles Reply

    This is such an excellent list. It’s true that so much of the worry is just in your head. We didn’t get a double buggy before number 2 was born but then a couple of months in I realised it would make my life much much easier. Our age gap was a bit less than yours though. Good thing is, you can always wait and see if you’ll need it. Things remain for sale and the world keeps on turning even after you give birth. Wonderful post. 🙂 #coolmumclub

  21. mrsmumnz Reply

    This post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I am right now, contemplating when to start trying for baby number two!
    Thanks for the reassurance. :o)

  22. Mama Reply

    Haha, this is the first positive second pregnancy post I think I’ve read lol. You’ve almost got me convinced….but then I remember the sleep deprivation. Maybe next year, lol.
    Thanks for hosting #coolmumsclub x

  23. Louise Reply

    This is a brilliant list and one which I wish I’d read before my second one arrived as I remember having all of those concerns. It is true that you just adapt to juggling the needs of two (I do find myself reminding the children that “Mummy only has one pair of hands” several times a day though!) and that there are many things you are more relaxed about second time around. I used to be so good at limiting screen time when I just had the one but the TV has saved my sanity on many occasions since my second one arrived! The focus on the 20 week scan being all about finding out the gender frustrates me hugely – it is not a gender scan, it is an anomaly scan and checking to see whether everything is fine with baby’s development is so much more important. Receiving devastating news at that scan makes you realise how lucky you are when you have a healthy baby of either gender. So glad that your two girls are so close and sorry for the loss of your little angel too xx

  24. butterflymum83 Reply

    This is such a lovely, reassuring post for me as I’m currently considering trying for a second child. It’s complicated a little for me as suffered PND first time around so fear of a relapse is a factor. However, much of that fear is linked to irrational worries that I won’t cope with two which I know in reality isn’t true and your post has further helped to reassure me 🙂

    #coolmumclub

  25. bloodsugarecmomagik Reply

    I love this! I have a 16 month old and a 2 month old! I did all the worrying with the second pregnancy, especially after having a so many health issues with Penelope (ECMO, CHI and BWS, are the tip of the iceberg, I’m an acronym queen!). But, like you said, no two pregnancies are the same 🙂
    Penelope loves being a big sister and is always ready to help out.
    I had to go for the tandem pram as the age gap is quite small, but the sling IS gold dust 🙂

    Lovely post, enjoyed reading 🙂

    #coolmumclub xxx

  26. agentspitback Reply

    What a great well written post! Very well thought out and honest! Yes, I love Disney too. But at the end of the day, there is never the right time but it will be! A cliche but so true. The biggest fear for me was would I be able to love my #2 as much as my #1 and the minute I saw #2, I fell in love and my love grew, not divided. Thanks for hosting #coolsmumclub

  27. nightwisprav3n Reply

    I might write a post about what I felt when I found out I was pregnant with baby number 2 because I went through slightly different but also the same feelings. My boys are five years apart and that’s because my marriage was rocky from the beginning and at 3 years old, when we were actually thinking of adding another child, my oldest suspected of having Autism. It took another 6 months to get the official diagnosis but when we did decide to try for a girl, I was really worried about the second child having Autism but I was also worried about neglecting my first born. I had five wonderful years with him and we had such a close bond that sharing that with another child was really scary for me. I also worried that I wouldn’t love my second child as much as my first because unlike my first, I didn’t feel the bond while he was still in my womb. It happened the moment he was born but I still struggled with certain emotions. My second son eats way more than my first so it is actually more expensive for me with food now but it’s worth the struggle. I was also worried about the age gap but my boys are really close considering my oldest has Autism. My younger boy actually brings my older boy out of his shell and helps him to socialize more. My younger boy has been a true blessing for me and for his big brother so having another child is a great thing. It may be scary at first but you’ll reap the rewards! and yeah, everyone obsessed over me having a girl but I had a boy and I love him more than anything. visiting from your linky #coolmumclub

  28. Nadia - ScandiMummy Reply

    Thank you for this post (and for hosting #coolmumclub) We are yet to face even thinking about a second, though we would both like another (at some point). You have covered a lot of my worries, thought, fears here and it’s great to hear a first hand experience 🙂 Fab post!

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

  29. min1980 Reply

    Aww this makes me want a second one. Very unlikely to happen at this point though, for a whole host of reasons. Oh well!

  30. Mrs Lighty Reply

    Ah I seem to worry about these things every day, and I’m still unconvinced about having a second!! I need to remember this post! Thank you for hosting the #coolmumclub 🙂

  31. Robyn Reply

    Certainly a topic we all have an opinion on! I’m looking forward to having no. 2 as close to no. 1 as possible. If we ever want to stop living week to week, I need to get done having babies and get back to work! Loving being off with my lovely boy though! I don’t have too many fears, we managed to take the first one in our stride (most days) & I’m sure we can do it again. Great list & very reassuring! #coolmumclub

  32. This Mum's Life Reply

    Fabulous, well written post! You are right, there is not a perfect gap, for anybody!! My sister in law had a 7 year gap, which I just couldn’t understand at the time. But it was so ridiculous of me to even give the age gap they chose a second thought, because she has since given me a very practical and sensible list of why they wanted that gap, plus it was none of my business, it was right for HER! I’ve got 14 months between mine, which was crazy, and hard, but I was firmly in the ‘get it all out of the way’ camp, as you highlighted! Plus I wanted them to be the best of friends, and so far they blimmin despise each other! So for the time being, that’s backfired!
    #coolmumclub

  33. […] favourite post from last week was Having a second baby: The fear vs. the reality. I love this post. ... raheladrusko.com/blog/welcome-to-the-coolmumclub-linky-week-5
  34. Notmyyearoff Reply

    Fab post!! Our E is now 4 months and i was nodding along to all of this, it really is so different the second time and, as parents, we are so much calmer too. Of course there are days when I still pull my hair out but thankfully they are a lot less than the first time round!

  35. Angela Watling Reply

    My OH is really unsure about a second because he can’t see how we’d cope, but I can’t imagine at least not trying to give our daughter a sibling – I can’t imagine live without mine even when she’s driving me crazy!

    I’m not ready for number 2 yet, but keeping this to hand for when we have the discussion again. Great post! #CoolMumClub

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