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.
- 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’.
- 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?).
- 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.
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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…
- 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.
- 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! 🙂