I was fooled into thinking having a second child was going to be a breeze.
“You’ve done it before so you’ll be a pro!”
“It’s like riding a bike.”
“The birth is so much quicker and easier.”
“With two kids they basically look after each other.”
These were a small portion of the kind comments I received from friends, colleagues and pensioners at Morrisons wanting a rub of my bump.
Whilst it was lovely to think of the positives of having another child, these people were simply talking out of their backsides.
So if like me, you prefer a bit of honesty to get yourself truly prepared for the arrival of your second child, read on…
What you can really expect is:
The hardest pregnancy in the universe
Whilst a first pregnancy is new and shiny, the second pregnancy can make you feel like the unwanted battered balding dog at the animal shelter. It seems exciting at first, everyone oohs and awws, then rather quickly it becomes old news. You’re not even sure if you are all that excited yourself! All those milestones you anticipated and cooed over with your first now get lost in the extreme exhaustion of looking after a small continuously moving child; so rather than researching what fruit size your growing baby is you’d rather use your phone as a YouTube babysitter so you can shut eye for 10 minutes.
A birth that is as painful as the first
The only truth I found from the array of motivational comments above was that birth second time around was quicker. Yet what it takes away in time it makes up for in torturous agony. Contractions are harder and quicker than you ever remembered, in fact at one point I don’t even think mine had a break. My second birth was literally a 3 hour long contraction which continued on after the baby popped out! (Frigging afer pains… HAVE WE NOT BEEN TROUGH ENOUGH!)
Grieving for your first child
I didnt expected to feel grief when I had a second child. Although I didn’t physically lose a child I felt like I had emotionally. For three years my first had been the centre of my world. My thoughts centred around her, I was the one she played with, I dressed her, I cuddled her, each day I spent predominately all of my time with her. When baby number two came (for the first few months at least) I found that I had to give up more than half of our day together. Daddy became her chief play mate, nan got to be the gate keeper to her secrets and aunties and uncles became her adventure leaders. Not being her number one hurt my heart so much I would sneak into her room at night just to get some of the cuddles I hadn’t been able to in the day. So although I hadn’t lost her (or her love) I lost my time with her which made me cry more than my newborn did.
Baby number two seemed to bring out Vlad the Impaler in my first child. I expected my first to fall desperately in love with her new sibling, not push him under the bed whilst I quickly left the room using the excuse “I was just putting him away for later so I can have mummy today.” The more attention baby number two took the more attitude and aggression baby number one give. My vision of children keeping each other company looked more like an episode of Orange is the New Black where we had to keep continuous tabs on the eldest in case she tried to stamp on the baby’s head for the third time in a day.
Feeling like it was too much
I worried about this one the entire way through my pregnancy, but what I didnt expect was to be up at 3 in the morning searching for nannies (which I could never afford) hoping Mary Poppins would magically appear at my door becuase I sure as hell didnt know how I would manage the day with two kids without her! I wasnt the only one, after a chat with a old friend we both realised not only had we both panicked and leaked out of our eyeballs over the ‘handling two kids’ predicament, but both our husbands had too.
And the biggest lesson…
Shockingly the biggest suprise of having two kids was realising (just yesterday) that although it felt like I couldnt handle the responsibility of two without one being seriously harmed, I was doing a pretty good job of it without noticing.
Fortunatly for us parents we seem to develop a ‘just do’ auto efficiency when we have kids. You may wake up dreading the day thinking you cant handle it but yet you’ll wash and dress everyone with visions one will drown while you tend to the other. You’ll make multiple meals whilst worring you wont be able to multitask cooking with caring. You’ll play with both yet think you are leaving one out; and at the end of the day battered and exhausted you’ll get into bed with two babies not only tucked up in bed but still alive and just then realise that through all the worry… you ‘just did it!’
That is probably the most realistic advice I could give to all you second time parents… You’ll just do it!
And maybe weeks, months or a few years down the line you will have ‘just done’ it so much you’ll not even a remember a time before you had multiple kids buzzing around your feet – or even care – because life without their constant nagging, bickering and fighting for attention just wouldnt be worth it.