We recently celebrated my daughter’s 1st birthday.
Naturally, I have been experiencing a flood of emotions when reflecting on her first year of life. As a new mom, it was a rollercoaster of a year for both of us physically, mentally, and emotionally. For every low moment, there were double the amount of highs, solidifying the fact that motherhood is one of the most challenging and best things you can ever experience.
Recently though, I’ve noticed that every time my daughter smiles, laughs, or displays a new skill, I can’t help but think to myself that I want to have another baby. I love being a mom and tear up every time I scroll back to pictures and videos on my phone. Now that we are out of the fog of the newborn and infant phases, I feel like I could imagine doing it again for our second child. I’ve done it once already, so how hard could it be to do it a second time?
However, just as I start entertaining the idea of having another baby, fear and anxiety creep in, and I doubt my capabilities as a mother. Could I really do that first year all over again? Would I have the mental strength and physical endurance? Could I withstand being awake most of the night and then take care of a newborn and a toddler all day? Looking back, I shudder to remember the early stage of sleepless nights, round-the-clock feedings, and continuous crying.
But it has to be easier the second time around, right?
At 32 years old, I admittedly do feel the pressure of my biological clock ticking away. I’m not getting any younger, and I’d like for my children to be close in age. It’s also not exactly encouraging when they refer to pregnancies at 35 years and older as geriatric (argh). However, being pregnant and going through labor is not what causes my anxiety to spike; my fear is more around taking care of another tiny human in addition to the one I’m currently raising. As someone who doesn’t love surprises, it’s stressful for me to imagine bringing another child into this world when I don’t know what the future holds. Will the “terrible twos” phase rain upon me? Will my first have a lot of trouble adjusting to school? How will I manage all the future potential obstacles with my first when I have another baby to care for?
But like everything else in life, you can’t predict the future, and there’s no guidebook.
I think my biggest anxiety around welcoming another child into our family is knowing that it will impact the relationship I have with my daughter. My position as the oldest child undoubtedly impacts my thoughts and emotions regarding my daughter’s transition to having a potential sibling. As each day passes, our bond grows stronger and stronger. As a stay-at-home mom, most days it’s just the two of us playing, running errands and exploring. I know with a second child, my attention will be split and my daughter will need to share my time. I would never want our bond to be damaged nor for her to feel neglected.
With all these fears and anxieties swirling around in my head and the questions I get about when we plan to have our second child, I’m encouraged by the stories I read by mothers who have multiple children. Hearing from mothers with two, three, four, or even more children is extremely reassuring and encouraging.
I have always admired my own mother for how she so selflessly raised her four children and made us all feel equally important. So, I know it can be done. The question is always: can I do it?
I am thankful that I have such an amazing partner in my husband and that we are blessed to have such an amazing, healthy child. So for right now, I’m just going to continue enjoying this time with my one daughter.
I don’t know exactly when we will welcome a second child into our little family. But while the fear is still lingering, I am confident that when the time comes for our family to expand, I will be ready and confident with the knowledge that I have the strength to do it all again for my children.
I am strong. I am resilient. I am a mother.
Wondering what life with two kids is like?
Your second birth could be epically different from your first, even if it’s the same type of delivery.
But, don’t be surprised if your firstborn doesn’t fall in love with the new baby right away – it comes with time.