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January 07, 2013

I'm Having a Baby: Fears Going from 1 Kid to 2

Today, I want to introduce you to Melissa. A mom and remote-employee of Care.com, Melissa lives in New Hampshire and works as a teacher and coach as well as a content marketer for Care.com. Now, she has big news: She is pregnant with her second baby. And of course, that brings up a lot of questions. I’m sure many of you will relate!

Blog-another-babyAs soon as I saw that second line on the pregnancy test, I almost passed out.

I called my husband into the bathroom to check. "Look at the instructions again," I insisted. "Is that right? Does this mean what I think it means?"

My husband couldn’t be bothered with that – he was too happy. He just wanted a high five (we’re both athletes, we high-five a lot!). But my head was spinning. I couldn’t believe I was pregnant again. It took us a long time for us to conceive our first, who is now just over 21 months, and I thought for sure it would take us at least that long to get another, which meant more time to get used to the idea of not just another pregnancy, but another entire life under our already-squeezed-for-space roof.

There was so much to think about.

Was I ready for the morning sickness? Ready to give up my weekends playing ice hockey and skiing? Ready to say goodbye to my cute skinny jeans I had just gotten back into? Ready to afford childcare for two? (That one I already knew the answer to: Nope.) Where on earth were we going to put the new kid? And didn’t we all enjoy sleeping through the night???

But here’s my deepest, darkest fear: What if this one is harder than my first?

For someone who doesn’t deal well with change, I am really thrown by the ideas of pregnancy and family expansion. As the weeks slide by, I’ve had a lot of time to analyze and overthink all the ways in which my life is going to change. Some days I panic, and some days I’m way too excited to care. My child is going to have a sibling close to his age – something I never had, something some say is the greatest gift you can give your child. There’ll be twice the fun, twice the giggling and snuggles, and twice the daycare bill (yikes), twice the diapers, and twice the mess. But! I get to go shopping for a nifty double stroller, spend hours on Pinterest figuring out the best way to transform a closet into a nursery, and I get to wear elastic waistband pants to work and no one can say boo about it.

I am really hoping that what many people are telling me is true: going from 0 to 1 kid is way harder than going from 1 to 2. Many people attribute this to the fact that in going from 0 to 1, everything is earth-shattering to the world you previously knew before your child arrived. So I’m trying to think of having a second child this way: having #1 might be compared to a complete demolition of an old house, where everything you knew or was familiar was just gone, but having #2 might be like a remodel of your kitchen, or building a nice deck off your living room. Maybe everything about your world will just be a little different, a little better.

So tell me, what tips do you have for going from 1 to 2 kids? How do you make it work?


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Comments

Shawn Malloy

Having #2 was difficult because of the special bond I had with my son. From birth, #1 was heart-wrenching. He was almost premature, but came with a load of medical problems regardless, including a genetic disorder which thankfully is nearly symptom free. But, those early and enduring symptoms and experiences and hospital visits bred a deep bond between me and my son. So when our daughter was born, I devoted extra time into my son to make sure he didn't feel he was being replaced or downgraded. It worked, because he loves his sister to pieces - always hugging and cuddling her, always wants her in his bed when they wake up....

The tough part was bonding with my daughter. It really started to bother me around 6 months, when we really didn't seem to have a father-daughter bond. And certainly not to the level I had with my son. On top of that, I almost felt like she was intruding on my father-son time. So guilt started to enter the picture as well. Fast forward to 8 months, and the bond has really begun, and it keeps getting stronger. My son does not seem to be jealous (other than when she takes his matchbox cars : ). So, as with most parenting worries, the fear of not bonding with my #2 (otherwise known as my daughter) were not grounded in anything other than guilt and anxiety. The bond happened.

My main point is that it really shouldn't bother you if you do not bond immediately to # 2. Take the time to do what you feel is right in the long run, and all will turn out fine. For me it was really important that my son be very comfortable with my daughter, so I devoted extra time to him early on to ensure there was no jealousy or resentment. It was at a minor expense to my bonding with my daughter, which in reality was only a delayed bonding. What I hope will be the long term result is that they have a lasting bond, because I agree with what you said about a sibling being the best gift you can give to your child. Long after my wife and I are gone, they will always have each other. I wanted to be sure that they started off on the right foot with each other, even if not with me.

Thanks,
Shawn

Tricia Daugherty

Going from 1 to 2 , is easy when it comes to knowing what you are doing, but when it comes having enough time to care for both, that's when it gets a little hairy. Everything from going shopping to doing chores is a challenge with two. For me my second was born when the first was 24 months, and he was not happy about giving so much mommy time up. I cried before I went to the hospital to deliver the second because I knew how much change was getting ready to happen the first. They are 6, and 4 now. I will tell you it is the greatest gift you can give your child they are best buddies, not that I don't have to break up a few fights but they learn so much from each other. The first 2 months is your biggest adjustment. Try to have alone time with the first during those first months. Ask for all the help you can get!

Ann

I only have one so far, but I've actually heard much different advice from my friends with two kids. They tell us that, "Having one kid is like having one kid. Having two kids is like having 20."

Melissa

Take it one day at a time. I don't know how old your oldest is. Ours was 3 when we added our daughter. If the house doesn't get clean for a week it will be ok. Also try to remember the oldest. On the weekend I would try to spend sometime with our oldest to let him know he was just as loved. We would go for a walk or to the library. Close enough to the house incase I needed to get back to nurse. If you can try to put them both down for a nap at the sametime so you can rest too. I won't say it's easy because its not. Added a third though you'll be a pro. Good luck!

kristen

Our 2nd was just born a year ago and I was afraid of all the things you are. Excited beyond belief, we'd been trying, but still nervous about the changes. Would I have enough patience for 2 or would I feel overwhelmed? What I learned is that our 1st was high maintenance. We'd had no idea!!!! We thought she was just a regular baby/kid but once the 2nd came and the 2nd was SOOOOOOOOOOO easy we were shocked! We had no idea parenting could be that easy. What a relief. It's because of 2's easy personality that I've been able to keep my patience and cool. (Oh & #1 starting preschool a few months ago didn't hurt either.)

I agree that going from 0-1 was way harder than going from 1-2. I do miss sleeping 8 hours at a stretch but that only lasts a little while. The way my kids play with each other and adore each other and knowing that they'll always have each other long after my husband and I are gone is so comforting. My family now feels complete :) Congratulations!!!!

Momof2

Well, I just went from 1 to 2 about 10 months ago...going on 11. A friend told us "one is too few and two is like 10,000" and that has rung true for us. First, let me say we had a hard time having both kids, and I would do it again in a heartbeat, but things are different... On the practical side, the finances to make 2 work is just expensive (we use both daycare and in home care)...and since #2's arrival we just haven't been able to save the way we have in the past... and we've gone from 2-on-1 defense to man-to-man, which means it is tough to get little breaks and you are more on your own b/c your mate has the other. As much as you adore / cherish and love your children equally, it is painful to see sibling rivalry in the older one (you can't avoid it...you just can't), and since they are young they have a hard time expressing their feelings and it often comes out as "I wish #2 wasn't born." But, if that's the worst, then it still isn't that bad. What #2 does give you is lots of love, cuddles, and makes you realize that time is moving at warp speed. Number 2 also makes you see that the exact same process can have completely different results. I cannot believe my #2 is already 10 months and I feel like I haven't slowed down to enjoy his youth, although looking at all the pictures it sure seems like we have! Having a second is tough but a wonderful experience. It does require more time management and probably a good housekeeper...I would have a third, but it might kill us :).

Caroline

I have 2 wonderful little boys. They are 17mths apart and I couldnt imagin it any other way. Is it easy? Well Im not going to lie some days are better than others. I think both being the same sex is harder then having a boy and a girl that are close. One tip is while they are young steer 1 towards maybe trains and the other cars, one towards the color blue and one red. It has helped since they have gotten older (they are 7 and almost 6 now). Dont be suprised after the second one is born that the bond isnt there as quickly as the first. With my 2nd I didnt have that undieing love for him til he was about 7 mths old. Wasnt that he was a difficult baby, actually he was very easy it just wasnt there. With my first I couldnt stop looking at him when he was in my arms, my second I found it easy to lay him down in the playpen or swing when he slept. But when that bond kicks in your heart sweels 2 more sizes. They are the twice the fun and you get to try not to make the same mistakes that you did with the first. You will though and there are a whole new set of mistakes to make. Children show you what life is really all about. They are a challange and they keep me on my toes! As they get older I have to keep reminding myself my youngest is not my oldest and give him time to get where my oldest is. I get asked all the time if they are twins, was even asked this time last year if they were identical twins. When they were babies my oldest was at the age of exploration and really getting into his toys. This helped because it allowed me to spend the time with the new baby. Its a juggling act but you will figure it out. It comes naturally. As far as the expense dont worry you do get the sibling discounts (it helps a little) and you will find a way. You always do even when it seems impossible. Diapers and formula and all that good stuff, really look into the sams,BJ's, Coscoe club stores. SO MUCH CHEEPER and they carry name brands. I got my diapers, whips, formula, shampoos, ect. Good luck and remember that its twice the fun!

kate

I'm wondering how you get to spend your weekends playing hockey and skiing when you have a toddler. :-) I spend my Friday nights at one kid's basketball game and Saturday mornings at the other kid's basketball game. And Winter is the slow sports season. My 2 boys are 2.5 years apart. It's alot harder having 2, especially in the 1st few months. Later, it's fun - mine are 5 and 7 now. We do try to have one-on-one time with them when we can.

Lauren Kinker

For us, going from 1 to 2, felt like going from 1 to 500. We had a false sense of confidence, telling ourselves things like, "We totally got this, we've changed diapers before, I don't remember it being that hard, etc..." Boy, were we ever wrong. Mind you, #1 was 2 1/2 when #2 was born and not very independent, but that seems to be the case with a lot of families. Oh, 2 1/2 years apart is "perfect." Yea - maybe when they're 5 and 7, but right now, its hard to get 5 seconds to myself, not to mention both of us work full time and use the weekends to catch up on laundry and cleaning house.
On the other hand, I still want more kids. I think giving our kids a big family to grow up in makes them better, more well-rounded and adaptable human beings. I'm looking forward to big family dinners and my kids having siblings they can count on for the rest of their lives. I'm 4 months in to #2, and I started feeling this month like this is totally manageable, and not as overwhelmed as I was the first 2 month. Good luck - you're gonna do great!!

Storm

Mine are 19 months apart (23 months and 4 months) and girl-boy. It was completely nuts at first--worse than with #1, in my opinion. My daughter had some serious melt-downs and started a biting spree at daycare for the first 2 months. I wished I had 4 hands. However, things have improved significantly and my daughter LOVES her baby brother and showers him with kisses and hugs. My daughter is VERY busy and my son is currently pretty laid back. I didn't have the bonding issue that others speak of. My son has always looked at me like he is in love with me (I call him my boyfriend!) and it melts my heart. My daughter has become daddy's girl (which helps me a lot!), but still enjoys cuddling and one-on-one time with her Mama. It's crazy, but worth every minute! Advice? 1.) Get organized, 2.) station a swing, bouncy chair, or exersaucer at each point in your house where you might need two hands (kitchen, bathroom, living room), and 3.) let #1 help you with baby as much as he/she can. Mostly, though, you'll just have to swing at the balls as they're pitched!

k

I just found out that we are going to go from 1 to 3! I am freaking out. I am so excited, but really scared at the same time. Our son is 19 months and will be a little over two when the twins arrive (assuming all goes well). I think it will be great in a few years, but right now I'm in a full-on panic (even though I wanted this). We both work full-time too and being outnumbered is frightening.

3 under 3 ...

It was a Friday night, all was quiet, we had just finished putting our toddler twins (18 month old) to sleep and I (for once) that day, had some extra time to randomly think about Me. As I was washing up, and preparing to hit the hay, I thought to myself, gee, shouldn't I be getting my monthly visit by now. It wasn't a big deal that I was late because I hardly ever was regular (my cycle is about 40-43 days) and the very thought of being pregnant was a joke -- because we had such a rough time conceiving our twins. In fact, our doctors had told us, that the likely hood of us ever becoming pregnant was slim to none. Whoo-hoo -- I thought -- I would never need to go on the dreaded pill. So, while I was in the bathroom, I decided that I had enough energy left in me to clean out our large bathroom closet and make sense of our clutter. And there, where I stumbled across our fertility box of ovulation sticks and pregnancy tests. Oh what the heck, I thought, laughing it off, they probably are all expired anyhow. So, right then and there, I began peeing on everything from a happy face, to 2 lines, to digital tests and every test in between. Sure enough, as colors and images began to appear, images that I had never ever seen before, surfaced one after another, I thought I was going to die. I immediately called my husband in, frantic, asking him if these 2 lines are really 2 lines, or if one is faded and one is the control bar. If a happy face was an indicator of being pregnant, or thankful that your not pregnant; if the digital test that clearly states pregnant, was broken, or just stuck. My husband looked at me in disbelief and extremely proudly, and said, screw science baby; we did it ourselves!
Having 3 under 3 was a major adjustment. I always prided myself on being ultra organized w our twins, and before I went in, to deliver our 3rd child, I was stricken with panic. How will we do this, I thought. My husband said to me, look -- we both live away from our families, and while they do visit, we managed this far, we will manage again. So now, the more organized I am, the easier things are. While no system is truly perfect, so long as I am always 3 steps ahead (dinner, activities, back up toys, plans for the next day, introducing new foods, new ways to be creative for our kids...) our days run smoother, and the children all manage better. Also, my moto to save my sanity, is and hopefully will always be, "this is just a stage, and they will grow out of it" ... hopefully! Our twins are now 28 months, and our baby is 7 months, crawling, drooling and admiring his older brother and sister. It's a wonderfully busy and amazing life.

Shannon

I am a bit farther along than most of you here and my situation is different. However having had not the greatest experience my advice is to look down the road aways. This next part is easy. Having babies and toddlers is much simpler compared with older children. I have one son 12 and my husband has two daughters, 10 & 12 and we have been together since the kids were very small. My experience is that one kid is very different than two (or three). Life is much quieter with one child and you can give him lots of attention and have more time and money for you and your husband. Its just frankly more peaceful. However, many things are easier the second time because you have already adapted to life with kids. Things were relatively easy for us when the kids were little, however it changed drastically as the girls aged. There were probably signs that we failed to see. They became very demanding and competitive with each other. They fought constantly. To the point where their fighting controlled the emotional balance of the household. They triangulated us as parents and it damaged our relationship. There is a post above where a man talks of making sure his older child made the transition to sharing life with a sibling. In my view, that is a critical step and one that probably got overlooked in my situation, it happened before I arrived on the scene. I will also state quite plainly that parents do not always bond or feel the same about all their children. Sometimes a child's personality dovetails more with one parent, or one child is more difficult, or has vulnerabilities that make a parent naturally protect or compensate. I advise you to be very very careful about creating equity in your family between the children even if secretly, you are closer to one child. Because if you aren't, war happens. My husband favors one girl because she is more like him and I think the other two sensed it even though they could never articulate it. Here is my advice, take the gentleman's advice above and find out how to transition the older child to a sibling. Think about where you want to be in five years or ten. Create equity between children in everything you can. Stay on the same page with your husband. Find good parenting resources, like Love & Logic (an excellent program). Here is another very important thing: Review with your husband how you were raised and how he was raised. How children were disciplined, what they were allowed to do and not do, how food was handled etc. As the kids get older and you begin navigating conflict and behaviors, the way you were parented will emerge in what you tolerate, expect and how you handle it. If you and your husband were raised very differently, its best to know what those differences are and have a plan. You are lucky you are just starting, and smart enough to ask questions now and ponder the experience of others. Talk to people with children older than yours. I swear this next part with two babies will be nothing compared to 10 years from now. Good luck.

Mandy

Scared!
That’s how I felt when I read the pregnancy test. It was telling me “move over life as you know it, you’re having #2”. My eight year old had been my whole world this whole time. Not only was I unsure I would have the room in my heart, but clearly we don’t have the room in our 2 bedroom apartment. What were my husband and I thinking!? Well, he was thinking “How much room can a baby take? We don’t need to move.” Ha!

Then there’s the shopping spree I just went on. Good-bye size 2! Good-bye shopping on a whim, bikini’s, time and traveling! I know this sounds very negative, but I was really scared. It had been so long since I had to think about all the things that went along with having an infant.

The pregnancy itself was harder than the first! She was so active, I found myself being tired all the time. Then something miraculous happened …delivery day (which turned out to be WAY easier than the 1st time and this pregnancy). This new baby came into my life and I absolutely had room for her! I love her and have the same hopes and wants for her as I do my wonderful 1st daughter!

In the end, everything has fallen into place. We’ve since moved into a larger home where the girls have their own bedrooms and a playroom. Thank you, husband! Our lives have really adjusted accordingly …seamlessly …just as life always seems to do.

The girls are now 10 and almost 2, and life as we now know it is wonderful. We are now a happy family of four and that’s just the way it is.

Gayle

No doubt about it, having 2 is a challenge. In my experience, it's been challenging in different ways that would probably fill up entire pages of comments. I have 3-year-old and a 1.5-year-old daughters and I feel like our family is finally getting into a groove (at least until we encounter the next speed bump).

This is what I wish someone had told me about having a second child:

DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP. You're going to have tough days and then tougher ones (good days too). You're going to say and do things you wish you hadn't said or done. Just remember you are a mom, wife, employee, friend, sister(?), daughter, etc. Parents play so many roles and for some reason we think we need to perform them all flawlessly all the time. So when you're having one of those days that makes you want to cry and makes you wonder who the hell you are . . . give yourself permission to feel everything you're feeling and know in your heart that you're doing the very best you can at that moment.

You're in for a wildly rewarding ride. Best to you and your family!

Mom of 4

Just wait until you have to go to a ZONE defense.
When I have 2 kids I feel like I can accomplish so much more compared to when I have all 4. I found the transition from 1-2 hard. You are used to giving # 1 all if your attention and then you are not giving them even half as much at least not in the beginning. Hopefully you have a hands on hubby who helps out... Because that will allow you spend quality time with both. All if my kids except #4 are 18 months apart.

Michelle

I won't lie, it's hard. Both of my daughters were carefully planned but if I had to do it over, I would put 3 years between the two of them, instead of just 24 months.

And I'm in the minority on this one --- I think taking care of one, esp as a first time mom, is much easier than when there's two of them. Hands down.

Caroline

I've loved all your stories and advice. I can't quite relate YET...I have a 5 year old and a 46 year old quadiplegic husband who I take care of full time. My little guy was 5 months old when the car accident happened. Having a second child would make my world complete..it's just a bit more complicated than the first time around. :)

Erica

Honestly, hearing other people's stories is not all that helpful. Every child is different, just as every pregnancy is different. For me, my first was tough, but entirely manageable. My house would still get clean, I could still shower, and my husband and I could still make time for ourselves. Our second was a surprise, and he is completely different from our eldest. The pregnancy was harder and daily life became harder, because my baby is more difficult than his older brother was. At the end of the day when I collapse from exhaustion of caring for two boys after a long day of work, I am still happy I had another. I am hyper aware of how much attention I pay to my oldest, and so far he seems thrilled to be a big brother and always wants to help out. I also like to draw his attention to how the baby looks at him and smiles when he sees him, so he really begins to feel a connection to his little brother. I also encourage him to talk or sing to his little brother, letting him know how much the baby loves it.
I think the fact that my eldest is 3 and in a diffult stage (like a teenager without all the hormones) makes the whole thing a bit more challenging as well. One thing is for sure, having two kids does not mean twice the work... it is more like 4 times. Again, this is all my opinion/experience.

Sandra Rivera

Going from 0 to 1 is the hardest because you have no clue what you're getting into. 1 to 2 is a breeze, and 2 to 3 is simple. I knew our family wouldn't feel complete until we had 4 and that's where I lost control of my routine, clean house, and sleep. I would definitely still have 4 but for some reason I was still always able to get things done up until I had the 4th. Mine are all close in age (7yrs., 6yrs., 4 yrs., and 2 yrs.) It seems to be getting easier now that they are getting older and playing with each other and staying busy. Good luck and have fun!

Chrissy

Going from 1 to 2 was much harder for me in an entirely different way than going from 0 to 1 was. Of course, mine are only 14 months apart, so that certainly didn't help. It took us a long time to have our first so we thought the same would happen with a second and thus weren't as careful as we should have been.

The first time around you feel clueless about everything, but everyone expects you to be, so there is much more support. The second time, everyone thinks you should already know what you are doing, but no one talks about the hardest part of having 2, finding time for each child AND yourself. There is a lot of what I have come to know as "mom guilt". The terrible feeling that my son doesn't get the attention her deserves as a toddler and that my newborn daughter spends too much time in her swing.

But I am hopeful that as they grow up they will be as good of friends as everyone tells me they will be because they are so close. And with enough help from friends and care.com, perhaps I will be able to alleviate a little of the guilt and find some time to take a shower :-)

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