The thought of having a second child can make you feel a lot of things. Aside from being ecstatic with the idea of building a family, there's another side to all the not-so-good emotions: Feeling like you're gonna be a new mom again, the rising stress of reliving the painful moments of being pregnant, and the endless tornado thoughts of self-doubt.
“Will I be a good mom? Can I handle this gigantic responsibility? How can I establish a good sibling relationship between a newborn and a toddler? Am I ready to handle round-the-clock feedings, continuous crying, and sleep deprivation all over again? What if I don't love my first kid as much as I did after the newborn baby comes along? Is my bank account ready for baby number 2??”
Mama, don't let your what-ifs and worries take over. I'm here to tell you that your anxiety is NOT your reality. All those feelings are valid. You have to be gentle with yourself. It's easy to fall into self-doubt when you think about second pregnancy but the learning curve here is to figure out how to observe your emotions from a distance; not feel them until it consumes you like a big shadow standing over your shoulders.
If you're feeling overwhelmed regarding this topic, don't worry. I'm right by you're side! Read on common concerns from other mamas when it comes to a second child and find out what you can do about them.
Why I am here and who I am:
Hey mama, I am Trish— AKA Labor Nurse Mama. I am a labor and delivery nurse with over 15 years of high-risk OB experience. I am also a mama to 7 kids and have given birth to 6. This means I am quite familiar with the postpartum period and how to navigate it. I am the online birth class educator for Calm Labor Confident Birth and The VBAC Lab birth classes and the mama expert inside our Calm Mama Society, a pregnancy & postpartum membership community! I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey! You can find me over on IG teaching over 230k mamas daily. I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey!
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What if I am afraid to be pregnant again after birth Trauma?
Within the first year of having my first child, I couldn't help but wonder what it'd be like to raise dozens of mini-mes. Of course, it would be a little nursery ruckus but best of all, the joys of motherhood are something like no other.
Looking back, never did I imagine I would be raising a big happy family with 7 wonderful kids. I never would have thought I would be able to have the physical endurance to give birth more than once. Heck, there's no way I'll endure another 9 months of walking around with a big belly, all the while being grumpy and moody 24/7.
Or so I thought…
Just like you, I've had my own fair share of birth trauma. When I found out I was getting pregnant with my second child, I was overjoyed! Happy? Yes. Scared AF? DOUBLE YES!!
If you're one of the few brave souls who don't flinch at the thought of having a second kid, kudos to you! But if you were just like me who almost had a panic attack every time I went for a throwback on my mama dilemmas, then that's okay too.
For some pregnant women, their first birth experience was not at all easy-peasy whether it was via c-section or vaginal delivery: from having a difficult time, keeping track of piles of medication prescriptions, to the all-star postpartum depression.
Know that having fears of having a second child is completely valid especially if it symbolizes a significant chapter of your journey as a mom. In these cases, it's understandable for your birthing process horrors to resurface along with the “anxiety creep” that nobody really likes.
Now that pregnancy is no stranger to you and you're really considering this big change in your life, you have to do what's best for you. First of all, you need to build your mental strength so you can silence your worries and focus on making it through your second pregnancy without making the same mistakes twice.
By now, you should learn a very important lesson: talking to your health-care provider will do you wonders! Talk about your mental well-being, how you can prevent your first pregnancy fears, and prep a futureproof birth plan while you're at it. As they say, prevention is better than cure!
What will happen to my relationship with my first child?
Living life with your lovely baby boy (or girl) and getting used to the new mom life is a habit that's hard to break. Having another child in the family is a huge change for many reasons:
- Your family dynamic will change
- You're constantly worried about sibling rivalry and jealousy
- If left unmanaged, your worries might turn into irrational fears, preventing you to see the good side of having a second son/daughter
It's human nature to be scared of breaking their routine. Being used to having one child in the house is life-changing but getting another one? Now that's a game-changer. It's scary to think the strong bond you've always had with your older kid will be gone within a blink of an eye because there's a newborn in town.
I'm no scientist but I can assure you a mother's love can beat any scientific study. Remember: quality > quantity. Not being able to give 50-50 attention to your toddler and a newborn doesn't always mean you're not giving enough or you're giving too much attention.
It's about having one-on-one moments with mommy. It's a great practice to create a bond among you three but also maintain special moments for each child. At the end of the day, a mother's heart will always know her children best. It's not about the amount of time spent. As long as you practice gentle parenting and love your children the way they want and need to be loved, your bond will be stronger than ever.
What if I don’t love my second kid as much as I love my first?
It's every mama's fear to not be able to love their children equally, and that's okay. But, I'm a strong believer in a mother's love and I believe that your love for your children will go to great lengths; lengths that are greater than your biggest fears.
At this point, your childhood traumas might even arise and resonate with your kids. If you were the eldest and had to take on the responsibilities of looking after your baby brother or sister, you might project that experience onto your child and fear they might experience the same thing.
Or, you might have that self-doubt of being incapable to love another child aside from your first. How is it even possible to love someone you haven't met, let alone an unborn child — a stranger that you've come to know for 9 months.
As someone who's already on the other side, take it from me. A mother's heart has the ability to hold enough love for every child that will come her way; a love that's equally abundant, warm, and everlasting for every child.
How will I manage caring for a child and a newborn?
Wanna know a secret? In your little one's eyes, you will always be the star! Not daddy; daddy's just a supporting role! Mommy, on the other hand, is the main character. That means, your children will love you no matter what.
If in any moment, you feel you're not being a good mom, I want you to look at your children and see the happiness in their eyes. Now, tell me. If you weren't a good mom, would your children's eyes sparkle like that?
It's easy to be afraid of the future because that space has a firm grip on the unknown and the uncertainties that come with it. But, love conquers all. Right? I believe that when you do things with love, anything is possible. And that includes raising two children. With a loving heart, you can do a bajillion of things altogether. Breastfeeding your newborn while making your toddler snacks and checking if the dog's still in your backyard; that's all manageable.
With my long list of experience as an RN and a hands-on mom, I can attest that moms are built different. I know one mama friend who can work at home and handle the house just as fine. She would hop on WFH calls while putting the baby to sleep and checking her eldest son's (who's a diabetic) sugar level at the right times. ALL. THE. TIME.
It's not about the game, mama. It's about how you play the game. Maximize technology! Thank God for phones. I literally can't imagine a life without my phone. Download some apps for your daily to-do list, use a Google calendar for your personal errands and monthly appointments, and listen to podcasts for daily words of affirmations to start your day.
If you're the old-school type, keep post-its in the house. I personally have them everywhere: my bedside table, living room, dining table, and even in my purse. I'm the type who tends to forget a lot just because I'm always on the go. Believe me, running a business, maintaining the house expenses, managing teens, and keeping my alone time is a lot of work. Mostly fun!
Another tip I can give you is to use your fridge as a whiteboard. Lol! Funny but it works. Put your reminders for the hubby on it. Sometimes, you can do it for yourself too. If you have an alarm clock on your phone, you can use it to set a regular alert for baby stuff: nap times, feeding, anything that you might forget!
Lastly, get all the extra hand you can get. Consider getting trusted babysitters. Works like a charm! Call up the grandparents or your sister when you need someone to take the shift off of you. Dropping off your children to your parent's house every week not only helps you with the whole mama situation, it also creates that family bond between grandparents and grandchildren!
The Fear: What will I do with my older child when I actually give birth?
I'm no expert when it comes to the psychology of raising a child the right because, in all honesty, there are different ways to do it effectively.
What I do recommend is to put yourself in your first daughter/son's shoes. Ask yourself. What does it feel like when you've been used to getting all the love and attention from your parents? Suddenly, a new baby comes along.
How would that make you feel?
Threatened you might not get all the attention again? Scared you might not be their “baby” anymore?
The best thing to do is to prepare your eldest with becoming an older brother/sister which comes hand in hand with good communication and gentle parenting. For some lucky mamas, their elder child reacts with so much excitement and acceptance. For others, their eldest finds it hard to do so.
Nevertheless, both situations are completely fine. What matters most is you handle the situation in the best way you can. Comfort your eldest and reassure them that your love for them will never change. Introduce them to the responsibilities of an older sibling and tend to their needs. If you were able to establish good communication with your firstborn, it will help if they can tell you that they need some one-on-one time.
Sometimes, we get all caught up with caring for our newborn that we forget our firstborn needs TLC just as much! During these times, please be loving to yourself as well. Read these words: Your worth is never measured by what you could've done better as a mom. We all mistakes and that's part of being human. Don't be too caught up with giving the kind of love your kids deserve. Give the same kind of unconditional love to yourself too! 🙂
I am here for your second birth journey. if you're still unsure whether or not a second birth is aligned with your present, send me a message and let's talk about it!
If you're one of my mamas who has already undergone second birth, don't be shy! Share your experience with me, and let's help other mamas overcome their second child worries!