things I wish I'd known before I had a second child: pregnant woman's belly

What do you wish you’d known before you had your second child? Some second-time parents worry they won’t be able to love their second child as much as they do their first while others wonder how they’ll cope with more than one and almost all parents wish they knew how to prepare their first-born child for a sibling. These women share the things they wish someone had told them sooner.

There’s enough love

I wish I’d known that there really was enough love to go around. When I was pregnant, I couldn’t imagine loving another child as much as I did my first born but, when my second arrived, it was like my heart doubled in size overnight.

Effortless multitasking

Can’t imagine rocking a newborn to sleep in a bouncy chair (using your foot!) while playing Barbies with a three year old? Guess what mama, you’ll do it – and you’ll make it look effortless!

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It’s an adjustment for everyone

My main concern was how my daughter would react when we brought her new sibling home from the hospital. She already began showing signs of regression when I was pregnant; wanting to drink from a bottle again, talking like a baby and needing to sleep in my bed. I did everything I could to prepare her for how our lives would change but, actually, it was an adjustment that we all (my husband and myself included) just had to muddle our way through. There is no way to prepare for the unknown.

You’ll manage… somehow

Being a parent to a toddler is an all-consuming task. When I was pregnant for the second time I didn’t think I’d be able to cope – physically – with the demands of having two kids. How do you bath two kids at once, get both of them into their car seats or navigate the grocery shopping when you have to push a trolley and carry/keep an eye on both of them? I had sleepless nights worrying about how I’d manage but, somehow, you just do.

They’re all different

People told me this a million times but I didn’t believe them until I had my second: every child is different and the way you parents them will be, too. After having what the paediatrician called a “high needs” baby the first time, I was shocked when my second child was completely chilled. I still can’t believe that two kids with the same parents can have such completely different temperaments.

Don’t feel bad

When I found out I was pregnant, I cried. We desperately wanted another child but I was overcome with guilt. I felt so sorry for my daughter. I felt like she was losing me because now she’d have to share me with someone else. At the very least, she was going to have to share her spot as my number one priority. But once our new baby arrived and we’d all gotten over the initial shock of it, I realised that my first-born was gaining more than she was losing when she became a big sister.

things i wish id known before i had my second child: pregnant woman with a toddler holding her stomach

Blah, blah, blah

All that unsolicited parenting advice people threw at you when you had your first child? They’ll do it again – but this time you won’t care, and won’t feel obliged to listen to it. You actually (well, kinda) know what you’re doing. After all, you already have a perfect tiny human as proof that you’ve got this!

Watch out!

You’ll see your first born in a different way. My daughter seemed so grown up and independent when I had my son, but I started to see her as a potential danger, too. While she meant well, I had to be more vigilant than ever to make sure that she wasn’t “sharing” by forcing apple slices into her new sibling’s mouth, or trying to wrap her up in a blanket to keep warm.

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It might be easier

Obviously I knew it would be harder to have two kids than to have one (there’s a reason they say that, when it comes to kids, one plus one equals FOUR) but it was also easier in some ways. My four year old could help me by fetching bibs, bottles and nappies when I asked and, as they’ve gotten older, he entertains his little sister for hours on end, which makes my job so much easier.

The new you 

All those non-negotiables you had with your first child will somehow seem a lot less important when you have two kids. I was no longer prepared to argue with two kids over why they can’t wear superhero costumes to playschool. You’ll be a softer, more tolerant parent with your second child.

Plan ahead

I wish someone had told me to transition my child out of his cot and into a bed months before his sibling was due to arrive. We left it a bit late and he still saw the cot as “his bed” when the baby arrived and it caused a lot of jealousy.

Been there, survived that

You know how people say, ‘second time’s a charm?’ Well, when it comes to having kids, that’s true. I was a completely overwhelmed first-time mom who would overthink everything. With my second child I freaked out less. I was better prepared to handle the tricky moments like when my baby was sick or fussy. I’d “been there, survived that” so parenthood was a lot less scary the second time around.

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This again?

You’ll be a LOT less self conscious during the birthing process! Not only have you done this before but you’ve realised that the birthing team really have seen it all before!

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