My friend Liz wrote a post a few years ago when she was pregnant with her second boy (she’s now on her third!) about her fears around having a second baby and I remember tearing up while reading it at the time. The Everymom posted a similar article earlier this year. I’ve reread both posts recently since this topic has been on my own mind a lot lately and they resonated a whole lot more now that I’m on my way to becoming a mom of two.
What is getting me through my own fears is knowing that every phase of motherhood has a beginning, middle, and end. I’m trying to focus on the day when Amalia and her little brother can play together and I will be able to sleep through the night again, but I also know that it will take a while to get there and we’ll have some uphill battles in between.
Babies are no joke! I remember being scared of the unknown last time and this time it’s more like I’m scared of what I know is coming if that makes sense. Of course, in addition to the unknown of what it’s like to be a mom of two.
How will I love him as much as I love Amalia?
Like Liz, and like most moms out there, one of my biggest fears is not being able to love this little boy as much as I love Amalia. Logically, I know that every mother’s heart expands with her second child, but emotionally I just can’t imagine loving anyone the way I love her. My heart is filled with her, my life revolves around my tiny girl, and I’ve never felt love the way I feel for her.
One thing that helped is that I went to an outdoor baby shower recently and they had a psychic do quick readings for each attendee. She told me that this baby will be a mama’s boy and we will have an incredibly tight bond in a way that he won’t have with anyone else. That made me feel all warm and fuzzy!
I only wrote about this once and then never again since I received some terrible feedback on my post. But I talked about my postpartum anxiety/depression in detail on the Down to Birth podcast if you are interested in my story. The general gist of my story is that not only did I not bond with Amalia right away but I would get so anxious when I was alone with her that I could barely function as a human being, let alone a mother. Whenever I had to take her out of the house, I would spiral into a panic attack. Every time she would cry, I would cry myself.
And I was too afraid to tell anyone, even my husband, how I felt. I knew it was wrong but thought I was just a terrible person who would never be a good mother. I was so ashamed of my feelings that I held them in. I look back at that time now and want to just give that new mom a giant hug.
Eventually, I went to therapy and realized that I had a chemical imbalance and got on medication with talk therapy. I’m still on my SSRI and chose the specific one I’m on because it’s pregnancy and breastfeeding-safe. I plan to stay on it through the first year of the baby’s life so I’m hoping that helps with the anxiety. I also have therapy sessions lined up for after he’s born and plan to regularly attend those on Zoom to stay on top of my mental health.
Having a plan makes me feel better about this fear but knowing that the feelings I had before could come back still terrifies me.
Amalia’s reaction to the change
My daughter is sensitive… to say the least. She’s incredibly attached to me and right now, obviously, gets my undivided attention as an only child. She will be almost 4 when her brother arrives which is great because she’s so independent with things like going potty on her own and dressing herself, but she’s also gotten used to being our entire universe.
I don’t want her to feel like I don’t have time for her and babies obviously take up quite a lot of time!
Anel and I will do everything we can to make sure she gets alone time with us, but I know that she is going to have a strong reaction to this big change in our house and when she gets mad, she gets mad.
Anel leaves for work before 7 every morning and doesn’t get home until after bedtime a few nights/week. Right now, I’m on solo parent duty getting Amalia up, fed, and to school and then again for bath and bed on the nights when he isn’t home. She’s 3 now, so we have a good and pretty easy routine now (unless she’s in a mood) but I can’t imagine doing all of that alone while also taking care of the baby and having minimal sleep.
Again, logically I know every parent gets through it and I will too but I see two types of moms at daycare dropoff with their two kids: 1. The mom who has a baby’s car seat over her arm, sweating as she drags her older kid to school, dropping things along the way, and 2. The mom who makes it all look effortless. 100% I’ll be that first mom, lol!
All of these fears are normal and common according to my therapist and my mom friends of multiple kids. It helps to talk it through with all of them and hear how they got through their own fears. Change, in general, is scary, especially when you have a really good thing going as we do right now.
Every baby is different
My two pregnancies could not be more different which is a good reminder that every baby is also very different! Amalia was an incredibly easy baby, and we figured out what worked with her at each and every phase. But this kid will likely react to things very differently and I’m worried that I won’t know how to parent a different kind of child.
Also, I have no idea how to change a boy’s diaper so there’s that 🙂
I am so excited, though!
Despite all of these fears, my excitement far outweighs them. I cannot wait to hold my little boy in my arms, look into his eyes, and get to know him as a person. I can’t wait for him and Amalia to become buddies and form a lifelong relationship. I can’t wait for Anel to become a boy dad. And I can’t wait to be a family of four!
As an older sibling (of 3 years) myself, I don’t even remember a time without my sister in my life. Almost all of my favorite childhood memories involve her and I hope that is the case for my kiddos as well.
Photo by Julia Dags.