During my pregnancy I got a lot of people telling me what a second child had done to the dynamics of their family. Some gazed into the distance happily as they affirmed how a second baby was the most wonderful thing ever. Others splurted out shakily how a second child had turned their whole lives, and house, upside down and how nine years on they had still not dared contemplate a third. Most, however, reassured me that a second baby was not as hard or as scary as the first time. I carried that about like a beacon of hope, wishing for a good chilled out baby.
After about a month of parenting two little people, I’ve found…
The second baby is easier. It’s not like the first time where your entire life is transformed beyond recognition. You’re already in the parenting mindset and you’re not terrified that you’ll break the tiny new being that’s been handed to you by the midwife. Mostly.
The second baby is harder. You realise you now have to nurture and love not just one, but TWO human beings. How the heck are you going to balance them both and make sure both are loved equally. I may have panicked on about Day 2 of Baby E coming into the world worrying how on earth I would love him just as much as Little Z.
The second baby is easier. There is no grand delusions about them sleeping through as soon as you bring them back from the hospital. You laugh in the face (sort of) of those telling you about how their good baby is such a good sleeper (in your head) and prepare for a good few months of much needed naps whenever you can find them.
The second baby is harder. You know its highly likely your baby isn’t going to sleep through at 6 weeks. First time round I was convinced this was a universal baby truth and it came as a bit of a shock after about 3 months when it dawned on me that this could go on quite a while. You know it could go on past a year. I’m not sure anyone gets used to sleep deprivation, ever!
The second baby is easier. You don’t feel the need to dial the out of hours doctors every other week from fear of being sure there is something wrong with them. You also don’t look a frazzled state on a semi permanent basis. You know its probably just trapped wind and employ your expert burp the baby methods.
The second baby is harder. You no longer wish the days away impatiently waiting for their first smile, first roll over, first anything. You know the days are far too short and fleeting. These baby days will be over before you know it, probably for the last time. You cherish them. Mostly. There are still days you wait for the husband to come home from work, that bit doesn’t change.
The second baby is easier. You still have a tonne of stuff from your first baby so its slightly easier on your bank account. You still have to buy things but its nowhere near the hit of the first time where you’re tempted to add an extension to your house just to have somewhere to put it all.
The second baby is harder. You’re still tempted to look at the oh so lovely cutsey baby stuff online. It’s all changed so much since your first. You will need to buy a couple of baby bits. Plus the suggested accessories. And you may as well buy the 3 for 2 offers, they’re a bargain. And ALL the stuff with cute ears. You now have about double the stuff you had for your first.
So far, so easy. And hard.