Number 2: Adding Another Child to The Family

Big Sister

Ladies – we need to chat about number 2. No, this isn’t going to be a post about excrement (though I am sort of losing my poop and having my own holy sh!+ moments over here) – it’s a conversation about adding another child to the family. Yup…my husband and I are expecting another little girl this summer and this news has me equal parts excited and scared crap-less.

The Timing:

There are lots of philosophies about when to have another child. Some say wait until the first is potty trained. Other say have kids close together…rip the band-aid off and just go for it. Obviously you need to ensure you are financially able to take care of another child, but other than that I’m just not sure there’s ever an ideal time to grow your family. Let’s liken it to adopting a vegan diet, embarking on a rigorous exercise routine, or doing that crazy chili pepper Master-clense thing: It always sounds like something that would be fun to do at another time (like next year). I’m guessing that whether the child at home is 2 or 20…it will never seem like a perfect time to add another body to the household. For me, the timing of Number 2 collides perfectly with a promotion and new project at work. Most days I’m not sure how I’ll figure it all out, but I’m operating under the assumption that I will figure it out…that my village of other working moms will help me figure it out. Because that’s what we do as working moms: like child-bearing MacGuyvers we find creative solutions and we figure stuff out.

The Fears:

Our daughter, Peachy, is the center of our universe; the answer to so many prayers after battling infertility. I spend every spare moment drinking in her laugh and basking in her general perfection. How will I ever manage to love another person with the depth and fever I love this child with? How will adding another baby to the mix impact Peachy? How will I manage a curious and sometimes exhausting toddler with a newborn? Will I ever sleep again? These are just a small handful of the fears that have set in now that number 2 is a reality. And don’t even get me started on the reality that I have to relive the trauma of giving birth and returning to work after maternity leave again. Oh, and I get to lose the baby weight again and go through that postpartum funk? Yikes!

The Math:

Assuming she arrives as planned, Number 2 and Peachy will be roughly 23 months apart. That means surviving the terrible twos (and what I hear are the equally trying threes) with an infant. It means two in diapers and two little people who are still relatively dependent on us as parents. With me working full time this means two in daycare and two different kids who will get sick – at different times. It means two teenage girls who will eventually want to date. Two kids in college at the same time. Two weddings to pay for. I’m no math whiz, but why does it seem like adding just one little tiny human feels like adding a small army of expenses, anxiety, and stress to our lives? I remember a friend telling me (as she juggled her two busy kids while I sat with my mild-mannered sleeping newborn) that “one kid is an accessory…two or more is where things get interesting.”

How will I do it? How do you do it? Kind and generous MacGyver-mommas of WMAG, the poop is about to hit the fan in my house. Please share your advice, battle stories, and wisdom as it relates to adding another child to the family.

8 thoughts on “Number 2: Adding Another Child to The Family

  1. I am in the throws of this right now. Evan is 3 and 3 months and Graeme is 3 weeks. These 3 weeks have been a brutal roller coaster of emotions but each day gets easier. It doesn’t help that my older son is on antibiorics and I am sick as a dog with a head cold and nursing every 2-3 hours. Thank God for the help of friends and family . I am just trying to remember that we all survived the addition of a sibling as did our mothers. I am dreading the day I go back to work in late march but I plan to take that transition day by day as well. Congratulations and good luck! I would say ask for help when you need it. Let yourself feel everything you are feeling and then let it go by. You can do it!!

  2. Our oldest son will be 4 next month and our infant is 4 months old. I can relate to your concerns as I am also in the middle of a similar situation. I’ll be honest, I held my oldest son and cried the night before our baby was born. I cried for the changes he was about to endure without any say in the matter. I cried because he would no longer be “the baby”. I’ve cried since when I was feeling overwhelmed, but it’s temporary and I know I’m just tired. I’m confident that having a sibling is an invaluable gift for our older son. He has clearly learned more about love than I could have ever imagined. I still have plenty moments of guilt but I know we’ll all come out the other side better than we were when we started.

  3. Anne and Jillian – thank you for your honest and thoughtful responses. It means a lot to hear from other moms who are dealing with this right now. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience so far.

  4. My boys are almost exactly 2 years apart. They are now 1 and 3. I had the same fears you do. I tried to plan out every situation and finally I just let go. Once I let go and just just did the best I could it got better. I will say the hardest part for me is the potty training and the lack of sleep. You just have to adjust, my house isn’t as clean as it was before my youngest but we are happy. You can do this 🙂

  5. While I am a mother to just one right now, I share a lot of your fears and anxieties about adding to the brood, especially the part about loving the second child as much as the first. I always tell myself that I will handle whatever comes my way, because I have to. I think our bodies have an incredibly ability to “rise to the occasion.” Looking forward to hearing about your two-child household adventures!

  6. Sometimes God only gives you one because he knows that is all you can handle mentally and physically and you are extremely GREATFUL he did and that he understands you.

  7. I had 3 babies in three years. Now they are 1, 2, and 4. I agree that the best philosophy is to let go of any expectations and just do the best you can. My favorite memories are when my older children met the new baby. Those moments rival the birth as the best moments of my life.

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