I am incredibly blessed. My husband and I have a wonderful, healthy, happy 3-year-old, and we are expecting baby number two soon.
I should be excited. I should be dreaming of nursery colors and coming up with the perfect name. I should be thinking of how our family will be complete once we have her. I should be eagerly awaiting nursing her, since I found this time incredibly sacred with baby number one. To some extent, I am thinking all these things and I am so looking forward to her birth.
But I’m also completely terrified. And I really have nowhere else to go to truly admit that I’m incredibly scared.
I’ve read about how the transition from zero to one is so much harder than from one to two. I’ve read about how, as a second-time parent, I will find it easier, since I will know what is normal and be less nervous.
But I don’t buy it. The first time around, I remember feeling like I had no clue what to expect, but I don’t remember this sense of fear.
After three years of parenting, I have reached a point where on a good day, I feel pretty confident in this whole parenting thing. Yes, I have no idea how I will potty train, and there are always new behaviors to negotiate. But we have figured out a pretty good family rhythm. My daughter has a pretty good sense of what she can look forward to and expect from her parents, and she has a pretty solid, predictable week. My husband I have figured out how to set aside time for ourselves and each other. We have figured out a way to factor in the ridiculous cost of daycare and not have to eat ramen noodles every night.
And now, we are taking all of this balance, predictability, and familiarity, and we are turning it on its head. We are introducing a new member to our trio and are going to have to reinvent every wheel. I know I will love number two — there is absolutely no question about that! But, I am terrified.
I will have to figure out how to spend special time with BOTH my daughters together and separately — and with my husband. We will have to figure out how to incorporate time for ourselves. I will have to figure out how to, once again, care for a being who cannot communicate verbally. We will have to figure out how to juggle two parents working, how to afford daycare for two, how to navigate two drop-offs and pick-ups.
I will, no doubt, place unfair or unrealistic expectations on number two, based on how number one behaved as a baby. I will compare this new child to her older sister. I will pray that number two will be healthy, happy, and well-adjusted, like number one is. I will likely force the baby to act older, simply because I need her to. I will likely lug number two around, and not give her the peace of just being, because there are things to do and places to go.
I will worry I am not being a good enough mother. I will worry I am not being a good enough wife. If I have the chance, I will worry about not being a good enough friend. And, I will be incredibly joyful and happy, thrilled to have that newborn miracle in my world.
This is not your typical blog post. In this post, I do not have the answers. I am not giving tips and tricks on how to perfect something in your parenting or in your marriage. This is a post where I am laying out straight-up fear and worry. Maybe this post will be a comfort for others who feel this way, a way for others to connect and say, “me too!” Maybe I will look back at this post in a year and reflect on what I wish I could have told myself. For now, I am grateful to have the chance to be honest, real, and raw. And maybe together, we will figure this out.
Have you had a second child? What do you wish you had known as you embarked on the journey to baby number two?