Some people say, and most likely think, having a second child is no big deal. For example, you already know what to expect, (or think you do!) and have everything (or most things).
However, for me (us), a second child would mean a five year age gap. Not only that but being someone that disliked both pregnancy and labour, having a second child was NOT on the cards, until a year ago. So within those five years:
- We’d obviously become accustomed to our lives as parents and with a child.
- We’d been through and survived (just!) the baby years.
- Our sanity was beginning to return from teaching the ways of the world and common sense, with our boy becoming more and more independent by the day.
- The practical five-door family vehicle had been replaced by a three-door, sporty, fuel-guzzling but fun vehicle.
- The spare room (out of our three bedroom home) was still that. A cross between a bedroom and dump room.
- Things our boy grew out of, toys and clothes, for example, were given away or sold.
- Financially we were getting to a level plain. Especially with me working, even just part-time, once our boy entered fulltime school.
The Personal Realities.
So would having a second child be a big deal? YES! Of course it would and I’m sure I speak for many other mummy’s/parents when I say that.
There are though, more personal realities of having a newborn baby, not just a second baby, but your first and any subsequent ones. Realities that can very much become passing or second thoughts compared to say some of the reasons above I mentioned, but on some levels are more important.
- Changes to your body. Who is this person in the mirror? Having already carried your baby for nine months, your body has already significantly changed, like added weight, larger boobs a rise in body temperature, swollen feet. These can harbour many insecurities for some. Admittedly on a personal level, it was the added weight that was definitely a major negative point of being pregnant. However, it’s the post-partum that can have more of an impact on your wellbeing. It’s definitely naive to think once your baby arrives that you and your body go back to normal. For example in regards to weight gain, it’s easy to forget we’re all different. ‘Julie’ might have ‘snapped right back’ into her post-pregnancy clothes after a few weeks, but that’s not to say you will. Yes, you’ll drop some weight initially, mostly water retention, plus your uterus shrinking back to its original size/weight, but as for the rest, some of us, unlike ‘Julie’ would need to do a little work.
- Mental Health. The ‘baby blues’ are real. After a friend messaged to check how I was after having our boy and then ‘preparing’ me for day three, I thought nothing of it until teatime on day three where I had an emotional breakdown. There were tears, snot and a good helping of self-pity. She’d totally jinxed me! Jokes aside, it’s said days 3-5 post-pregnancy, lasting any length of time, can be a fragile time. Pregnancy from the beginning until the end (plus however long you are a mum!) is one hell of an emotional rollercoaster and definitely something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Thankfully I had my husband on hand. We spoke about it and I gave myself a pep talk. I’d definitely say if you’re pregnant, do make sure you have someone that you too can talk to, or confide in your midwife, health visitor or doctor. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Motherhood/being a parent is not all rainbows and unicorns. Nothing you are feeling or saying is a shock to any of the above or any other new mums. You are not the ‘only one’. On the flip side, if you know someone who is pregnant or has just had a baby – reach out.
- Socially. What social life? That may be a tad extreme. But having a newborn baby and children in general definitely, initially, makes normal socialising a tad on the tricky side. Definitely as a couple. You’re now in a position of what we call ‘tag-teaming’, or passing the baby. At least for a little while. Also, financially, you’ll find all those nappies and tins of formula soon add up, that’s not taking into account the fact that they are forever growing! The other side to this is that if you’re a sole parent or a stay home wife you may become socially anxious or in a fluster at the thought of going out on your own with your new bundle of joy. This can easily challenge you in making plans with friends/family. What if he/she cries? Where can I feed them? Will the pram fit in <enter shop/cafe/transport here>? I guess it’s easy for me to say to just get out there, but that isn’t so easy for some. If that’s the case, then as I mentioned above, please do talk to someone. Maybe as a close friend to go out with you, instead of meeting them somewhere. Even a short walk is the beginning.
Having a newborn baby is no easy ride. It definitely has a massive impact on not only your life as a whole, but also you personally. With that in mind, it’s good to have people around you and for you to practice self-care, as it can have a definite effect on your mental health.
Ultimately though, give yourself a break and also a pat on the back, because you’ve signed up to do something pretty incredible and there are many people who can’t say that for many reasons.