So the second baby is on its way. All is healthy, all is going exactly as it should be and you should be thrilled. But you aren’t so much. What you are is extremely exhausted and worried. Negative thoughts keep running through your mind! What were you thinking? How will you cope, you can barely cope now and the baby isn’t even here yet.? This is a very common concern of a mother expecting number 2. Two other common fears of mothers who are expection a second child are “How will you love another child as much as your perfect first child?” and “Will your first child hate you, hate the baby, be damaged permanently by the addition of another baby?” All of these fears marinate in your mind, putting a damper on what should be an enjoyable time in your life.
First of all, remember, you won’t be pregnant once the baby comes! Many women underestimate their exhaustion level in pregnancy because they adjust to the gradual changes over nine months. They forget what their normal, non-pregnant self feels like. Keep that in mind when you have those thoughts about barely coping now, that may well be because you are pregnant and tired and have no bearing on whether you can cope after the new baby comes. Once baby comes, your energy will return quickly. You may find it’s actually easier to have a newborn and a toddler than to be pregnant with a toddler!
The second thing to keep in mind is that you will indeed love your second child as much as your first. You will love your 4th child that much as well. You will bask in the differences, you will marvel at the miracle of genetics that makes two siblings so different and you will rejoice in their similarities as well because there will likely be some. Talk to any mother of two or more and they will reassure that you will, indeed, love them both. It may be hard to believe, but it’s almost invariably true. This is a worry you do not need to have. It’s fine to wonder about that, it’s sort of miraculous how it happens but there is nothing to worry about, you will love them both for exactly who they are!
The third concern, sibling jealously, generally is a fleeting thing if a parent handles itright. If a parent focuses on the emotions of the older child, allowing them to feel them instead of telling them they are wrong to feel them, the child will adjust much sooner. When(if) your child says they “hate the baby” allow them that. They really don’t, most likely they are just limited in how to express the big feeling they have. Emotions do not hurt children, they are normal and natural, what can be hurtful is for a parent to deny them. Instead of a shocked “you don’t hate the baby, don’t say that!” and understanding “It’s hard to have a new baby in the house to share mommy and daddy with isn’t it?” and sometimes a little “yeah, I remember when auntie was born, I didn’t like her much either but when we got older we played a lot and I loved her” is also helpful. They will love each other and with a little emotional coaching, like each other and become close later on. Reassuring a child of your love and that their love for the baby will come and that their feelings are natural(because they are) shortens the adjustment phase and strengthens the bond between the siblings.
Many, people have second, third and even more children. Yes, there will be an adjustment period, there will be tired times. But things will work out for you and your newly defined family. Rest, take help, now is a good time for a toddler to bond with your partner or supportive extended family members such as aunties and uncles and grandparents. Exercise and eat right, reduce your stress level as much as possible and drink lots of fluids. Meanwhile, know that things will be fine and you will, in fact, be a wonderful mother to two children.