All moms-to-be have a few moments of panic during their pregnancy. Bringing a new life into the world is a big deal, so it's absolutely normal to feel anxious about the pregnancy, worry about the delivery and how to raise a baby.
Many moms might think that their worries would be gone after the first baby since they know more about what to expect. But the truth is that having Baby No. 2 can be even more scary than the first time around. That's because she knows from experience how tough pregnancy can be and, worse, exactly how painful childbirth is. She is all to aware of what can go wrong, how much money and time and space a newborn can require, and how many missteps a mom can make along the way.
Add on to those stresses the concerns about her big kid, who has been her entire life since birth. She doesn't want her first baby to see her in pain or to feel jealous, and many moms just can't imagine loving anyone else as much as she does her firstborn.
Just like the first time around, it is perfectly normal to feel anxious about having another baby. We are here to help assuage those worries with this guide.
Here are 15 biggest fears of moms expecting Baby No. 2.
15I’ll Get Even Bigger
The thing about a second pregnancy is that the body betrays you even sooner than it did the first time around. With the first pregnancy, you may not start to show until halfway through the pregnancy. But with Baby No. 2, the bump may start to pop before the mom has fully accepted the news that she is pregnant. The jeans can get tight by six or eight weeks gestation, which immediately causes anyone to panic that they will get too big too quickly.
Of course, there are ways that women can control their weight gain during pregnancy. They don’t have to give in to every craving or eat ice cream every night. While the bump might take shape sooner, that doesn’t mean that the weight is going on faster or will be harder to take off. It may be tough, but if a mom wants to keep her weight down to acceptable levels, it certainly is possible with baby No. 2 on the way.
14We Can’t Afford It
Babies are expensive, that is for certain. And even if a woman has planned to have more than one kid, at some point — probably the first time she heads to the store or gets a doctor’s bill — she will start to worry about finances. It’s absolutely a legitimate fear, but we let us reassure you that things will be OK.
First of all, there are a lot of things that the second baby can reuse from the first. If they are the same gender and are born in the same season, it will be even easier to take advantage of hand-me-downs, and things like car seats, bottles and pack-n-plays can be reused as well.
While it isn’t traditional to have a baby shower for the second baby, friends and family usually still want to do something to help, and they love to give a few baby clothes or other things to help. The college fund may still be an obstacle, but otherwise, everything will be OK.
13I Can’t Handle Going Through Labor Again
We absolutely understand this fear. Women who have gone through labor and childbirth understand just how painful and difficult that process is, and no one willingly wants to go through pain again unless there is a pretty big reward at the end. Fortunately, there is a sweet baby after going through childbirth, so we recommend any second-time mom-to-be keep her mind on that instead of worrying too much about labor.
It is true that every labor and delivery is different. So moms need to keep that in mind. They may not have to wait until days past their due date, and they may not have any of the same pains or problems they did the first time around. Their body knows how to have a baby, so things might actually be easier the second time around. We can’t guarantee that it won’t hurt, but instead of concentrating on what happened during transition, a second-time mom needs to remember the rush of love and adrenalin she felt once it was all over.
12Could The Baby Come Faster?
We just mentioned that no two labors are alike. Many women hear that, and they also hang on to the fact that many of the baby books say that the second baby could come after a shorter labor. That can be terrifying to a woman whose first child came in four hours, but it could sound amazing to a mom whose firstborn took four days to be delivered. The truth is that we can’t really assuage your fear here because there is no predicting how fast a delivery will take. Some midwives say to expect the delivery time to be cut in half, but that usually isn’t true for the moms who had their babies fast the first time around. It can be slower for them.
Often times the pushing phase can go quicker, since moms tend to have a better idea of how to get their baby through the birth canal, but that isn’t always the case either. For the moms who are worried they will give birth on the side of the road, all we can say is that they should watch a few Youtube videos about how to deliver a baby safely by themselves, just in case, but most of them will never have to make use of those skills. Either way, remember that you can call 911 if you need help.
11I Don’t Want My Firstborn To See Me In Pain
Yes, it is true that a lot of a mom’s fears the second time around involve labor and delivery, but this one isn’t just all about giving birth. A woman goes through a lot of pain for nine months when she is pregnant, and while she loves to kiss her firstborn’s boo-boos, she doesn’t want her first baby to know that the second one is causing her discomfort.
From the heartburn that makes it hard to sleep to the back pain that makes it hard to keep up with a toddler, a second-time mom has it harder when it comes to dealing with the symptoms of pregnancy. Many moms worry that their child will get mad at the baby for hurting mommy, especially if she ends up going on bed rest or — nightmare scenario — going into labor in front of her oldest. But kids are resilient, and as long as the mom doesn’t blame the baby and helps the big kid understand what is going on, he won’t be so worried that mommy is in pain.
10What If My Big Kid Gets Jealous?
The last section was part of an overall fear that all moms have that their firstborn treasure won't be happy about the new addition to their family. There are many manifestations of that fear, including big concerns that the older sibling will be jealous of the baby.
The concern isn't so much about the kid being resentful of the baby, although no one wants that to happen. But it's really more about the worry that the mom can't fulfill all of the emotional needs of the child she loved first. She doesn't want to have to split her time between the two, and because she knows that her older child will feel that divided attention more, she is worried that she won't be able to show him the love that he needs. The truth is that some kids do get jealous of the baby for a time. But if a mom makes sure her big kid feels loved every day, he will soon realize that his baby brother or sister isn't taking his mom away — there's just more family to love.
9Are They Too Far Apart/Too Close In Age?
All moms worry about screwing up their children. And with all those articles floating around the internet about birth order and how much it matters if the kids are a certain amount of months apart, moms can get really worried about how far apart their kids will be. They can obsess over the due date and how it will correspond to their older child's birthday in a way they never imagined.
According to many psychiatrists and pediatricians, having kids less than two years apart makes it easier for kids to bond with each other and become playmates, while having them more than four years apart is easier on the parents but harder for the kids, who aren't in the same developmental stage. Somewhere in the middle — which is the range where most kids fall in the U.S. — can help stave off the sibling rivalry. But really, all of these are generalities. There isn't an exact science that determines the ideal age difference, and there isn't much a mom can do about it after she gets pregnant anyway. It's best to just roll with the punches, literally, and just do what you can to help the kids get along.
8I’m Too Old For This
There is something about having kids that ages you. Whether your first was born when you were in your 20s or your 40s, it can be intimidating to go for No. 2 when your body has aged. Parents joke that their kids give them gray hairs, but there is definitely an element of truth to it. They take their toll on your body and your brain, and as much as you love them, you definitely feel older when you have to go through it again.
This is especially true for women who have babies a little later in life. Pregnancy can be tough when you are past 35, and doctors will really watch out for complications that are more likely to come at that age. It's tough, and if you are keeping up with a toddler or big kid at the same time, that can make it worse. That's definitely a fear for all too many second-timers, but there isn't much we can do about it.
7Should I Go For A VBAC?
As we've mentioned, childbirth ways on any mom-to-be, but it can be especially worrisome to a second-timer, especially if things didn't go the way she wanted the first time through. If a woman had a C-section the first time around, she may wonder if she should go for a vaginal delivery this time. But there are certainly risks that will way heavily on her mind.
Many times there are pregnancy conditions that make it dangerous to consider going for a vaginal delivery, and a second-time mom will understand more than a first-time mom that a healthy baby is the most important part. But if she has the option, she may want to go for it, especially if she had really hoped for a vaginal delivery the first time. Some doctors are really hesitant to perform VBACs, so it can take planning and preparation. But it's worth some thought if the mom is interested in trying.
6How Can I Handle Two Kids?
When a woman has a second child, her first one is usually at least starting to walk. Whether the babies are less than a year apart or five years apart, the mom has lived with parenthood enough to know that it is not easy. Dealing with one kid is incredibly tough because of the shear amount of attention that they need, and if they are toddlers or preschoolers, it can be really rough to keep up with a child who is on the go. Imagining racing after a toddler with a baby in your arms is enough to cause some moms to panic.
We aren't going to lie — every day is going to be a struggle. Getting out of the house will take some major planning and preparation in the beginning, but things will get easier as you get used to it. A mom of two or more is always going to feel like she can't keep up, especially when her kids are sick. But most days will end up being amazing even if she does struggle with her two kids.
5What If Breastfeeding Is Just As Hard?
When we talked about childbirth, we told you about how moms can't help but worry about going through the pain and suffering since they know all too well what it really feels like. The exact same thing is true for breastfeeding. Whether a mom tried nursing for a few weeks or was able to breastfeed for two years, she can't help but worry how her experience will go the second time around.
Even if the first baby latched like a pro right away, any mom who has been through it knows how much of a 24-hour-a-day job breastfeeding is. At the beginning, it can be painful, and the mother has to be totally committed to get through. Many moms, if they can, start of breastfeeding because they know of the benefits, but even the most positive moms are scared about it. There isn't much we can do to make anyone feel better because each baby and each experience is different. But if you got through it once, a mom should have confidence that she can get through it again.
4Something Might Go Wrong
This fear is universal. Whether it is a mom's first baby or her fifth, she can't help but worry about the baby as he is developing and worrying what could happen before and after the birth. But with each baby, moms could get even more scared. That's because they know about what can go right and what can go wrong.
For women who believe their first child is perfect, it can be scary to think that their other child would have an ailment that could change their lives or that the baby would feel the differences between them. For families who have dealt with genetic conditions or other complications, they know exactly what could happen and, like childbirth, fear going through the pain and anxiety of it again. Having a baby is risky, and understanding the family's genetics can make a mom even more anxious. But every life is precious, and a pregnancy is something to celebrate even if something could go wrong.
3When Will I Sleep?
People like to joke that moms of newborns never sleep, but the real case is that moms get little sleep no matter their baby's age, including if it is still in the womb. For any woman who struggles to get their kid to sleep and to stay asleep, there is a tremendous fear of starting over with another baby cutting into the precious few hours she gets each night.
During a mom's pregnancy with her first, she certainly understands the exhaustion that goes through her body as one of the worst pregnancy symptoms. But usually it isn't too difficult to find time for a nap. But when a mom has another child, especially one that has outgrown naps, it can be hard to squeeze some rest time into the day. Knowing that the nights will be long and exhausting, it's enough to cause a mom to panic over whether she will ever get enough shut eye for her body to catch up. Let us reassure you that you will sleep again — but it just may take a few years.
2We Don't Have Room
Usually at the end of pregnancy, a woman begins to nest. She wants her house to be clean, and she wants to set up a sweet nursery for her baby to come to. And once she gets to that nesting stage for her second baby, that's usually when she begins to fear that she doesn't have enough space for a new addition to her family.
These days babies have lots of stuff, so it can be hard to imagine a house that has already been overtaken by the firstborn's things to have enough space for the crib and bassinet and sleeper and bouncy seat and swing and all that other stuff. But the truth is that babies don't need all those things. Think about it — babies start out pretty tiny, and all they really need is a safe place to sleep, some clothes to stay warm and dry and something to eat. So moms don't really have to worry about the space if they give up on having some of that stuff. Even if the new sibling isn't the same sex as the firstborn, they can probably share a room for a few years. We promise; it will be OK.
1I Can’t Imagine Loving Anyone More Than My First Baby.
The No. 1 fear of moms when they are expecting a new baby is definitely having enough love to share. A firstborn child does something to a woman that she never really imagined, and as she watches her child grow it can be like watching her very own heart learn to walk and talk and play. Since their heart is now traveling around outside of their body, it's terrifying to imagine how you could grow an entirely new heart for the next baby.
Thankfully, this is one fear that we can positively say will never come true. While a woman may have a limited supply of money or time, a mother has the capacity to love as many children as come into her life. Even if she can't imagine anything taking as high a place in her life as her firstborn, her second child will definitely reach that apex. Like with any child, sometimes the bond doesn't come right away, but over time, a mom of two will find that she has two little hearts running around, and they are both treasured and adored.
Sources: Parenting, Huffington Post
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