It’s hard to believe it, but that precious little infant that just came home from the hospital yesterday (at least that’s what it seems like, doesn’t it?) is not a toddler. She’s less dependent on her mama and off exploring the world that surrounds her. Life doesn’t seem as crazy as it did back when she first arrived a few short years ago, which means that now is the time that a lot of moms start thinking about having another baby.
Having more than one child can be so rewarding. As a mom of two, and as one of four children myself, I can attest to the fact that siblings are amazing. Yes, there are some downsides, like the bickering and the vying for moms attention; however, all-in-all, there are so many benefits of having more than one child – and being a part of a family with more than one child. There’s always a playmate and someone to lean on. My little guys – 7 and 3 – are the best of friends (on most days.) Just this morning, my heart nearly burst when I heard my older son tell his little brother how much he loved him and how cute he was. I literally squealed with delight!
However, while there are definite benefits to having a second child, mama does have to go through the whole pregnancy thing again. For many women, pregnancy can be a real challenge; so much so that it might make it difficult for them to handle a second time around.
Here’s a look at 15 signs that a second pregnancy might be too much for mom to handle…
15 The Body Isn't Ready
Plenty of women who have underlying medical conditions have perfectly healthy pregnancies and babies; but, a health condition is something that should be taking into consideration when a woman is trying to decide if she should have another baby – especially if those underlying medical conditions affected her first pregnancy. For example, if a mom had issues with her placenta, such as placenta previa or placenta abruption, or she developed preeclampsia during her first pregnancy, there is an increased chance that she will develop those conditions with subsequent pregnancies.
While many moms who had health concerns during their first pregnancies have no issues at all with their second pregnancies, if medical issues factored into the first pregnancy, they are something to take into consideration with the second baby.
14 The First Pregnancy Was... Well
Not only can pregnancy cause a lot of changes to the body that can be seen, it can cause some pretty undesirable physical ailments. Many women (like Kate Middleton) experience such extreme morning sickness that it impacts every facet of their lives. Severe aches and pains, pelvic displacement (I experienced that one), and excessive swelling (edema) are just a handful of other ailments that can plague women during pregnancy.
If a mom had a really rough experience when she was carrying her first baby, she may be too afraid to have a second one for fear that she will have to endure those horrible side effects again. A lot of moms grin and bear it and decide to have another baby because they know that those side effects will only last for 9 months, but if a woman is truly petrified by the idea she’ll have experience again with her second one, getting pregnant again might not be the best idea.
13 The Sibling Rivalry
It’s natural for a mom to worry about how her firstborn child will react to a sibling. I definitely have some concerns regarding how my first guy would handle my second one. However, if mom is constantly worried about her first child baby’s reaction to another pregnancy and another child, like, obsessively worried, a second pregnancy will surely be hard for her to handle.
Why? Because she will be so overwrought with fear that she may not focus much on her pregnancy, which could mean that she may not give the second baby much attention when he or she arrives. Her concerns for her first child may completely overshadow her second one. In the end, the second born might resent his or older sibling – and mama.
12 The Damage Has Been Done
It’s no secret that pregnancy is tough on a woman’s body. Stretch marks, a bump that never fully goes away, wider hips, a wider chest (my chest literally went up 2 sizes because of my second pregnancy), changes to the breasts… For many women, all of those changes can be really hard to deal with. A woman who really hasn’t gotten over how her first pregnancy changed her body probably isn’t going to be able the changes that will occur with the second one. Or, if she was obsessed with getting her pre-baby body back post-baby, than she might not be able to handle another pregnancy, either. Being overly body-conscious and pregnancy really isn’t a good combination, especially when it comes to having another baby.
11 The Scarring First Delivery
Mama might not be able to deal with a second pregnancy if the labor with her first baby left her traumatized. I’ve heard so many birthing stories over the years, and many of them have been downright frightening. One woman told me that after being in labor for nearly 48 hours, having to push for 6, and suffering a 4th degree vaginal tear, she would never go through pregnancy again. I get it. It can be a really harrowing experience. If a mom’s experience giving birth to her first baby was so horrible that she is downright fearful of going through labor and delivery again, then there’s a pretty good chance that she won’t be able to handle another pregnancy. After all, pregnancy is going to end with labor and delivery. I’m just saying.
10 And The Recovery Was Even Worse
Recovering from childbirth can be tough. Even if a mom’s labor and delivery were a breeze, it doesn’t mean that her recovery will be easy. Moreover, if a woman’s labor and delivery were tough - she had a C-section, or she labored and pushed for hours – recovering is more than likely going to be hard. For example, I had an emergency C-section with my first guy, after experiencing on and off labor for 72 and being induced… So yeah, recovery was not exactly a cakewalk. I did have another baby, but it was a scheduled C-section, which means I didn’t have to labor and I knew what to expect. However, for moms who had a really hard time getting back to “normal” after labor and delivery, they idea of going through it again a second time could be downright scary.
9 The Routine Has Been Cemented
Let’s be honest: babies can wreck havoc on a routine; especially during the first few months. Of course, with time and patience, a routine that works for everyone can be created. However, if a mom is dreading the idea of having the routine that she has worked so hard to get to work like clockwork, and everyone is happy with, thrown off track by a baby, she might want to reconsider having a second child.
All of moms know how challenging it can be to have no routine at all, and to try to establish one with a baby. With a newborn, there is no rhyme or reason to sleeping and eating patterns, which throws things totally out of whack. Having an older child that you have to keep on a schedule and a newborn at the same time? Now that is tough to juggle. Sure, countless moms figure out how to make it work; however, if a mama is loathing the idea of having her routine thrown out of whack, perhaps another baby isn’t the best idea.
8 How Old Are You?
Yes, women are having children at a much older age than they use to; however, that doesn’t mean that being older doesn’t pose challenges for a pregnancy. Not only can be it be more difficult to conceive at an older age, but there are also certain complications that can arise that could make the pregnancy more challenging. Creating and carrying a baby takes a toll on a woman’s body; delivering that baby can be even harder on her body. And then once the second baby arrives, mom has to care for him or her, as well as her first child, which can be exhausting at an older age.
I’m not saying that women can’t or shouldn’t have babies at an older age, but I am saying that it is a factor worth taking into consideration when thinking about having another baby.
7 Already Dreaming About The Epidural... In The First Trimester
Ah, an epidural. That sweet, sweet pain relief from labor pains. I know not all women are on board with an epidural, and that they don’t work for everyone, but for me, it worked like magic to stop the blistering pain from contractions when I was laboring with my first son (who I ended up delivering via an emergency C-section anyway.)
For women who support epidurals, if they are counting down the days until they can have there’s in the first trimester of their second pregnancy, it’s going to be a long and rough pregnancy. I totally the longing for an epidural so early on, though. Pregnancy, especially the second one, can be rough on the body and super painful. Heck, there were times during my second pregnancy that I would jokingly say that I couldn’t wait for my epidural because I was so uncomfortable for 7 out of the 9 months. But, I made it through!
6 The Relationship Is Standing On Shaky Legs
Children change marriage. Sometimes, those changes are for the better, and sometimes, they’re for the worse. For example, mom may resent dad because she doesn’t feel like he does enough to help, or dad may resent mom because he feels like she gives all of her attention to the baby. Add to that the fact that having a child is exhausting and it can change intimacy and make couples feel less connected. If a mom developed problems in her relationship after her first baby, she might be nervous about additional problems that could arise after she has a second baby. Having two children means double the work, double the exhaustion, and double the stress, which could compound any issues that already exist in a relationship.
5 There Is No "Village"
They say it takes a village to raise children. As a mom of two kiddos, I have to agree with whoever “they” are. I honestly don’t know where I would be without my support network. Not only are they the only people I entrust to watch my babies when I have something to attend to that they can’t come to, but I also rely on them for my sanity. They’ll watch my children so I can have a night off to just be me. I count on them to bounce off of when I have been doing the mom thing on my own for too many days in a row (my husband works a totally crazy schedule and we can go days without seeing him.)
A support network is so important when you have a child, and even more important when you have two. I know women do make it work without one, but it has to be damn hard.
4 You Start Getting Financial Anxiety
Clothing, food, diapers, daycare, doctors, fun outings; a child costs a lot of money. Now, multiply all of the things a kid needs by 2 and the amount can be astronomical. Of course, most moms have financial concerns, especially when they are thinking about bringing another child into the mix. Despite these money worries, countless women figure out a way to make everything work. It isn’t easy, but somehow, it usually works out. However, if a mom is overly obsessed with the financial aspect of a second pregnancy, or if she doesn’t want to make changes to her current lifestyle in order to accommodate another baby, then another baby may be difficult for her to handle. Why? – Because she’ll always be seeing dollar signs and calculating, and she’ll be super stressed, which isn’t good for her, the second baby, or her first baby, either.
3 One Child Is Fulfilling Enough
It goes without saying that if a mom finds one child fulfilling enough she probably isn’t going to handle a second pregnancy well. Why would she want to have another baby if she feels like she is getting everything she wants out of motherhood from her first child? Perhaps she is being pressured to have another baby by her partner, or maybe she just feels like it’s the natural progression of life and that she has to have another child because that’s what her family, friends and the rest of society expect of her. I know a lot of mothers who have one child – and are perfectly content with just one child – who are constantly pressured to have another one. One of my best girlfriend’s really only wants one, but toys with the idea of having another because everyone keeps telling her that she should. I don’t think she’ll give in, but we’ll see how it plays out…
2 The Dark Cloud
Women go through a tremendous amount of changes when they are pregnant, and after. A lot of those changes are physical, but they can also be mental. Postpartum depression is one such mental change that women can experience after they give birth. Postpartum anxiety is another. Both of these conditions can have a huge impact on a woman, and the effects can be long-lasting. I developed postpartum anxiety, and years after giving birth to both of my children, I still suffer from anxiety! It has totally changed me. Women who experience these mental changes may be afraid that they will have to go through them again with a second baby, and as such, they might not be able to handle a second pregnancy. In fact, if a woman is constantly worrying about developing postpartum depression or anxiety throughout her pregnancy, she could start exhibiting symptoms of these conditions even before she gives birth!
1 Enough Already
Let’s be real: nobody likes to hear a crying baby. If I’m honest, a crying baby has got to be one of the most get under your skin sounds that exists. Biologically speaking, there’s a reason why crying gets on your nerves: it makes you react to stop the crying, which means that baby’s needs are being met. However, when you can’t quite figure out what the baby needs and the crying won’t quit, it can be maddening (I lived through colic for 3 months with my firstborn son; I totally understand how insanity-inducing non-stop crying can be.)
If a mom envisions her first baby inconsolably crying and cringes at the thought, she may want to rethink having baby #2. When the second little one arrives, not only will she have to contend with his or her crying, but she’ll also have to deal with her older child’s tantrums, which can be maddening to the extreme!