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Please, Please tell me THE REALITY - GOOD and BAD about having a second child.

(16 Posts)
FleurDeLeeds Wed 17-Sep-08 17:48:39

I'm at a crucial point where I have to decide what to do.
Am pregnant, on my own and have a 2.6yo.
I found the first year incredibly hard and frustrating.
I'm hoping that second time around it would be easier as nothing is a shock, im not going from young free and footloose to mother. I'm a mother already, bu then i think well, itll be just as hard except this time i'll be on my own and I'll also have a toddler.
I dont want this thread to be about my navel gazing but the fact is i am so scared about the reality of this new baby that I'm considering an abortion.
In my heart its not what i want to do but i just need to hear a bit of the reality from others who have been there. Good and bad.
I have already had some wonderful advice on previous thread but hoped to get a little more perspective, (tough i know only i can make the decision). Thank you.

FleurDeLeeds Wed 17-Sep-08 18:01:12

i have to go now but will come back to check later.

grumblingirl Wed 17-Sep-08 18:05:31

Hi fleur - I can give you my own emotional experience that's all, but I hope that whatever decision you come to you will be ok and everything works out well for you. I have ds1 who is 5 and a 10 month ds2 and juggling two children is very very very hard(see my thread about my meltdown this morning for an example!)They demand your attention in tandem, seem to cause problems at exactly the same and wrong time and sometimes I don't know which bum to wipe first. But even though the workload has increased loads I think watching your two children interact, get to know each other and eventually love each other totally is something which hits you very rarely, very briefly but when it does happen its one of the best experiences in the world. I have been a single mother and now i'm a mother in a two parent family - both have their ups and downs. Being a mother is very hard whatever situation you are in. If it isn't hard work then drugs must be involved imho! Good luck.

samsonthecat Wed 17-Sep-08 18:10:38

You are right it is easier second time with the baby because you know what to do. By the time your babyis born your LO could be doing 5 sessions of nursery a week.
I have 2 DD's and they love each other even though I spend many parts of the day saying/shouting "leave your sister alone"
Some days I catchmyself thinking wouldn't it be easier with just one but then I see them together and watch them laughing together and see how good it will be in the next few years when we are past the baby stage.
You say you are on your own but do you have any friends or family who could be there for you and help out when needed?

SmugColditz Wed 17-Sep-08 18:12:05

It's gorgeous to watch them together
they always have someone to play with.
as a single parent, I don't worry about leaving my children utterly alone in the world - they have each other.
You already know what to do, newborns seem hard because they are a shock, they are nowhere near as hard as a 2.6 year old. You will wonder what you did all day with your first baby.
You'll get vouchers to send the eldest to preschool for 15 hours a week.

It is blisteringly hard to not be able to sleep when the baby does - you know nap time is your time? Not any more. nap time is the other child's time. You don't get any time. You will not shower for days sometimes.
They run waking relays when they are ill - chickenpox in this house nearly finished me off - 4 weeks of screaming and scratching and bathing and lotion daubing and waking and waking....
You can't do the things with the big one that you would like to be able to do, like eg playing marbles, going swimming - swimming is ok, but such such hard work with both. Most things go like that.

I have the same age gap (3 years) and I am on my own, so that's pretty much what it might be like for you.

I wouldn't swap him for the world though, and it is lovely to be playing with a teeny non argumentative baby.

swampster Wed 17-Sep-08 18:19:13

DS2 was the best thing to happen to DS1. There is a little more than two years between them and they are best mates who love each other to pieces - and fight each other like gremlin monsters.

The first year or so was pretty tough but now they provide entertainment for each other (DS1 is 4 and DS2 is 2) - and I no longer have to provide the endless stimulation.

And they are such amazingly different personalities they are a constant source of amazement to me.

lovemybabes Wed 17-Sep-08 20:22:19

Just off the top of my head:
Plus points: amazing going through the baby bit again, brings back all the memories of number 1, amazing seeing them interact together and when DS met DD for the first time it was beautiful... wonderful having a baby to hug when number 1 goes off to big boy school for the first time (he's 4, she's 9 months), seeing the baby point to pictures of ds when he's at school and get wildly excited when we go to collect him, hearing DS say 'i love the baby and i love you mum'...
Negative ones: missing the relationship you had with number 1, but then this gets replaced with a deeper relationship as you both care for this new arrival, sleep deprivation is unbelievable as they both wake through the night and you can never catch up in the day, so i have to really keep a watch on my grumpiness factor, tantrums from number 1 big time for several months in jealousy.
I would definitely do it again then in the blink of an eye.
Good luck xx

rachelp73 Wed 17-Sep-08 20:45:46


There are 2 years and 3 months between my 2 boys. The biggest shock when having DS2 was finding out that he was NOTHING LIKE DS1 in terms of his nature. DS1 was fairly demanding as a baby in that he had colic, but dS2 had it MUCH worse. DS1 is laid back and has always been well-behaved. DS2 is as far from laid-back as you can imagine. He has been a nightmare, demanding child from day 1. BUT he is a lot less "serious" than my first -when he's in a good mood he lights up the room and makes everyone laugh, and is so lovey-dovey cuddly (something which DS1 never really was, and still isn't, at age 4 and a half).

What I'm trying to say is that how hard you will find it depends largely upon each child's personality. Yes, DS2 was demanding, but it meant that my laid-backish 2 year old toddler was very patient with a screaming newborn and didn't get too jealous. I was at soft play the other week and she clearly experienced it the other way round. Young baby was being brilliant, 2 year old brother was a screaming, whinging nightmare. My sister had the same type of thing - really difficult son first, then charming, easygoing daughter. There's no knowing what you'll get till they come out!

I don't know anything about your first child's personality but that may come into how you cope with the stress of a second. Not that it should be a factor in whether you decide to go ahead or not - we all got over a horrid first 18 months when DS2 was born (DH away a lot and needed a LOT of support from my parents during colicky evenings - do you have that support?) Now my heart melts when I watch them play together, they love each other to bits, and now that my first has started school, DS2 is missing him and can't wait to pick him up each afternoon!

Other posters have pointed out that your first child can go to preschool soon (if not already) so you will have plenty of time to spend with a second baby, and de-stress a bit from the hassles of having 2.

I found that the worst thing with having a second (apart from the obvious like NEVER, and I literally mean NEVER, having any time to yourself for a couple of years), was that I missed my lovely trips out with just DS1. He was at a lovely age for going to the playground and toddler groups etc, and then all of a sudden I was very restricted with what I could do with him, as DS2 was so bloody demanding and cried a lot and I really had to/wanted to avoid going to public places as he was that stressful!

Having said all that, I would not change things for the world, and I'm sure if you go ahead with everything, you will come to realise that in time. There will be no worries about learning the practical parenting stuff as you'll already know how to change nappies, feed etc. You are right in saying that you've already made the HUGE adjustment to parenthood from being childless (and don't underestimate the stress of that -you got through it).

Anyway, will stop waffling now. Your post says that your heart wants you to go ahead, and really, that's all that matters. None of the other stuff does. Best of luck.

rachelp73 Wed 17-Sep-08 20:48:14

sorry, I meant there was a woman at soft play experiencing it the other way round.....

2point4kids Wed 17-Sep-08 20:53:00

My DS2 was born 6 months ago when DS1 was 2.4years.
It has been hard work. I feel like I need an extra pair of hands permanently sometimes but it is the most amazing thing ever to see how DS2 laughs at DS1 and how they love each other to bits. Even now when he is still a baby the bond is very strong. I cant wait to see them interacting together when they are older!

I have to say as well that DS2 has been a much more demanding baby. Where DS1 was laid back, chilled and slept loads, DS2 had colic and wanted carrying all the time.
Even with him being so demanding I still found it much easier bizarrely. The second time round I was so much more relaxed and calm about everything and took it all in my stride.
I fely physically better much more quickly too, which I think is quite common.

It sounds like you know in your heart what you really want to do. I'd advise to follow your heart and that although you may have reservations and cold feet now and then, you will manage and the good bits will by far outweigh the hard bits!

Good luck with whatever you decide x

FiveGoMadInDorset Wed 17-Sep-08 20:56:30

2.6 years between my 2, luckily bith have similar temperaments so fairly laid back as babies although DD is getting a bit if a live wire now. What has been a godsend is DD being in nursery 5 mornings a week. I am also lucky in that we run our business from home so DH can do that while I look after children and vice versa.

BitOfFun Wed 17-Sep-08 20:57:50

The thing I found hard about two (with a four year age gap) was having to keep going in the usual routine and not being able to suspend reality and live to a newborn's timetable. That said, it did me good on the whole, as otherwise I might have been all day in my pajamas.

The experience of having dd2 turn out to be severely autistic was obviously a challenge, but the relationship her older sister has with her is amazing. Dd1 has become a very caring and compassionate young person (12 now) with social and emotional skills weel beyond typical. I imagine that even without the special needs factor, the experience of looking out for a younger one has got to help your dc learn so much about sharing, love, responibikity etc that it has got to be a good thing. As you grow up I think that siblings are a real boon for most people.

It might be hard at points, but I think there will always be times when that's true. In the long run, it's just someone else to love surely, for both of you?

Good luck, I hope you work out what's best for you both, even if you decide that now isn't the time x x

Thankyouandgoodnight Wed 17-Sep-08 20:58:07

Hi Fleur - the reasons you give are exactly what I found hard with DC1 - the being dragged from one life to another (plus the rest!) etc.

Anyway DC2 is 8 weeks old and there is a 19 month gap between the two of them. I can honestly say that I'm loving it, even though DC2 was feeding evry 1.5 hours to start with. The hormones get you through! I have found it much easier having two because somehow the dynamics change and their attention is on each other rather than on you. There is less pressure to 'entertain' them as you are working with one or the other of them and for soem reason it seems much easier to leave the other one until you're ready. Once you've found your system of getting up / going to bed / leaving the house etc, it's as easy as it is with one in that you adjust and it all works out. Occasionally they're both screaming at once but that has been very rare and that's where the TV is great for the older one while you sort the baby if it gets too bad!

You will get loads of practical tips on here for each part of the day and night and for just a blip in time (pregnancy and first year), you will get years of reward.

BitOfFun Wed 17-Sep-08 20:59:20

Few typos there, sorry, hope not too cod-like!

FiveGoMadInDorset Wed 17-Sep-08 21:01:49

OH yes, stick to your first borns routine, it is so much easier.

Smithagain Wed 17-Sep-08 21:13:28

I felt exactly the same as you - first year with DD1 was v v stressful, didn't know if I could handle another, heard lots of horror stories.

With an age gap of almost exactly three years, it's been great (they are now 3 and 6). The baby stuff was much easier second time round, although I still didn't find that level of blissed out earth-motherliness that others seem to manage!

It's a mad juggle, but you get into the swing of it.

Once you're past the baby stage, it's great to see how they form their own relationship. Even when they're fighting grin

I love seeing how different they are, watching their personalities develop and seeing how DD2 worships her big sister and tries to be just like her.

And it's been awesome to discover how your capacity to love just increases to accommodate the second one, even though you thought the first one filled every little part of you!

I'm an only child - and was quite happy without siblings. But now that I have two of my own I know just how much more complete it feels.

Not having any more, mind you grin

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