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Parenting more than 1 - good views desperately needed

(68 Posts)
Wills Mon 30-Jun-03 15:03:08

Having a seriously bad day. I've been reading a book on moving from 1 child to 2 and to be honest its really really depressing. I've read most of it (being a sucker for punishment) mainly because whilst being depressing it also makes some good points that I'd not thought of however I've now given up because am feeling really very blue. The authors goes to great odds to say that moving from 1 child to 1+ is far far harder than having one. I'm not being nieve, blimey pregnancy itself has been hard, you can't slow down because there's always another one running around but in the book she talks about loosing your sense of being a person etc. I'm really looking forward to meeting this little one and do accept that there will be a time when I am stunningly shattered but she never talks about there being any good times! All she talks about is tiredness, not attaching to the secondborn/falling out of love with firstborn, sibling rivarlry, no time with partner and high instances of divorce, PND etc etc etc As you can probably guess I could really do with some positive feedback

princesspeahead Mon 30-Jun-03 15:10:07

bin the book!
Moving from one to two is lovely. she should talk instead about all the good things - moving from feeling like a couple with a child to a family; - watching your first born grow and mature and interact with the little one; - enjoying the second baby much more because you are more confident and relaxed with it and in your ability to do what's right; - all sorts of good things! obviously if PND strikes that isn't good, and it is more common with second and third babies than with first, but chances are very low that you will have it and there is no point in worrying about it at this stage if you have no previous indicators.

If you have finished the book, I would honestly throw it away - then you'll remember whatever points you thought were useful and forget everything else. Focus on your overwhelming feeling of looking forward to meeting the new one and enjoy him/her when she comes!

princesspeahead Mon 30-Jun-03 15:12:00

ps the lovely thing about a baby is that it doesn't do any running around for AGES - you really notice after looking after a toddler how easy babies are and how much they sleep during the day!

Britabroad Mon 30-Jun-03 15:12:29

The joy I get when we collect my DS from school and DS runs up to her every day flings his arms around her and says "I miss you".
You get the joy you having just watching the one plus the joy of watching them both together.
Sure it's hard and knackering and second tie around all your naivity's gone and you know what you're in for.
But watching them together is the greatest.

tamum Mon 30-Jun-03 15:13:30

No no no!! The first year was quite hard, but after that it got one million zillion times easier. Some of it obvious, like they play together and keep each other company, others not obvious and hard to explain, but something to do with being a family rather than a couple who also have a child. My dh and I get much more time together now than we did with one, and I can honestly say that I attached straight away to my second-born and was still besotted with my first-born in spite of all my worries. Throw the book in the bin! Well, no, don't because now it will be a lovely surprise when life gets easier
It will be hard at first, but not for mong, honest. Good luck!

boyandgirl Mon 30-Jun-03 15:13:50

Are you reading 3 socks no shoes and 1 hairbrush? I was advised not to read that until after no2 was born, but I did anyway. I understand what you mean about the doom n gloom, but it's not all terrible! Try to see past the horror stories and turn them into preparation. After all, you don't think about having a car crash every time you get into the car, but you use the knowledge that it might happen to take preventative action and do seat belts, drive carefully, etc. Afterwards, when you find that at least some of the things mentioned are not happening it gives you a chance to pat yourself on the back and say 'See what a good job I'm doing - I manage better than thos case studies'.

Going from 1 to 2 also doubles your opportunities for love, for enjoying babyvision, for seeing how far no1 has progressed (and how good a mum you must be as a result!)

Must go now - no2 is crying!


tamum Mon 30-Jun-03 15:14:39

Snap, princess, sorry, it took me so long typing that I missed the other responses!

princesspeahead Mon 30-Jun-03 15:17:27

how funny tamum that we said almost exactly the same!

butterflymum Mon 30-Jun-03 15:17:38

I am mum to three (6yrs,3yrs, 1yr).

No matter what the book or anybody says, life will be what you make of it.

As with all things, there are lots of good points and lots of bad points in moving from 1 to 1+ (highs and lows).

However many will give positive feedback, others will give negative. Such is life.

But, at the end of the day, folk who have moved on are still here, functioning, achieving, living life to their level of ability. Is that any different really to folk with one only. Yes, they may be able to give more time or attentiion to one than say three, but surely they too have other ups and downs.

As I said, life will be what we make of it. You have taken a step to more than one (if I am reading correctly - you are currently pregnant). Enjoy it - come what may.

butterflymum Mon 30-Jun-03 15:20:36

When I first looked at thread and started typing there were no responses - look what's happened now. Mumsnetters all sitting down and typing at once - ha,ha, ha. Plenty of good advice though.

tamum Mon 30-Jun-03 15:21:23

It's spooky princesspeahead, I've never actually heard anyone else say that, but it's so true

Marina Mon 30-Jun-03 15:30:54

Wills, if it is 3 Socks etc bin it and read Sibling Rivalry, Sibling Love instead, as authored by Mumsnet expert Jan Parker. I read both and found Rebecca Abrams too depressing, Jan Parker much less so. And I've taken great comfort from reading some of the replies on this thread because the whole issue has been preying on my mind too

sobernow Mon 30-Jun-03 15:31:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wills Mon 30-Jun-03 15:49:05

Oh gosh - you've all correctly guessed that its Rebecca Adams 3 socks... book. Thanks for your comments they are really helpful, its nice to know that there are good things because her picture is so bleak. I read a review which said that it was funny and the cartoon picture are - just not the text. I sort of thought it would be another Vicki Iovine sort of book. I am trying to turn her advice into preparation but its soooo gloomy! Your comments all sound far better. Thank you.

Enid Mon 30-Jun-03 15:55:40

I suspect Rebecca Abrams had a seriously easy first baby then a difficult second and it threw her. Personally I've had the other way round and although it is hard work with two, it is lovely and we all have a lot of fun.

I lost any respect for Rebecca Abrams after I read the part where she says that she didnt go out alone with her two children for a year. I mean for goodness sake, how wet can you get?

aloha Mon 30-Jun-03 15:58:25

I only have one, but I have to say, couples with two say how much more time they have for each other because only children tend to treat their parent as their playmate and can be v demanding, while two kids, esp reasonably close in age, tend to play with each other. My stepdaughter has always wanted us to play with her/swim with her etc esp on holiday, but if she invites a friend round it's as if she's not in the house and dh and I find ourselves thinking, 'what do we do now?". I suspect in that way two is easier than one.

sobernow Mon 30-Jun-03 16:02:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

motherinferior Mon 30-Jun-03 16:09:42

I'm feeling a lot better having read this thread (yep, I read RA too). All I can say at this stage is that I'm as madly in love with dd1 as ever, and actually enjoying dd2 much more than I did dd1 at 5 days, because I'm not panicking every time she moves/doesn't move/breathes.

Wills, do you do fulltime childcare? Because one thing we have done is kept dd1's childminding going - and in fact she's there today, even though dp is on paternity leave, because we are both sooooooo knackered. Worth thinking about - because that's something you don't have with a spritely toddler who is also really enthusiastic about the new baby.

Incidentally, I got highly upset reading Kate Figes' book while pregnant first time as well. My conclusion is that the best thing to buy is a racy and gory thriller instead.

monkey Mon 30-Jun-03 17:02:01

Bin the book! i read it - easy to guess which on you've read! thank God I read it after no. 2 was here. Honestly , I was close to (imaginary) slitting my wrists after reading that bloody book. I feel very strongly that she has done women kind, particularly expectant mothers (who are about as sensitive & sujestable (spelling gone to pot in my wrath & ire!) as you can get, on the whole) a HUGE disservice. I still feel angry thinking about it & I stupidly read it 2 years ago.

I did find it pretty hard going the 1st few months, but mainly because I, as usual, set my standards and expectations WAY too high. I'm now expecting my 3rd - so it can't all be bad, pnd & mental illness can it? - and my vow this time is to CHILL OUT - and avoid stupid books like hers.

I'm not particulalry a baby person anyway, but once I got into the swing of it, it was plain sailing. (ahem!)

And to confirm what Aloha says, I feel I have a much easier time with my 2 that my best mates do with their 1's. They are constantly in demand to play, for attention, they are much more 'babied' too. When we see each other I can laze on the settee drinking my hot tea while they're always in demand for one thing or another.

Now my neighbour has 3; 7,5 & 3, and she is always lying on a sun lounger in the garden while the kids just play together. How is that for positive feedback! Haven't bought my sunlonger yet though.

Queenie Mon 30-Jun-03 17:30:18

I have found highs and lows with my 2 as they are 24 months apart but right now I can hear my dd laughing with my ds as he has just woken from his nap and as he is now a crawler she finds him "fun". I am sure things get easier as they get older as they are company for each other. I also am less focused on no. 1 and this has to be good for her - friends with only 1 are so wrapped up in their precious child that they practically live their lives for them, fight their pre-school battles and talk about them constantly. With 2+ you will regain your self somehow over the months. I wouldn't change a thing except alittle more sleep now and then.

WideWebWitch Mon 30-Jun-03 18:54:05

Wills, I read that book too, got scared, asked a few friends with more than one if it was really that bad (they said no) and shoved it to the back of the cupboard. So I agree with everyone here, bin it! I know the feeling, I really worried on first reading it too. IIRC she says going from 1 to 2 is as hard as going from 0 - 1, which I find hard to believe, quite frankly. I can believe it's going to be different, but surely it can't be the same as the shock of first time round, it simply can't be. I'll let you know if I've changed my mind in Dec/Jan but I doubt it.

tamum Mon 30-Jun-03 19:00:39

I haven't read the book (luckily it wasn't around when I was pregnant with number 2), but reading what you quoted, wickedwaterwitch, makes me completely gobsmacked. No, you're right, of course it's nowhere near as hard as going from 0 to 1! I had a hard time the first few months, both healthwise and adjusting psychologically, but it wasn't anything like as hard as coming home with number 1, by miles.

kmg1 Mon 30-Jun-03 19:07:34

I actually liked the Rebecca Adams book - but I did read it when my youngest was about 2 - so it rang some bells for me, rather than made me horror-struck about what was to come!

When I was heavily pregnant with ds1 a lady said to me "All babies should be second babies, as they are so much easier to cope with" ... and I know exactly what she meant. With no.2 you are SO much more laidback and relaxed, and experienced - and certainly in my case certainly having two to juggle made me a better parent.

In toddler groups I always notice that if someone needs a bit of help, the parents who jump in and assist are always those with two or more children, because they are used to 'looking out'. The parents with only one are completely occupied and far too busy just looking after one ...

Mine are 22 months apart, and I actually found the first 9 months much easier than I expected, even though I had both at home 24/7 for the whole of that time. The tricky bit for us was the 12 months between the baby getting mobile and learning to communicate.

What is your age-gap going to be?

janh Mon 30-Jun-03 19:51:06

sobernow, I could have written your first post here - it was amazing to feel the rush of love for DD2, after worrying that I wouldn't because I loved DD1 so much. I was also over-protective of DD2, and expected far too much of DD1 (who was just 3 at the time), but still felt the same for both. (In our case the over-protectiveness was entirely displaced as DD2 is well able to look after herself thank-you-very-much - quote from DD1 aged about 5 - "DD2, if you keep hitting me I won't be your dear sister any more"!)

The developing relationship between them as they got older was marvellous - I envy them, as I don't have a sister, and they are very close (now aged 21 and 18).

Yes, it is hard work going from 1 to 2, and getting out of the house is a big struggle, especially if you are lazy and disorganised like me, but IT IS WORTH IT, WILLS!

(scuse shouting!)

anais Mon 30-Jun-03 20:26:37

Agree with what everyone has said here - I though Princesspeahead's post was particularly articulate and comprehensive.

I was one who had an easy first baby and a more difficult second. Ds was a wonderful calm, laid back child (so unlike his mum!) where dd is a very hands-on, inquisitive child, very demanding of attention, and gets very frustrated if she can't do something. There was also the added problem that I'm a single mum, and when I had ds I was living with my parents so had lots of support. By the time dd came along we were in our own place (and had been for a year), so I really was in at the deep end. It has been wonderful. Hard work, yes, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I have 2 beautiful children, who (most of the time) get on beautifully.

Does anyone ever really regret having children? Having one child is tough - but you cope, and you've obviously gone on to conceive no 2, so it obviously wasn't so tough you couldn't cope. The same applies second time around. And look how many go on to have no 3, no 4 or even more. If it was so bad then people wouldn't, would they? I would like a minimum of 4, preferably more. So that's my answer!

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