When I found out I was pregnant with my second baby, my oldest had just turned one. I’d always wanted more than one child, but with the reality sinking in, my excitement was dampened by a nagging sense of fear and dread that having a second child would in some way alter or weaken the loving relationship that I had nurtured with my firstborn. I stressed, worried, and cried over questions like,
How will I have enough love for two babies when I love my first so much?
What if my oldest won’t love me as much after the baby because he thinks I like the baby more?
How will I have enough time and energy to give both children the love and attention they need?
How can I ease the transition for the oldest child?
After many tears, I began to use the time I knew I had left with just me and the oldest to make more “just us” memories and read up on ways to help ease the transition from one to two babies.
Take a deep breath and know what you’re feeling is normal
Midway through my pregnancy, I read a post in a Facebook mom’s group asking similar questions to what I had. Overwhelmingly, the moms responded with varying versions of “your love will double” or “it just happens.” Those answers eased my mind, but not every expecting mother is lucky enough to stumble upon a message like that.
In the years since I had my second baby, I’ve heard more than a handful of moms continue to ask the same questions. Apparently, I was not alone, and this is a common fear among moms. Having had my second baby, I would like to ease your mind, by answering three of the biggest questions I’ve had and heard others ask!
How will I have enough love for two babies, when I love my first so much?
Based on the fact that you asked that question to begin with, you can be assured that you have some superhuman mom love that cannot be diminished. As God loves his billions of children all the same, you, too, have the capacity to love more than one. The Bible says that God make man in his image and likeness, so by that, we can know that we have an infinite amount of love to share with the world, and with more than one child! For the scientific-minded people, think of it this way—when one cell divides into two during mitosis, the cells are duplicated, yet both complete and unimpaired. So too will your love be! Your love will grow and intensify. Your children will be at multiple stages in life, so you can love your oldest while he/she is walking and jumping, while, at the same time, loving the baby snuggles that your youngest gives you. You love your child in different ways at different times as he/she grows, so too is it with loving multiple children. You have many ways to love them each!
What if my oldest won’t love me anymore after the baby?
As with the other, this is a great question. Things will absolutely change for your oldest child, and it is important for someone else to care for the baby so that you can still have time for just the two of you. However, it is important to remember that you have spent months, if not years, building a relationship with your oldest, and the bond that you two share will not be diminished overnight. Rather, your bond will grow stronger because you will have new challenges, experiences, and adventures to work through together!
Additionally, what few people mention is that your oldest now gets extra love and attention, and will enjoy being the center of baby’s attention. It will take a few weeks for the baby to notice the older child, and longer until the baby is able to react or interact with the oldest, but the moment the oldest does something to make the baby laugh, the oldest is hooked for life. The oldest realizes he/she has the ability to make the baby happy and laugh, just like mommy and daddy! And that moment when the oldest makes the baby laugh for the first time? Make sure you’re around for it, because that is one of the single greatest feelings as a parent! By having that second baby, you made it possible for your oldest to know the joy of making someone else happy.
What are some things I can do to help ease the transition for the oldest, and how will I have the time?
One thing I’d heard repeatedly before my second was born was to have a little gift prepared for the oldest that is “from” the baby. Obviously this is more effective for older first children, as younger ones won’t understand or care who the gift is from. Additionally, the new toy will provide a distraction for the oldest to play with while family members “ooh and ahh” over the baby.
Another thing you can do is to make one-on-one time for you and your spouse with the oldest. Make sure the oldest knows that he/she is still very loved by you. Remember, too, that babies sleep a lot. It is fully possible to play and interact with your oldest while the baby sleeps in your arms or in the bassinet. Keeping the oldest in his/her routine as much as possible, whether that be daycare, school, grandparents, etc., is also important, for the child to know that his/her whole life isn’t being up-ended. Finally, give the oldest special “jobs” and give praise to the child for being helpful and being kind to the baby. Let the oldest give lots of (safe) love to the baby so they can bond too!
I hope these answers have been able to put your mind more at peace over having a second child and help your family ease into the transition. Remember, a mother’s love is impeccably strong. You have likely faced innumerable hurdles already raising your first child, and you have overcome every single one. Adding a new baby to the family will be no different. You got this, momma!