There’s really nothing like experiencing pregnancy for the first time — tracking your poppy seed’s growth closely each week, all the reading and research about how to take care of yourself and a new baby, the shock, awe, excitement and wonder of it all… then comes baby number two. Things are a little different. In some ways it’s even more magical because you can look at your first child and know that you are growing another one of them in your belly — a real, live beautiful baby with a unique personality, disposition, hopes and dreams.
Your second pregnancy can also come with some heavy emotions and questions of its own: How will I survive life with two? What will happen to my relationship with my firstborn? Will my first child hate me for taking attention away from them to care for the baby? How will our family dynamic change by adding another baby to the mix? How will I get anything done with two kids to take care of? I can barely handle one!
It’s very normal to feel sadness and even mourn the loss of life as you know it with your firstborn. If you think back to your first pregnancy, you might even remember having these same types of fears about what life will look like bringing a baby into your family and how it might affect your relationship with your significant other. Looking ahead to the future with some apprehension is totally understandable, and it’s also very possible to feel all these feels and simultaneously be incredibly excited to meet this sweet, new babe. There are some things you can do to help prepare yourself emotionally for this transition from one to two children. See our tips below!
Give yourself permission to feel sad. Some mothers are confused and ashamed by their feelings of sadness surrounding the upcoming birth of their second child. They feel at the same time so very lucky to be pregnant, and yet utterly gutted at the thought of what this new baby will do to their existing relationship with their first child. Feelings are a funny thing, and beating yourself up for feeling what you do only exacerbates the problem. Soon you’ll find yourself in a vicious cycle of feeling sad, then feeling bad for feeling sad and on and on. Let yourself be sad, scared, mad, whatever the emotion may be. Acknowledge it. Face it. Assure yourself that it is 100% okay to feel this way and then move on.
Talk to friends/family who have already gone through this transition. Sometimes the best way to make the unknown feel less daunting is to have deep, meaningful conversations with those who have gone before us and experienced what we are about to go through. Talk to someone who can share some words of wisdom and perhaps put your mind and heart at ease as you face the transition from one to two children.
Try journaling. It’s been proven that journaling, especially in the throes of something difficult, can provide both physical and mental benefits. University of Texas at Austin psychologist James Pennebaker even believes that “writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your health.” Take time whenever you are feeling especially emotional to write down some of your thoughts and feelings — getting them out and acknowledging them can sometimes be the biggest challenge. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel after!
Lastly, know that it is true what they say — your heart does not split in two when you welcome another child, but expands to fit all the love for all of your children. Soon you will see that you are giving your first child the greatest gift of a sibling and you won’t be able to imagine life any other way…. until your next baby arrives!