Preparing the heart for the second baby

I’ve been sitting in the baby’s room, rocking back and forth in our brand new antique white Valco baby nursing chair for the better part of an hour. Instead of writing anything down (something I’ve been wanting to do for days), I’ve found so many other things to do instead. I’ve checked and responded to my emails, continued the process (a surprising and painstakingly long process because I always forget how much time it can take to tweak things properly) of setting up the backend of this blog, have scrolled through my Facebook and Instagram feeds numerous times, and even looked up where to find replacement batteries for our baby monitor (it keeps dying).

The afternoon sun is baiting me into a nap; something I could easily do in this supremely comfortable nursing chair.

In just a few short weeks (maybe even days?!), this room will belong to someone. Someone I have am itching to meet. Someone who has occupied my mind, belly, prayers and heart for the better part of 38 weeks. I am only just starting to slow down and soak in the idea of having two kids.

The first week of maternity leave was spent realising how little we had done to practically prepare for the baby (i.e. organised baby clothes, a change table or bottles, installed the car seat) or labour. Most of the second week was spent traipsing around Sydney with a very congested 4 year old boy, finding all the things I’d forgotten we needed, buying about a hundred things we probably don’t.

And now we are in week 3. And I will be mother to a new born baby very soon. How exciting. Exhilarating. How utterly terrifying.

It’s been four and a half years and I can barely remember what it was like… I do remember the intense sleep deprivation. I remember the first few chaotic weeks in and out of the hospital dealing with jaundice and then infections. I remember the round-the-clock routine of feeding and expressing, trying desperately to keep my milk supply up (only to throw away litres of expressed breast milk months later, after we discovered Mr 4’s allergies ?). I also remember falling deeply in love with this new little human being, and being utterly consumed by him.

These days, I watch him – now a little boy and completely unlike his newborn self (except for the odd occasion when he scratches his head when he’s tired). He has a strong-headed, funny and affectionate personality. He loves cars, Lego, Disney Pixar movies and can spot a Mini Cooper 100m away. He says, “Hey mum… I love you,” in the truly random places; as I drive the car, in a crowded lift, in the middle of K Mart, or while he’s watching a movie. He knows how to make me melt. He also knows how to make me really, really mad.

To be completely honest, I’m a little saddened by the idea of him not being our only child anymore. I know the next chapter is going to be amazing, and the arrival of this new little person is going to make my heart expand more than I thought possible. I know our family is growing, and what a unique blessing that is. And I am truly, stupidly excited to meet our second little Baby A. But I also know that once he/she arrives, and this season of life as we know it is over, it is a time we never get back.

So I’ve been cherishing it. Yesterday I took Mr 4 out and spoilt him silly. We went to the movies and watched Finding Dory. I made him popcorn. We had nuggets and chips for lunch. I bought him his favourite fruit cup for dessert just because he asked me too. We even squeezed in time at the playground even though the sun was already setting and it was freezing outside.

And when his bedtime came and all I wanted to do was get ready for bed myself, I crawled under his doona with him and let him talk for much longer than I should have. I cuddled him tight and indulged his requests for “just one more drink” or “just one more lullaby” or “just one more story”. I closed my eyes when he told me to sleep next to him… but opened them just enough to gaze at his tiny features, trying to memorise what his tiny hands look like, how long and gorgeous his eye lashes are, and to soak in his freshly bathed little toddler scent, and watch him fall asleep (although he didn’t end up falling asleep – he was still wide awake when I left).

All the parenting blogs and books tell me to prepare him for the fact he’s about to go through this crazy transition of becoming a big brother. Of having to share mum and dad.

But no one really tells mums or dads how to prepare to share yourself. When, for so long, your parenting energies have been focussed on one little person, what it will be like and how to suddenly focus on two. This is the part that scares me, because I often feel like I’m already drained as it is. I figure the fact that we can and do adapt to the exponentially growing needs of more children must be the thing that makes being a parent holy work. It is something we only achieve with some help from a divine source. (And perhaps some wine.)

How did you find it when baby 2 (or 3, 4, or 5!) came along? What did you wish you knew?


  1. I just don’t think I can have a second baby. I don’t understand how I could ever love anyone as much as my first!

  2. Helen King says:

    I remember being really worried that I couldn’t possibly love another child as much as I did my first. And – I didn’t / don’t love her the same, but I do love her just as much (in both cases, I didn’t fall in love instantaneously, but over the few days in hospital, we both took each other in, and were besotted – and frustrated with number 2 – just as deeply). As for how we coped, we were a little team for the first few months, as the big boy helped me work out what this little angry crying thing was wanting (he actually had a lot more time with me because I took maternity leave – thanks to baby!) Long time ago now …

    1. Aww super cute that your eldest helps translate baby’s needs – atm every time the baby cries Mr 4 suggests a nappy change. It’s true it’d be impossible to love them the same but certainly just as much. Great words of wisdom right there.

  3. Wishing you all the best. Just when you think you can’t love another child anymore, your heart totally stretches wide open. It will be fabulous!

  4. I hope you get to meet your bub very soon 🙂 it’s lovely, it all comes flooding back 🙂

    1. We met bub number two… and it really did all come flooding back! Even now when I’m feeding him I remember all the time I spent getting to know our first… falling head over heels. It’s a sweet time… must be what makes up for the exhaustion.

  5. Lauren Hunt says:

    How exciting! Reading this transported me back to how I felt getting ready for my little man’s arrival and how those newborn days and weeks felt the second time around. Our 3 year old coped really well when he joined our family – and I just loved having those newborn cuddles but they didn’t last long. He’s 8 months now! I find that Miss 3’s jealousy comes and goes – lately she’s trying to figure out who loves who more – and I try and explain to her that there is enough love for everyone and I love them both the same BUT I did love her first because she is the oldest, which means I’ve loved her for longer. Keeping her in CC for two days has been an absolute sanity saver – that’s my one piece of advice! Good luck! xx

    1. Omg yes! We’ve kept Mr 4 in day care for his 3 days a week (he’s starting school next year so figured there was little point messing with a routine he’s familiar with). I don’t think I’d cope if I had them both 5 days a week on my own without hubby around. Plus I could never have built this blog if I hadn’t had those 3 days a week of peace and quiet!

  6. Oh boy, I can relate to this sooooo much. I really struggled in the last week before #2 came along. I remember about 3 days before I went in to be induced, I had an appointment with my doula and I just broke down about 10 minutes after I arrived. I confessed that I was really scared about how Punky was going to deal with the new baby, and how I was really scared that she would think I didn’t love her anymore because I had a new baby to look after. I was also really sad that I was no longer going to be able to give all of my time to my big girl, and worried that I would miss things because I was distracted by a newborn. I worried that I wouldn’t have enough of everything to give to two children.

    In the end my fears were unfounded, I think it helped too that Punky was only 19 months so she pretty much took the new addition in her stride, she wasn’t too fussed by her. But man did I struggle badly in those last few days. Being overdue probably didn’t help my emotions, but it was really amazing how my heart just expanded instantly at birth, and once she was here, all of my worries disappeared. It’s a hard transition, going from one to two, but you’ll be amazed how quickly you adapt and it becomes your new normal. Good luck with it all, you’ll be amazing!

    1. Thank you Kylie! So glad to hear I’m not the only mum who got crazy emotional in the last few days. That post ended up being the last one I wrote before baby popped out. I ended up being induced because my waters broke but labour didn’t start, so I have this photo of me, hubby and Mr 4, just before I went to the hospital. Our last photo as a family of 3 ❤️

      It’s now been 5 weeks, and you’re right – my fears were unfounded. The heart just expands and out of nowhere, having 2 kids is the new normal. It’s been wonderful but at the same time, overwhelming and crazy navigating life and routines with 2 attention-demanding humans. Will have to share that in a post for another day! ?

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