On April 23, 2012 I took a deep breath and published a blog post that I was nervous to share. I confessed that my swollen belly made me anxious. I wasn’t ready to have two kids. In fact, I was flat out scared that I wasn’t going to be able to step up to the challenge.
So is it scary to having more than one kid after all? Yes. And no. Parenthood is scary in general. I don’t think it matters if you have 1 kid or 11 kids. I’m confident that I will always be wondering if I’m doing it right.
3 Struggles We Had Going from 1 to 2 Kids
1) Grace loved Noah deeply and adhored holding her new little brother. However, she was not a fan of me breastfeeding. It is possible that she remembered nursing and felt jealous, but even if she didn’t remember it was clear to her that I was doing something very intimate with Noah that she wasn’t able to do. She cried and wanted on my lap whenever I nursed him for the first couple of days.
It broke my heart to see Grace’s tears and jealousy. I had been worried about how Grace would handle sharing mommy and daddy and this type of reaction was exactly what I had feared. It was difficult to balance my clingy toddler, hungry newborn, new-mama guilt, and my need for some personal space!
Thankfully, this stage didn’t last long and Grace quickly overcame her insecurities. In the moment it felt long and heartbreaking, but ultimately it only lasted a few days.
2) Getting enough sleep was certainly a challenge. At night, Nate and I each had a child we were in charge of. I took care of all of Noah’s needs. If Grace woke up, then Nate was on duty. Although I wasn’t getting a ton of sleep, that method helped. I also napped daily when Grace napped in the afternoon. Of course it was just the worst. thing. ever when Noah and Grace didn’t coordinate their nap times. Those days felt like eternity.
3) The biggest challenge (after I started getting enough sleep at night!) was the feeling of constantly being needed for something. My “down time” significantly decreased. Someone is always asking for something. I’ve even told my children, “Stop asking me for things!” Some days aren’t so bad and then there are others when I feel like I’m going insane.
How Having More Than One Kid is Actually Easier
Now that Noah is a little older, he and Grace play together. all. the. time. It isn’t always a peaceful playtime, but it is a lovely experience. Now that I’m not Grace’s number one playmate, it is easier for me to do laundry and prepare meals. Plus it is just plain adorable.
Nate and I always knew that we wanted more than 1 child. It was easy to take the plunge and have our second child even though I worried about my abilities as a mother. We don’t regret having Noah for an instant. He is amazing and we are lucky to have him.
Now that we have 2 children, the big question is:
Will we have 3???
All of those same fears I wrote about in 2012 come rushing back when I think about adding another little one to my family. Additionally, there are several new questions and fears.
1) Do we really want to hit the reset button again? Life is starting to get a bit easier. Everyone is sleeping through the night. We don’t worry about little ones falling down the stairs. I can see a light at the end of the diaper tunnel. That reset button takes us back to all of that again.
2) Can we afford 3 children? It isn’t all about money. I’m sure we would make due, but more children means there is less money to go around for big things like braces, college, and weddings.
3) Can we fit 3 children in our home? This is 100% a first world problem. We can totally fit another person in here, but the logistics still give me pause.
4) How far apart do we want our children? I like the idea of my children enjoying the same types of things at the same time. My sister and brother are 12 and 10 years older than I am, so this wasn’t the reality in my house. Yet wouldn’t it be nice if we could go to the park as a family and all of the children are still young enough to enjoy being there?
5) Am I willing to put my body through another pregnancy and birth? Sadly, I have learned that a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery are not a guarantee. Another pregnancy would be met with a new sense of fear. Plus it is highly likely that I would need to have another c-section. I didn’t love the first one.
6) What will a 3rd child do to our marriage? AKA: Will anyone ever be willing to watch 3 kids so we can enjoy a date night???
I am jealous of the couples who are confident in their family size. I wish I had the confidence to know with certainty that Nate and I are done having children or to know with certainty that there is another baby coming. But I don’t know. I just don’t know.
One thing I do know with certainty is that whether we are a family of 4 or a family of 5, we are one awesome family. I am so thankful.
I would love to hear your experiences. What influenced your decision to have or not have more children? How did your family adjust to bringing home a new baby?