The Curse of Being Born Second

Image via Flickr/ M Glasgow

 We've all heard of the middle-child syndrome, right? You know, the one where the kid who was unfortunate enough to be born right in the middle of the sibling lineup has the most difficult life out of anyone in the family?

Well, “Second-Baby Syndrome” is somewhat similar to that, and it's disconcerting enough for one mom that she decided to put her ideas down and express her worry about how the babies that are second in line get the short end of the stick (and sometimes not even a stick at all).

{ MORE: Will I Love My Second Child as Much as My First? }

Colleen Seto from the Calgary Herald in good ole Canada talks about how, with her second child, she doesn't feel like she is able to put much focus and effort into her new baby because her firstborn is still demanding her attention and her care.

“I admired [my firstborn] for hours, in awe that this little person was mine. With [my second born], I barely got through a feeding without being pulled away to attend to [my firstborn] or other duties. Plus, I was exhausted and in pain from the C-section. It ddidn'tmake for an ideal parent/child-bonding scenario.”

She goes on to say that “while first babies seem to have every move examined, documented, and often celebrated as they play with the best toys and eat the best food, a second baby is lucky to get any ballyhoo of the sort.”

She uses Facebook as the main evidence of firstborn babies getting the limelight, while baby number two gets somewhat left behind. 

I kind of can see that. First babies are so exciting because everything is so new, and since I'm from Utah, people here have so many kids that they could field a football team with both offensive and defensive players. When I see photos of second babies on Facebook, the fanfare doesn't seem to be there, and I think people look at the picture and say, “She's already a mom—she's already had a baby—so that excitement has gone away.”

{ MORE: Busy Philipps on the Second Child Difference }

Another mom, who sees this sort of neglect to the second child, said that since a mother has been through all of the exciting stuff just a few years previous with her firstborn, she thinks taking care of baby number two is “more about survival and getting through the day than taking the time to enjoy every moment.”

Do you think this is even a real thing? Can you empathize with moms of more than one child? Let me know in the comments!


What do you think?

The Curse of Being Born Second

Jace Whatcott is a self-diagnosed introvert who loves crossword puzzles, golf, and reading. Despite being a male contributor—one of the few on this particular website—he is not in unfamiliar territory. Because he is an English major, 90% of his classmates are females, so he’s not too worried about being a fish out of water. One of his favorite things to do is to raid local thrift stores for used books. He’s always looking for something to read, or for something to put on his endless to-r ... More

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  1. Jennifer says:

    this isnt all true. as much as i am more tired and that my toddler is 18months its a new challenge for moms. i feel its more hectic at times that we are not able to take more pictures or post them on facebook like with the first. but surely i dont love my second child less or neglect. its with the first child that we gained alot of experience that with the second will we be doing things different. the only part where probably this article is that i have seen where parents only wanted 1 and got pregnant again by accident that they still pay attention to their first and kinda neglect the second child.

  2. natasha says:

    This is a load of bull. I love both of my baby’s so much it hurts. Every one is so excited with the new arrival of my little girl in 08-29-14. And everyone was just as excited about my son born 08-28-12. My biggest concern about having my second was how he was going to do with her. He loves her to death, he keeps saying “my sissy” and “aww she’s cute” then kissing her head. I had a section with both of them. They are my world.

  3. natalie says:

    I don’t really find this to be true. I mean, the focus is not so intense because I have another child, just like the 2nd pregnancy was a little more on the back burner because I was taking care of a 2 year old, but my 2nd son has lots of pictures on facebook–there is no shortage of photos of either of my boys, haha– and his baby book is even better documented than my older son’s. He has a little more freedom to explore than my older son did and his schedule is not as set in stone, but he still gets plenty of attention and focus. I actually think it benefits him to not have me as intensely focused on him as I was on my older son. I try to make sure both have some one on one mommy time and while they share toys, they both get their own toys too. Granted, my younger son mainly wears hand me down clothes, but to be honest, a lot of said hand me downs were from the thrift store or gifts or hand me downs for my older son too. I’ll grant that we really focused on helping my older son to adjust to the baby, but not to the detriment of our younger son. The one major thing is that with our older son we got Christmas/Easter/Birthday portraits with him, but with our younger son we’ve just done our regular annual family portraits, but I got a nicer infant portrait package from the hospital with my second son, so there are plenty of portraits of both of them on our walls, haha. I’ll grant that I’m spread a little more thinly this time around and my second son has eaten a couple things that we would not have dreamed of giving our older son at this age (cookies/hot dog/french fries–home made, but still/etc–he still eats healthy food for the most part and the cookies were because he got into the cookie jar, haha)…

    • ovation says:

      Totally agree with u. I have 2 boys and your writing is pretty much how it’s gone in our house. Actually my youngest has gotten the benefit of mommy staying home since day one where as I had to return to work after my oldest was born. We are fortunately in a better place financially that I can stay home. The biggest thing with food is there’s things I would have never have given my first born that my second has eaten is mainly because my youngest wants to do everything my oldest is. So I think he’s actually grown up faster since we want to be so much like big brother. Lol.

  4. Erin says:

    This really is true. I am the second in my family of 5. My older sister had a lot of bragging and privileges that I was not. They were stricter on me as well, and I can honestly say I behaved and was even a teacher’s pet in school. She was the first grandchild in my moms and dads families, so she got a lot of attention from everyone. By the time I was born, there were babies seemingly everywhere, I was born having my sister, and 3 cousins. There are less pictures, with way more of my older sister in the 3 and a half years before I was born. My younger sister was born just 19 months after me, so I did not stay the baby for long either. And because my mom expected my younger sister to be her last, a whole lot of pictures ensued. My mom and I talked about all of it in more recent years, and I am not angry about it. I found it really interesting. I am now a mother of 2 myself. My son is 4 and a half, and my daughter is almost 2. I had 2 miscarriages before my son, so the bond I formed with him started out very clingy on my end. He is the first grandson for my parents, and my in-laws, so he’s gained a lot of attention based on that fact. The second child is really that overwhelming time when you realize that the way you raised you first child will not be the way you raise you second, and so on and so forth. I have had so much time to form a bond with my son, and I am so afraid of making him think I care about him any less than when it was just him. I make time for each of them individually and together. I do feel closer to my son than I do my daughter, and I am worried if that will change as she starts talking and sharing her thoughts as openly as my son does. My son is a sweetheart most of the time, with small meltdowns here and there, where he still voices what is bothering him. My daughter is usually screeching and screaming, but she has moments where she is a sweetheart as well. Both of them do little things to melt my heart. They randomly give me hugs and kisses, and bring me books to read to them, and follow me everywhere, even at the park when I am trying to get them to play with other children. My son will take my picture and say he loves me super much, and that I’m the best mommy in the world. My daughter will bring me a hairbrush for me to brush her hair, helps pick up toys and the like, and she eats most of my cooking while saying Mmmm. I have taken a lot less in terms of photos of my daughter. This is partially due to the fact, I do not have the camera or tablet I had when I took most of the pictures of my son. Even worse, aside from what I have posted to facebook, I lost everything when 1) my harddrive crashed with over 2000 pictures on my laptop, and my tablet with over 600 pictures was stolen and not found. I have almost 400 pictures on my old phones memory card, but my new phone does not have a high quality camera because I had bought my tablet at the time just for pictures and videos. Anyways, I feel like my son is my favorite because he’s my first, he’s a boy, he’s not as whiney, and his personality has had the time to develop, where my daughter is still learning what it means to be herself. It’s not always the case of the first being the favorite though, I know some who think of children like pancakes; the first one you make is a throwaway.

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