Will I Love My Second Baby the Same?

sara second child
Image via Sara McTigue

When you’re expecting your first child, there are so many questions. Will I be a good parent? Will I be able to stay home/work/balance what I want? Will my baby be cute? (Admit it – you wondered it at least once!)

When you’re expecting your second child, there is one question that causes great concern. Will I love this child the same as my first? Today, I’m offering you the definitive answer. No. You won’t love your second child the same.

Your first child makes you a parent. It’s a life-changing transformation that can never be duplicated. Their entry into your world is a catalyst for change like you’ve likely never seen. It’s not often that a single moment transforms everything that you thought you knew and understood about the world.

There is a quote by Vernon Law; “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.” This is what having your first is about. You are constantly worrying about your failures, because just when you start to think you’ve got it figured out, your little one stumps you again.

Your first child throws a Grinch move on your heart – it grows three sizes, and you suddenly realize that love is more than you ever imagined it could be. You’ll celebrate every milestone like it’s the first time any baby has ever accomplished something as miraculous as rolling over or finding her toes.

So, what happens when you have your second?

Your second child makes you real. Remember the Velveteen Rabbit? Only when you’re loved by a child, can you become real.

“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand… once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.” (I hope nobody experiences eyeballs dropping out as an after-effect of childbirth, but hair loss and looking shabby? Spot on.)

That’s not to say that the time with your first wasn’t real. It was very, very real. But adding your second makes the time with your first resonate even more. Now your heart expands beyond even the triple-sizing of the Grinch. But it also moves around, creating spaces much like a Venn diagram, to hold all the new love and old love and intertwined love filling it up. 

This time around, though, you don’t have that luxury of focusing all your attention in one place. And that is a good thing. You learn to roll with things, to multitask, and to brush off the failures that used to obsess you and keep moving forward. You learn to embrace the small moments and to enjoy the quiet times.

You’ll learn that your first child isn’t the most perfect being in all of creation. Because that would mean that your second is somehow less than – and that’s not possible. So you begin to realize that perfection isn’t the goal or the focus. You learn to appreciate your children not for their firsts or their achievements, but for who they are: their idiosyncrasies, their strange habits, the things that make them just so – them.

And so you can’t love them the same. Because you’ll love them each as they are – which is exactly as they are supposed to be. And while you’ll have moments where you may wish that one was more like the other, you’ll find that the love you have for each is boundless, and that in finding the balance in your life, finding a way to balance your love isn’t a concern. 

What do you think?

Will I Love My Second Baby the Same?

Sara McTigue is a secret agent, cupcake chef, award winning author, photographer, and PTA mom. At least, that is how things look in her mind. When she isn’t testing the bounds of her imagination, she is a mom to three amazing and hilariously funny children, wife to a charming and handsome man, and thoroughly addicted to reading. With a BS in English Education and an MA in English Literature, words – and their ability to shape our lives and thoughts – are an everyday fascination. Af ... More

Tell us what you think!

14 comments

  1. Profile photo of Bethany Bethany says:

    Thank you for this article. Like the other comments on here I have been nervous as well. I read something else that also said you don’t love them the same, but in their own ways. My husband and I have already discussed as well giving our 3 year old son special time.

  2. Profile photo of Brenda Brenda says:

    I am due with my 2nd at the end of this month. I will admit that I have been worried about being able to provide enough love, stability, etc for two children. I also worry tremendously about the effect the baby will have on my 22 month old son. He is so sweet, loving and cuddly that I worry he will feel rejected once the baby is here. My husband and I have discussed ways to ensure he does not feel this way that includes special date nights with each of us once or twice a week.

  3. Profile photo of MamaCat MamaCat says:

    What a great article. I was worried about that – and still am a little I suppose – but seeing how much my daughter loves her baby sister and she isn’t even here yet makes me think we will all be ok.

  4. Profile photo of Amanda Amanda says:

    his gas really been weighing on my mind-glad you’ve addressed it!

  5. Profile photo of PrettyBoogs PrettyBoogs says:

    Sad to say but some people, like my mother, struggled to find the balance.. I can only hope that I grown and learn from that and have a bit more to offer if I chose to have multiple children. I may not.. after all it is a touchy subject for me.

  6. Profile photo of Grace Grace says:

    each baby is loved, you don’t have less love for one just as much love for each

  7. Profile photo of Grace Grace says:

    agree very well put, i love my children!!!

  8. Profile photo of Morgan Hart Morgan Hart says:

    Very well put…and exactly the truth! It has been so funny for me because I had our second around the same time that some of my friends had their first. We talk about our little ones so differently…they usually so focused on what baby reached which milestone, worried when one doesn’t hit that goal when "the book" says they should….I know that was me the first time through, but find that I’m able to enjoy my second in a different way since I’ve learned not to care so much about those things and just enjoy the daily moments. No, your second doesn’t get all your undivided attention, but I think most mommies are more relaxed the second time through, so it balances out:)

  9. Profile photo of DEANN DEANN says:

    I really needed to see this article today as I lament in not anticipating the second child with the same anticipation as the first, not getting the same type of maternity photos, mainly, not writing in a journal like I did the first time, but nevertheless with anticipation. As the cover of the Journal I bought for her while I was pregnant (but cannot find at the moment 🙁 before I knew she was a girl, says "She may not be Perfect, but she is Perfectly Loved." My sentiments exactly.

  10. Profile photo of Anne Anne says:

    This article is very helpful and makes me feel a ton better. I really want a second but this was one of my main concerns along with sharing my time between two children. So glad I read this!

  11. Profile photo of Heather Heather says:

    How beautiful! This makes me even more determined to add to my family. 🙂

  12. Profile photo of sheenaholman sheenaholman says:

    I would agree that you love differently but one is not greater than the other.

×

Want to help make EverydayFamily better?

Take a short survey

Send this to a friend