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Why I'm Excited and Terrified For Baby No. 2

Here we go again.

I didn't have super-strong feelings about having more than one kid; I'm not one of those people who thinks only children are lonely, messed-up types. (I'm married to one, after all.) But if it worked out, I wanted to go for it for the following reasons, in no particular order:

1. Our son just seems like an older sibling, if that makes sense. He's outgoing and caring and smart and (like all kids/people) self-centered; I think a younger brother or sister would be both a gift and a good challenge for him.

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2. I wanted him to have a friend to play with in both the metaphorical and literal pool. This angle is based off a pool party I attended last summer, where I ended up hanging out with a desperately bored seven-year-old only child whose parents couldn't be bothered to pay attention to him. I selfishly want the best of both worlds: to enjoy the pool party myself but for my kid to have someone to speak to aside from a somewhat-buzzed 34-year-old.

3. When my husband and I are old and decrepit and falling apart, I want my son to have some help when it comes to sorting through our things and dealing with us in general. That is, of course, assuming he and his sibling will be friends and not be estranged, which is something that I know happens. I'm trying to be optimistic yet realistic.

Everybody (and their mother) is happy to tell you that two children is much more than twice as hard as just one plus one.

But two is all I have plans for. I've never really dreamt of a huge, rowdy family, plus this pregnancy has been tougher on me than the first time around. It's not making me want to do it again. So two should be just fine.

That is, if I can hack it. Both the nice and the terrifying thing about being a first-time parent is that there are so many unknowns. It's simply impossible to anticipate how you'll react to parenthood and what will prove the be the most significant challenges. This time, I have an idea. I have been through the sleepless nights and the hormone shifts and the frustration of trying to figure out what a newborn wants.

There also is, as Donald Rumsfeld would say, known unknowns. And that's what scares me. Everybody and their mother is happy to tell you that two children is much more than twice as hard as just one plus one. Exactly how that will affect me, we'll see. I know for damn sure it won't be easy.

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And sometimes, I just don't know, you guys. How are we going to do this, exactly? When I get home from work at 5, I often don't have the energy to do the very basic things I'm supposed to do: empty the dishwasher, fold the laundry, throw some food together, entertain my child—even with the help of my husband, who will take on these tasks for me, even with a great lady who comes by every other week to do the serious cleaning.

In there, somewhere, I have occasional plans to be creative and social and eventually lose baby weight and brush my hair and remember everyone's birthdays but I'm not sure when that's going to happen. How am I going to pull this off with two kids? My pleasant "it'll work itself out" bubble is sometimes burst by a moment of "Holy crap. Will it? How is this going to happen?"

I'll figure it out eventually. I hope. I'll get more of a schedule down. Our son will become more self-sufficient. So will the next kid. My energy will come back. My priorities will realign and so will my perspective. I hope. I hope. I hope this is going to happen. Because sometimes, I just don't know.

Image via Getty Images

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