My husband started asking when we could "have another" when our first child was around six months old. I brushed off such a ludicrous idea. Of course we weren't going to "have another" yet. Who needs another tiny baby when you already have one?
The conversation kept coming up and I kept putting him off. I wasn't ready. I had heard all the horror stories of what life with more than one kid was like and constantly heard other moms bemoaning their exhaustion and talking about "how much harder" life was once one more kid was added to the mix. I just didn't feel like I was ready to sign up for this.
Then it happened. I got pregnant and proceeded to spend the next nine months of my life in a state of half excitement and half terror (but mostly terror). I was basically convinced having two kids was going to be the worst thing ever. I mean, yes, I really wanted my daughter to have a sibling and also baby snuggles do not suck; but everything else I was totally dreading. The postpartum, the breastfeeding, the sleepless nights, the juggling of two children, the fear of being outnumbered all day long when I was home by myself, the worry that I was going to ruin the special bond I had with my firstborn.
Everyone lamented how "terrible, but worth it" it would all be, but I was quickly learning that for me, the "worth it" far outweighed the terrible.
The thing is, pregnancy couldn't care less about your trepidation and isn't about to slow down so you can take your time to feel more prepared. Ready or not, my baby arrived and I waited. I waited for the postpartum hell. I waited to feel the pure sadness. I waited for the blanket of overwhelming stress to weigh me down... but it didn't. I kept waiting for everything to be so hard, because that's how it felt for me the first time around, but this time it didn't feel like that at all.
Of course there were a few sad moments and times when I thought, "this task would be so much easier with just one kid." But overall it was infinitely better than I expected. Postpartum was better. Breastfeeding was better. The newborn sleep deprivation was better (even though he slept just as terribly as any other newborn—I guess I just learned how to thrive on less sleep.) Everyone lamented how "terrible, but worth it" it would all be, but I was quickly learning that for me, the "worth it" far outweighed the terrible.
As I see my children getting older (at 3.5 years and 15 months respectively,) I love seeing the unique bonds I've developed with each of them grow and change, but even more than that I love seeing the relationship between the two of them grow. My little boy truly thinks his big sister hung the moon and she has so much love the little guy that it's literally bubbling over in a flurry of snuggles and kisses all day long. It is so worth it. Every last stretch mark, every last yell-induced headache, every last inconvenience. I would do it over and over again (although, you better believe I still prefer taking only one child at a time on grocery outings or, even better, going solo!)
So to you mamas who are thinking about having a second child or who are pregnant with your second child or who are in the throes of the early days with your second child, take heart. It's only going to get better and better.