Before I had my second son I thought I'd heard it all. I knew to accept a rocky transition and to be on the look out for sibling rivalry. I expected it to be twice as much work and knew better than to expect another baby with the same temperament. I'd been warned that a second child would teach me how little I'd learned from the first. So I felt pretty prepared, but no one ever warned me about this one thing.
No one ever told me that having a second child would make me want a third.
When I was pregnant with my second our plan was to make an appointment for permanent birth control shortly after the baby arrived. Fast-forward 18 months later and that appointment never got scheduled. My husband and I always planned on having just two children, but since the arrival of our second son, we're having a hard time calling him our last.
To be fair, part of the reason no one told me that I'd want more kids is because not everyone feels that way. However, now that I'm a card carrying member of the multiple children club, I was surprised to hear just how many people with two craved more and how many parents of three and four kids originally thought they'd stop at two. It turns out there is something about that second baby that convinces you that you could do it all again; the pregnancy, the labor, the sleepless nights. In fact, even though all of those things can be incredibly hard, that second child drives home just how worth it they are.
This experience makes expanding your family change from something daunting to something wonderful.
The reason that that second child creates a desire for more kids is difficult to put your finger on. I think it's an intoxicating mix of confidence and love. When you have one child your family revolves around them, making it difficult to imagine a different dynamic. Once your second child arrives that big scary transition isn't so big and scary anymore. It turns out there really is plenty of love to go around. And I personally noticed that we all benefitted from a shift in focus. This experience makes expanding your family change from something daunting to something wonderful.
For me having two kids, while more work, is also more fun. I feel like I finally got the hang of this motherhood thing. As a mother of two kids I feel so much more relaxed. I don't just know that a difficult phase is temporary on an intellectual level, I trust it in my bones. Plus, I know from experience how quickly they grow, I'm not sure I'm ready to be done with that glorious little baby phase.
It is true that every baby is totally different and I faced extremely different challenges with my first and second, but I still benefitted from having had a baby before. I've been able to give myself some grace, and it turns out I really enjoy being a mom, so much so, that if I was younger and more affluent I would likely be planning on having at least two more.
Ultimately, I feel a little bit like a love junkie. Nothing can prepare you for the immense love you have for your child—it's so powerful that you worry you won't be able to feel that strongly for another. But you soon learn that such a concern is totally unfounded, the love seems to grow exponentially. Once you break the one-baby barrier you know deep down that this miraculous love knows no bounds and you're tempted to push it's limits. I can't say for sure that we will try for another child, but I can say that my second son taught me to never say never.