• Wed, Apr 24 - 11:00 am ET

I’m Already Fretting About All The Attention My Unborn Second Child Is Going To Get

toddler with a new babyIt may just be the pregnancy hormones making me extra sappy – but I am having a hard time dealing with the fact that it won’t just be me and my little boy anymore.

It’s been two and a half years. We’re a team. I just can’t imagine it not being that way. Obviously there are others around – his Dad a.k.a the love of my life, for one. But there is a huge chunk of the day – every day – that we have been spending alone together for over two years. It hurts my heart a little that the dynamic is about to change.

I love the fact that I have a daughter on the way. But she’s still in the theoretical phase. Theoretically, she’s mine. I’m huge. I feel her moving around. But she’s not tangible yet. She’s not staring me in the face. She’s not running into the living room when she wakes up screaming, “HI!” I find myself staring wistfully at my child, all day long, thinking about how long it will be before he has my undivided attention again.

That brings up a little bit of guilt. How is he going to react to a new baby being around? How is he going to respond to seeing me constantly holding another child? If she is anything like he was, there is going to be a lot of holding going on. He breastfed every hour and a half for 45 minutes – for about four months. Good God.

Having kids is a constant reminder of how fleeting every stage of your life is. This stage – of being a mother to only one child – is about to come to an end. He’s going to be a big brother. That seriously makes me want to cry. I find myself wondering if he will ever remember this time we had alone together. He’s not even three yet, so I’m thinking he won’t.

I guess I’m just the kind of person that has trouble letting things go, getting older, and adjusting to changes. Yes, I am definitely that person. Just short of 10 years ago – when I decided to quit smoking – I almost didn’t because I wasn’t ready to close that chapter in my life. Smoking somehow signified youth, abandon – a period of my life that I knew was coming to an end because I was entering my 30s. That probably sounds ridiculous – and it is admittedly a pretty weird parallel to make, but at times in my life I become acutely aware of my own mortality. Becoming more aware and responsible for my aging and health was one of them.

Seeing my child grow and the dynamic of our family change is another.

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • AbbyR

    This article describes my thoughts exactly. I love all the time I am able to spend with my son now and feel guilty that future children won’t get the same amount of attention. I feel guilty that my son will have to share my attention. At the same time, I can’t imagine my life without my three siblings and I know things will turn out great.

    • http://twitter.com/MsGail18 MsGail18

      Been there. They will be great. The most significant relationship one has is with a sibling….school, marriage, divorce….are shared with a select few. A sibling is the greatest gift you can give a child.

  • CrazyFor Kate

    It’s scary, but most kids handle a sibling just fine, after some initial bumps. From what I can see, many kids are disappointed that the new baby can’t play with them, so be sure and prepare him for that – but odds are he’s going to love his sister pretty quickly. Good luck with your new baby and your old one!

    • http://twitter.com/MsGail18 MsGail18

      They have big brother/big sister books about this that are very sweet and kind with just concentrating on the positives of being the big kid.

  • smishsmash

    It’s interesting, because I have sort of the opposite situation. My husband is the one who is the primary caretaker of our older son and they have this wonderful close relationship from being together all the time. I’m the parent who rolls in at night after work and frankly, it sort of secretly hurts my feelings that my older son never wants me to kiss his booboos or get him a snack, it’s always his dad because that’s what he’s used to. Now that I’m pregnant with our second, I’m kind of (again secretly) looking forward to the fact that there will be someone who wants to cuddle with me on the couch again because Daddy’s lap is already taken!

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

      awww!

    • http://twitter.com/MsGail18 MsGail18

      Your time will come; sons belong to the mom when they get older. I have three and hugs are wonderful even when they are from boys taller than you.

  • Jussame

    I just went through this exact same thing a few months ago – my just-3-year old son got a baby sister. I have tried to make sure he continues to get all the attention he needs (and avoid jealousy) by never saying I can’t do something because of his little sister, but instead linking everything back to all the things I did for him as a baby. Like instead of “I can’t play right now because I’m nursing the baby” I’ll say “Yes of course I’ll read you that story just as soon as your sister is done having her milk – did you know I used to give you milk like this when you were a baby too and I would play with your toes just like this etc. etc…” I have also taken to ‘talking’ to my son on behalf of the baby (like “boy big brother you sure are good at putting on your PJs I can’t wait until you can teach me how to do that”) which is having the unintended consequence of my son thinking his sister believes he’s the most amazing thing ever (“I’m her favourite boy! She thinks I’m amazing!”), but has also I think contributed to there being absolutely zero jealousy issues (yet). And it doesn’t feel like I’m giving him any less attention than before.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

      That is great advice – thanks!

  • Life-Sized Mommy

    I’m due with my second son the day before my son’s 4th birthday. It feels like the three of us (son, husband, and I) have been a cohesive unit for so long, I’m nervous about how a new addition is going to throw off the math. I’m super-excited about having another baby, and I know my son will be an amazing big brother, but it’s such a big adjustment, for all of us.

    • http://twitter.com/MsGail18 MsGail18

      You may want to buy him his own baby doll with accessories so he can role play. You can buy anatomically correct babies too. Many items are gender neutral so boys don’t have to have a pink doll stroller.

  • LadyClodia

    I was worried about how my older son would react once our younger son was born (they’re just under 3 years apart,) but everything went surprisingly well. My older son had always loved babies anyway, so he was super excited that we were having a baby. He was really tolerant of all of the time I had to spend with the baby. One of my biggest worries was that our younger son would be very demanding like our older son was, and that he would also have trouble nursing like our older son. I was lucky, though, and during the first few months the baby nursed like a champ, would sleep in his swing (even with older son running around the house,) and was just all around content, so I tried to spend as much time with my older son as I could. We really only started having problems when the baby started wanting our older son’s toys or just wanting to be around our older son. For awhile there were a lot of cries of “Mama, he’s looking at me!” Our younger son is almost a year and a half now, and they’ve started some sibling fighting, but mostly they’re good with each other, and I’m content with that.

  • Andrea

    I don’t think anyone is gonna lie: it is definitely an adjustment. But everyone does adjust and the love grows and multiplies! And before you know it, you cannot imagine your life without this girl.

    PS: ultra jealous that you are having a girl. Enjoy!!!

  • RBX

    I am due in about a month with baby #2 (of unknown sex), and my son will be about 2yrs and 4 months old. I’ve tried to explain to him that he will soon have a little brother/sister, and while I think he understands the concept, I don’t think it will be real to him
    until we come home with a new baby.

    Anyway, I love my son so, so much and can’t imagine loving another child (who – oh my stars – will not be exactly like him) as much as I love him. I find myself getting choked up at the little things we do, knowing that before too long I may not be able to do those things with him because I will be occupied with a newborn, or I won’t be able to do those things just me and him. It’s like we have a special bond that I am afraid will be destroyed (or at least somehow damaged), and I worry about whether or not he will understand that a baby pretty much requires constant attention and that I’m not trying to put his needs aside.

    The good news is that he will still be going to his preschool, so for a couple of months I will have all day to bond with the new baby (and exclusively cater to whatever s/he needs), and hopefully my husband can take over briefly in the evenings so that my son and I can keep up certain routines together – you know, the stuff that doesn’t take too long, like bath time.

    I’d have been perfectly content with my son’s being an only child, but I remembered what it was like growing up as one of four kids (my husband was one of three) and how I can’t even imagine how much life would suck (even now as an adult) if I didn’t have siblings. I think I’m just scared of what may or may not be, but I am pretty sure the overall change will be positive.

    I remember talking to my brother shortly before his wife gave birth to their second child (they now have four), and he said, “I can’t imagine loving another baby as much as I love [oldest child].” I later asked him what his thoughts were on the topic, and his reply was that you just love them as much. You don’t fraction out the love; it simply multiplies. My brother’s not a sentimental guy, so to me that’s a pretty strong statement!

    • http://twitter.com/MsGail18 MsGail18

      Been there. You will be pleasantly amazed how much love you have to share. The only down side is the laundry.

    • RBX

      Thank you :) Good to know! I feel like I am constantly doing laundry anyway (I even said that last night as I was folding clothes while nearly passed out), so I guess the volume will change probably more than the frequency. Though I am sure the frequency will somehow manage to increase…

    • Jussame

      Can I upvote you just for saying ‘unknown sex’ instead of ‘unknown gender’?
      :)

    • RBX

      Ha! I have a friend who’s a law professor and writes/lectures a lot on such issues, so I’ve been well-taught in appropriate use of the words “sex” and “gender” :)

    • http://www.sarahcooksthebooks.com/ Sarah

      To be fair, at this point, the gender is unknown, too! ;)

  • CK

    I fear everything you said in your article. Our little girl is about to be 14 months old, and I just can’t imagine having another. I remember the first 2 months of waking every 3 hours to feed her, and all the diaper changing, and exhaustion. But now, I love the relationship we have. It’s her, and I because I’m staying home (unintended, but totally worth it!), and I can’t imagine having a newborn breaking up our time together. She is fairly independent, but I can’t but feel like a part of us would be gone with another child in the mix.

    We (my husband, and I) are still thinking about a second, and not entirely sure due to financial reasons, but I know he would love a second child. I would, too, but I know the bulk of the work would fall to me, too. It’s a tough decision once you already know what to expect.

  • http://twitter.com/MsGail18 MsGail18

    I’m so glad you were able to eloquently say what I felt all those years ago. The only advice i want to share is to stack up on little gifts for your son. A gift from his sister when she arrives and a little something for him everytime you receive a gift just for the baby. Many people (especially non-parents) don’t think of it. Best wishes to you all.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

      more great ideas :)

  • http://twitter.com/MsGail18 MsGail18

    One more thing, as I go down memory lane (& thanks for that), I made it a joke with the older one how “old” ladies go crazy over babies; talking baby talk and making silly faces. And when they did, it became an inside joke between my son and me….I’m still smiling over the private glances he gave me. It never became an attention issue, but an old lady joke.

  • Edify

    I’m right there with you. 7 weeks until our boy is here and I keep finding myself sad that my time with my daughter is also going to drastically change. I know it will all work out but the last 3 years of just the 3 of us has been so fulfilling its hard to imagine anyone could enhance our family even more. I’m sure he will and I’m sure she’ll continue to be one of the 3 stars at the centre of my universe.

    Physically, I want to hurry this up. Emotionally, I’m completely not ready.

    • RBX

      “Physically, I want to hurry this up. Emotionally, I’m completely not ready.”

      You basically summed up exactly how I feel!

  • http://twitter.com/lesleyporcelli Lesley Porcelli

    I have been there completely, even down to the kids (boy first, then girl). It is definitely a roller coaster, but when you come out on the other side, it is a wonderful new place. But really I’m commenting on the nursing bit—my son nursed for 45 minutes at a time too, and I had no idea how that was going to work with two kids. Well, my daughter gulped down her meal in about 7 minutes each time, from her first week as a newborn. So that was one (of many) worries that went out the window the second she arrived.

    • JustaThought

      Same here. Their was just much going on around her (her brother running all over the place), for her to want to just nurse for half an hour. She had to see what was happening!

    • JustaThought

      *too much

    • JustaThought

      *There

  • twin-mom

    I am not even sure how to respond to this post, although I whole heartily agree with the other comments. But the thing is, I’ve never had to deal with anything like this. I never had only one child, expect if you count the 45 seconds it took for the younger twin to join her sister, (which I don’t). Undivided attention!?!? The girls are lucky if they can have five minutes of my half attention, because I have to also be aware of what the other one is up to/doing/getting into/trouble. It can really suck, and some people can’t believe how little I spend with each child doing something special. My mother is the worse for that. So what I can say to you, be thankful for the time that the two did have together. “Just the 2 of you” would never last forever anyway, and you did get it. Green Envy fills up inside me sometimes, because I never had a chance to do that. Some of us just don’t. So look forward to the next one. I am, just found out I am expecting our 3rd child, 2nd pregnancy, I am a little worried about the girls’ reaction, oh yeah, but children do have to learn that they can’t be the centre of attention all the time.

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