Having A Baby Is Just As Scary The Second Time Around
Becoming a parent is one of the most joyous experiences, but it can also be one of the scariest. There are a million things to worry about and plan for, and no matter how prepared you think you are, things can always take an unexpected turn. When you find out you’re pregnant with your second child, you might think experience will make you more relaxed and confident, but having a baby is nerve-wracking no matter how many times you’ve done it.
When I found out I was expecting again last year, I felt even more nervous than I did the first time around. My first child was a great sleeper, a fantastic eater, perfectly healthy, and had no trouble meeting milestones or establishing a routine. The myth goes that second babies are the opposite of their older siblings, so even though I was thrilled to have a second child, I was scared for all the possible differences and challenges we might face.
I was reminded of this recently by a Reddit post from an expectant father who wonders if he’s ‘crazy’ for having second baby anxieties. User PhishnChips writes:
“Wife and I are about to have baby #2. Our first one was great. She can certainly be a pain in the ass, but generally she’s a great kid and we feel we won the lottery.
I haven’t been so excited about the 2nd kid. I feel like our family is in a good routine with just the 3 of us and I don’t look forward to having a baby in the house again. But more importantly, I feel that since we got so lucky with our first kid; healthwise and demeanor [sic], that with this second one karma will rear it’s head.”
Even though it seems silly to draw comparisons, our experiences with our first pregnancies and babies shape the way we experience each one that comes after. If everything has gone as well as could be expected, we worry that it can never go that well again. If we faced obstacles, challenges, illness, or loss, we worry whether we’ll have to overcome those things again, or if there are more unknowns out there lurking behind every corner.
My first child’s demeanor left me wondering whether my second would be a horrid sleeper or a picky eater, but I also faced serious concerns that we’d repeat the horrible breastfeeding experience that left me traumatized after my oldest, or that I’d need treatment for depression again. I wondered if he’d have a tongue tie like his sister, or if he’d have a more pressing health issue I wasn’t prepared for because I hadn’t faced it the first time around.
Ultimately, I realized fear is a part of the process and nothing would ever diminish my concerns. There’s no ‘baby karma’ guiding the course. Babies are individuals and every experience is unique. There are no guarantees. The only reasonable expectation is that you care about these little lives and want to do the best you can for them no matter what, and that could mean so many different things. Deciding to become a parent is a gamble every time and no amount of experience will ever make the anxiety disappear completely.