Why I Look Forward to Baby Number Two

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Once you’ve had your first child, the second baby conversation starts to happen… often.

You think about timing, age difference, and things like “is our home big enough?” or “can we really handle two kids?”

But let’s be honest: now that the hard part is over, you just wonder how in the world you can go through the first six months all over again (lack of sleep and raw nipples especially), but, at the same time, you don’t think it’s humanly possible to love another human being as much as you love your first.

Oh, the many paradoxes of parenthood!

Now that Liam is 13 months and I am starting to feel like he went straight from baby to grown MAN, here are a few reasons why I am starting to look forward to baby number two:

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We’ve learned so much about parenthood over the course of the first year, and yes, made our fair share of mistakes. With all of the best intentions in mind,  we sometimes didn’t give Liam the chance to prove how adaptable (and able!) he really was. We thought he’d be incapable of sleeping through the night without his pacifier and us rocking him, and turns out all he needed was more independence and a chance to try. We didn’t think he’d be able to sleep in his stroller on the go, and turns out we were the ones who were scared of it, not him. With baby #2, we will know from experience that it’s sometimes a better idea to step back and test things out before assuming they won’t work. Even if tears are sometimes involved for a day or two, it’s part of the process and often for the better.

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Boy was I anxious the first time around! From registries to childbirth and beyond, I was constantly looking up what to buy and what to expect. There is no better feeling that knowing I will not be doing the same thing for baby #2! This Mama’s experienced now 🙂

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With Liam, every jab of pain I experienced made me want to dial my midwife’s number immediately. After having experienced nausea, round ligament pain (to the point where I could not even touch my bellybutton), and Braxton Hicks contractions (that sometimes really felt like the real deal), I now know that pregnancy comes with a good amount of discomfort. During my second rodeo, I’ll let things happen and stop analyzing every single symptom. And no, I probably won’t be checking the size of my baby on Ovia or The Bump apps. Okay fine, maybe once in a while 🙂

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With Liam, I spent countless hours imagining how my labor would go, if I would get the birth I was hoping for, and what contractions would really feel like (bad period cramps? gas? limbs being torn apart?!) Although I am not guaranteed to have a positive birth like I did with Liam the second time around, it has been shown that second labors are usually shorter because your body “remembers” what it has to do. And when your cervix is dilating quickly, it’s much easier to deal with the pain of contractions.

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Although I felt more than confident about childbirth going into it, I was not prepared for the first few months at home with a newborn: the anxiety I felt each time Liam cried for more than a few minutes, how emotional and on edge I sometimes felt because of sleep deprivation, and having to understand this little human who was incapable of communicating with words. After having been through it with Liam, I feel a lot more prepared for it all. I also now know that even if some nights are rough, it all goes by so fast and the “struggle” is only short-term. Believe it or not, I even sometimes miss those middle of the night feeds!

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If it wasn’t for Liam, I’d be content with one child, spoiling him and only him with kisses and love. Even though it’s hard to imagine going through pregnancy and the tough nights with a newborn all over again so soon, there is no better feeling than knowing our children will have each other to lean on for the rest of their lives. They will have each other no matter what, and that makes it all worth it 🙂

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(Liam and his bestie, Jolie, at Great Play!)

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No, we are not trying yet… and not for a while. Let’s all chill out, please. 😉

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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