Your first and second pregnancies can be vastly different – not only in the way you feel physically, but also because your impressions of motherhood have been changed by your experiences.
Here’s a rundown of the thoughts (good and bad) that most second-time moms have had at some stage.
I’ll never be able to love another child as much as I love the one I have now.
The force of the love you feel as a mom hits you as a sheer shock when you meet your child for the first time. Most of us feel as if we’ve never experienced such a strong emotion before, so we doubt that we’ll be able to love with the same intensity the second time around. But, even though you don’t love your children in the same, because they’re such different people, you love them for different reasons. The heart really is elastic, and you’ll probably find that the more people you have to love, the more love you have to give.
What if I don’t love my child as much when an adorable newborn comes along?
Firstborns get quite a raw deal: they’re going through an incredibly difficult time, while their rivals can literally do no wrong (well, they can’t do anything much at all). So there probably will be times when you prefer the company of your placid, passive baby. But these kind of ruptures are not only inevitable; they’re also a good way of preparing your child for the conflicts she will experience in her relationships throughout her life. What matters, though, is that you’re careful to make up for the ruptures with some quality time.
I just can’t do this.
Whether you’re a glowing earth mother or can’t wait for your pregnancy to be over, there’s no denying that it’s rough on your body. In fact, because all your muscles and ligaments have been loosened by your first pregnancy (and you’re also older), second pregnancies tend to be that much harder – not forgetting that this time around, you have to look after a busy toddler rather than being able to take a nap. It’s time to rally the forces, ask for help where you need it, and accept your limitations. That can be especially tough when you’re aware that the nature of your relationship with your firstborn is about to change and you’re trying to spend as much time together as you can before the big event. However, a rested mom is a good mom.
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.