Motherhood

Going From One to Two Kids

Going From One to Two Kids

One of the biggest questions we get asked by readers with kids is, “What is it like going from one child to two?” For example, Amal, who is expecting her second daughter, recently said the idea of handling both a toddler and a newborn overwhelms her. I felt the same way (big time), and I was surprised what it was like transitioning from one to two kids…

To be honest, for the first few months, Alex and I were like WHAT HAVE WE DONE. It was a literal shit show. Anton was adorable, but we were completely exhausted, breastfeeding hurt, and in a small apartment, it felt like there was baby paraphernalia everywhere and a child was always awake and thirsty. (As Jenny Rosenstrach once wrote, “Sometimes it feels like all I accomplish in a single day is quenching my children’s thirst.”)

We were losing our minds a little bit, but, as with all things parenting, it passed. The newborn days are no joke, I’m sure, no matter how many kids you have, right? It got easier.

When Anton was about seven or eight months old, things changed. We had sleep trained Anton. Toby and Anton had become little buddies. And Alex and I were getting our sea legs as parents of two.

The funny thing is, once the newborn craziness was over, having two kids got doable. I couldn’t believe it. Here are six things we experienced:

* You fit the child into your life. As parents of one child, we were already waking up early and going to the playground on Saturday afternoons, so it wasn’t that different taking a second kid along.

* We were more chill parents overall. When Toby was a baby, we took him to the emergency room multiple times for essentially NO REASON (“Does his breathing seem fast?!” “Is this red mark a rash?!!”) but with Anton, we had learned to take things in stride. (Remember this funny comparison of first and second children?)

* Nothing is sweeter than seeing your children play. Or hold hands. Or share a bath, omg.

* Before Anton was born, I worried I might lose my special bond with Toby. But I continued putting Toby to bed every night by myself, so we could have alone time. And, after about eight or nine months, I started taking Toby on mother/son dates.

* The boys themselves were so different. Even though that seems obvious, it was a real surprise to me. When we had a second boy, I thought, ‘Oh, I got this’ — I figured I knew what would make him laugh, which toys he’d like, which discipline would work, the whole shebang. But Anton and Toby were such opposites, and it was fascinating to experience a very different child.

* Your heart grows to love your children exponentially. At first, I felt guilty that I didn’t bond enough with Anton right away. I loved my sweet newborn — but did I love him with all my heart and soul, like I loved Toby? Not yet. I had known Toby for three beautiful years and had played with him and laughed with him and cuddled him every day, and I knew everything about him. With Anton, he was brand new. It was like asking if you’re in madly love with someone on the first date. But as he grew, we fell for each other, and now both children are the great joys of my life.

Looking back, funnily enough, I found the transition harder going from no kids to one kid, versus one to two kids. When Toby was born, we had to make more life changes (no more hungover brunches!), learn more (breastfeeding, I’m looking at you), and organize more things (cribs, childcare), and when Anton arrived, we just fit him into the mix.

How many children do you hope to have? (Or none?) Are you expecting or trying for a child right now? I’m so curious to hear from other parents with multiple kids, too: What was your experience going from one to two? What things did you find hard or joyful? Please share below…

Going From One to Two Kids

P.S. The moment that Toby and Anton met, and 5 tips for sibling rivalry.

(Photos by Amelia Fullarton.)

  1. Lisa says...

    So I’m a bit late, but I found out last week that we are expecting our second. They’ll be about 20 months apart in age (!!!!!!) and my second thought (after “yay! This is so awesome!”) was “what the hell am I doing to my poor baby?!” We had discussed having a second, but it wasn’t until I saw that positive pregnancy test did it become real and all those fears (will I love new baby as much, will my first born and I still be as close) began to surface.
    I don’t know how much my oldest will be able to take in (I’ve told him that he’s getting a sibling, but he’s one so … yes. I don’t think he got it at all) and previously when I held a friend’s baby he FREAKED OUT because I’m HIS mama. I just have to keep on thinking that long term it’s for the best and being close in age hopefully means they’ll be close friends

  2. Looking back, funnily enough, I found the transition harder going from no kids to one kid, versus one to two kids. When Toby was born, we had to make more life changes (no more hungover brunches!), learn more (breastfeeding, I’m looking at you), and organize more things (cribs, childcare), and when Anton arrived, we just fit him into the mix.

  3. Adding a second child surprised me with the amount of work- I figured it wouldn’t increase that much. Adding a third child, and with a 6 year gap- was much, much more difficult. Keep ’em close together!

  4. Bruna Taaffe says...

    Thank you for your post. I see myself in such similar position. I have am 2.7 years old girl and a 4 months old boy. How hard the first months were. Not that it is easy but I am getting there. Thanks for sharing your life and showing that I am not alone!

  5. Chantal says...

    I have 20 month old twins and am 15 weeks pregnant… I’m not sure what we were thinking, and I’m not entirely sure what our plan is to manage all of this. But I am really trying hard to focus on that “it will get easier” phase! (Yes, I’m already focussing on that… the first trimester was hard enough on me, I can’t imagine what it will be like when this fetus becomes an in-person, in-our-arms, screaming and crying and NEEDING thing! :S)
    But it will get easier! Right…?!

  6. It was definitely harder to transition from 0 to 1 than from 1 to 2. However our 2nd baby was a preemie and spent his first four and a half months in hospital. We live 2 hours away from the hospital so I stayed with my in-laws in the city to be with our baby, and my husband stayed in the country with our not-quite-2-year-old (they came into the city on weekends). It was a rocky start, to say the least. Once we came home, the transition was quite smooth. We were just so happy to be home together as a family, and we already knew the basics of parenting and we had pretty much missed out on the newborn phase, as Cooper was almost 5 months old when he came home (although he was more like a one month old, in corrected age).

  7. I am 34, and just recently started yearning for a child. I was in a sham of a marriage from years 30-33, and we started trying for kids at one point in what was now an obvious attempt to save the marriage. Thankfully, those attempts were unsuccessful. Now that I’m in a wonderful relationship with the person I’ve spent my life praying for, the desire to have a child is overwhelming! I’ve recently learned that I have PCOS, which puts a little pressure on our timeline. We both want children, but we aren’t even cohabitating yet- so I’m doing my best to be patient and let life just happen as it is meant to happen (for now…). I love reading about your experiences with motherhood!

  8. We had baby no. 3 some months ago, and while everything has in general went incredibly well, child no. 2 turned (almost over night…) to a jealous, misbehaving little monster. It feels like we’ve tried everything – one on one time, rewarding good behaviour, sanctions, explaining the situation and being really, really patient – but nothing has worked.
    After reading this post, I followed the link back to the sibling rivalry article and decided to give the “making the baby alive” a shot. And it works!!! I’m not exaggerating when I say that it almost feels like a miracle. My sincere thanks for the tip :-).

  9. Nicole says...

    Loved reading this! I’m in the thick of the second newborn stage and it’s definitely tough. My kids are only 18 months apart, which can make things very challenging. I’m looking forward to the future that will hopefully bring more sleep.

    • Cath says...

      More sleep comes!!!! My 2 boys are 18months apart and it has taken 7 months but we’re now getting sleep and things are easier. Except our youngest has just started crawling and that’s a whole different story now!!! Hang in there!!

  10. Kendra says...

    Going from one to two was definitely an adjustment…but going from two to three ROCKED MY WORLD. And not in a good sense. My third child is now 2 and I feel like we’ve finally got the hang of it. It was really rough of me. So many mouths to feed, so many questions to answer, so many hands to keep happy. But we’ve found our groove and I think we rock our hot mess. I also think I lowered my standards to an all time low and accepted that this is how it’ll be for some time.

  11. I would also recommend having mother-son dates with your younger one too! My mom admitted to me she was so worried about losing that relationship with my older sister, she didn’t start thinking of our individual relationship until almost too late. When I was 13, we started Wednesday night dinners that lasted until I moved to Atlanta… almost 15 years!

    • Alice says...

      That’s great advice, thank you Jenna!

  12. I just want to whole-heartedly agree that going from 0 to 1 was harder for me than from 1 to 2. Heck, 0 to 1 was harder for me than going from 2 to 3!!! (Even though that was pretty overwhelming, haha.) I want to give support to all the mommas of newborns in my life, but I especially worry about the emotional impact of that first transition. After you’ve had one baby, you know that you’ll all survive and figure it out. It’s not so scary and desperate feeling. But, the first time, survival feels like a lofty goal! At least it was for me! :) But I think much of your experience also depends on the specific babies and their temperaments. My first was crying at all times, couldn’t nurse, had reflux, his sleeping was a NIGHTMARE…he was just generally difficult. He is now a delightful, but still sensitive, often demanding child. My next two were much more of the typical baby, fussed when they needed something but were content otherwise. Much more chill, which made a WORLD of difference to me emotionally. I think you just learn and adapt like with all changes of life, and remember that it will get better! And when you feel your family is complete, (for us, that decision was one we spent a lot of time and prayer thinking about) or you feel it would push you past the point of “busily, but happily functioning” to add more children, then you chose to feel satisfied and be happy to be done with the pregnant, sleepless infant stage!

    • Kari says...

      My first was similar to yours and it was emotionally exhausting for me. My second transition has seemed so easy in comparison. I’ve been worried about that 2-3 transition though so it’s good to hear that the 0-1 was the worst. I feel like that will be my story as well.
      Momma’s no one can prepare you for that first baby but you will make it through and it truly does get easier and your little blessings will bring you so much joy. I have many friends going into their first baby in the next few months and each of them have a different “plan”. I just keep my mouth shut, arms open, and heart ready to love them deeply as they enter that stage!

  13. fizz says...

    I have a smart, beautiful, loving two and a half year old daughter and I can’t for the life of me figure out how anyone decides to have a second child. I have a great sister who is my best friend in the world and yet there is no way on earth I can give that to my daughter.

    • Fern says...

      One of my biggest reasons for wanting a second was that very reason – I wanted my daughter to have a sibling like I did. There was never a moment of “Having a child is easy and this is the perfect time to add another…” I’ve heard the phrase “you have the first baby for you, and you have the second baby for the first” and I think for me there was a strong element of that.

  14. Agustina says...

    I have a 5 old boy and a 3 year old girl. The first 6 months of having two kids was very stressful… I thought I wouldn’ t be able to cope. But then everything began to settle. I am from Argentina and have help at home , which allowed me to continue working.

  15. Maddie says...

    I found it much harder to go from 1 to 2. Mine are 18 months apart and my older boy was/is very agressive towards my daughter. It was so difficult. It still is. I am constantly managing the physicality and it is draining. They have a lovely bond though and can play well at times which is sweet to see. I’m hoping they can be less rough in the future. I think if you have a partner around in the evenings it also is easier as you can still put the older one to bed and have special time together. I didn’t have that and I think my son suffered for it.

  16. elle says...

    thank you so much! this is exactly what i needed to hear/read as i recently found out ill be a mama to my second boy.

  17. Kathleen says...

    Thanks so much for this post! My (first and only) son is almost 2, and my husband have been having the “when do we start trying for #2” conversation – and I’m terrified! I especially worry about losing my bond with my son, so glad you mentioned that. I know everyone’s journeys are unique, but it’s always helpful to hear from those who have gone ahead!

  18. Kristen says...

    With each child the loves grows but so does the laundry! I have four children: 6 mo, almost 2, 3.5, and 5. A friend reminded me that as parents we don’t get to go through all of our child’s life with them, but as siblings they get to go through life alongside each other. That thought touched me. It reminded me of the gift we give our children in each other.

    • Carly says...

      I love that. And having three best friend brothers it really rings true. ❤️

  19. I always thought we would plan for our second, but our second child surprisingly came three months after our daughter was born. Boy, was I scared! How could I handle two babies? It’s an adjustment. The overwhelmed feeling eases as you see your family growing and loving each other (even when they agree not to like each other). Don’t worry mommas it will be just fine! My two have become best friends! Thanks for sharing and helping other moms joanna!

  20. lomagirl says...

    Adding a second child surprised me with the amount of work- I figured it wouldn’t increase that much. Adding a third child, and with a 6 year gap- was much, much more difficult. Keep ’em close together!

  21. Angela says...

    I’m 4 months pregnant with my 2nd baby at the minute. My daughter is 4 years old and my husband wanted to try for another as soon as she was born. I’ve spent 4 years wrestling with the decision because I found parenthood very stressful and it didn’t come to me as naturally as I had thought it would. I finally decided if we didn’t do it now we never would and we definitely wanted to expand our family so why delay any longer. Definitely a head decision rather than a heart one for me! My daughter is over the moon about the news and when she talks about “our baby” my heart melts thinking about them together.
    I am dreading the anxiety that is going to come back to me and I’m trying to prepare myself for that. Someone wise who worked with families once told me that she has known it to be universally true that if you struggle with your first, the second comes naturally and if you found the first easy, you struggle with the second. I’m holding on to that in hope!

    • That universal truth was 100% correct for me! The transition from 0 to 1 for me was….horrible. I cried and cried and cried, but not as much as my baby. But, from 1 to 2, was so much better! We just adapted the routine. :) I was much happier that time around! Good luck to you and I so hope it is a good transtion! (I mean after the first few weeks–they are always rough. Haha.)

  22. So on point! I just had my second son, Ollie on Oct 4. The boys are the same age gap as Toby and Anton so your posts have been a lifesaver and I’d been hoping for a post just like this! I totally agree with all the above! It’s a bit chaotic right now but I’m surprised on how well we are adjusting to 2 vs. None to one. I also find it hard waiting for that deep bond, but I know it grows every day. I’m also learning to tolerate the odd whinging from the newborn. With Milo, I could just pick him up without hesitation, but sometimes my hands are tied with Milo at the moment and Ollie has to wait a bit to be picked up. The Boba wrap/ baby carrier is a lifesaver so I have my hands free and a happy baby at all times. Ollie also desperately needs the motion of a swing where Milo was content chilling anywhere. It is crazy how different they can be. Also love the post on avoiding sibling rivalry. Making the baby “come alive for your toddler” is great and thinking of them as a team, “the brothers!” Just tickles Milo. He adores his little bro.

  23. nathalie says...

    After my first child, my whole perspective on life shifted. Priorities changed and certain things lost their importance. When I had my second child, the change was mostly logistical, not philosophical.

  24. Elisabet says...

    My number 3 is eight months now. I loved them all from the first moment and have been equally nervous the first few months. That infant period is so scary somehow, it takes so little. But other than that number three has been so much easier, mostly because the older kids can play with each other I think.

  25. Catherine says...

    As soon as I was pregnant with the second child, I started feeling overwhelmed with guilt. My husband and I spent the whole pregnancy spending as much time as possible with our first son. When I went in to labor with #2, I lay on the couch terrified thinking “what have I done? How am I going to possibly parent 2 kids”. And it was nowhere near as bad as I feared. It was completely exhausting. But after baby 2 was about 3-4 months, his older brother realized the art and game of entertaining him and making him laugh. And I realized the gift of brotherhood which they had been given. There were definitely moments of complete chaos which had lots of humor. How could so many unexpected things go wrong at once? But once you conquer a year of 2 kids, you do feel a bit invincible. And I regard those with more than 2 with the utmost respect.

  26. Martichou says...

    We have one 4 year old and obviously we are deep in the stage where the entire world has decided we should have a second one and feels entitled to remind us on a daily basis. But so far I can’t convince myself to have another one. I love our family. We are a team and a great one. But really the thought of the 2 first years depresses me… Maybe the fact that we were expat and we were away from family and loved ones made me feel even more lonely. But I don’t think I really enjoyed those years remotely as much as I am loving these days. Being an only child I don’t really know what chaos a second one would bring but my husband has two siblings and they never really had a great bond…
    On the other hand most of our friends just had babies in the last year and our son is the sweetest when he sees them and then asks when he is getting one. Right now my husband and I are on the same page that this is not the right time but I am worried that we might regret not taking the plunge later. I never regretted not having a sibling though… Just rattling my own mind…

    • Maria says...

      I can totally relate-we have a 4 year old as well and everyone interjects their unwanted opinion of us needing to have a second one! Yes, sometimes I have baby fever and worry we may regret it, but can’t tell if I truly want a second or if it stems more from peer pressure. Also, I worry that my daughter and a new baby would be too far a part in age to have any sort of relationship-but that’s silly because there is no gurantee they’ll like each other regardless-since I have 3 sisters and we are not close. Now I’m rambling…. :)

  27. Miyan says...

    This is so helpful to read. My husband & I of 4 years want and talk about having kids but we’re just not ready to give up our “freedom” yet, so we’re giving it a few more months / years . This is so interesting to hear about from you, thanks for sharing !!!

  28. Dalia says...

    I have two, a four year old boy and a 15 month old girl. I found the first 2 months with two easy (I’m home full time with both) My 3 year old ran around and played and the baby slept anywhere and ate anywhere! It got harder when she would get distracted by my son while breastfeeding and I had to put him in front of the TV so we could get 10 min to feed every 2 hours! I was very sick during both my pregnancies, constant nausea, fatigue and throwing up about 5-10 times a day. During the second pregnancy I was caring for my son full time, working evenings and throwing up multiple times a day so when the baby arrived I FELT SO MUCH BETTER that sleep deprivation, breastfeeding, the bleeding, contractions, constantly caring for two small humans was like a VACATION compared to my pregnancies;)

  29. Rachel says...

    I have two kids (3 and 6 months) and the change from one to two was insane. We are starting to get our balance again as a family, but (with two) I feel like there’s no down time at all. Before, I could pawn the baby off on my husband and go space out for awhile. Now, we each always have a kid to keep alive. Three is also a really really challenging age (at least for us) – so I think I’m getting a nice glimpse of how teenagers might be?

    I’m an only child, so I have the Parenthood (as in TV show) fantasy of a giant family with a collection of well-adjusted kids sitting around the table at holidays. But my husband and I both work – and I’m not sure if I would get enough quality time with kids if we had more. As it is, I feel like we can (mostly) manage upcoming interests (sports, plays, etc – one parent can go watch one child if the times don’t work to go to everything) and (in theory) help with college. Not sure if the same things would hold true if we expanded. So, while I already mourn parting with my baby goods, I’m pretty sure our family is complete.

  30. Tristen says...

    Thank you for this. Our son is 20 months old and we are feeling like we need to decide soon if we want another or if we are one and done. I’m just so SCARED. It feels like we just got our bearings, do we really want to rock the boat again? I always assumed I would have two kids, until I had one. Now I’m like, weeeeeeeeeeeeell…

    Can I ask about pregnancy/birth too? How is that different the second time around?

    • CA says...

      Tristen I’m in exactly your same spot. SO scared. Glad I’m not the only one! Hoping others will answer your question about pregnancy/birth the second time around.

    • Cristina says...

      Haha I have an eight month old and can relate to your feelings! I would love to hear from moms of multiple children about labor/delivery anxieties and fears…I had a long unmediated (no pain meds) labor and delivery and so now I KNOW what it’s like…like, I can’t UNKNOW what I know! I think I crave and fear another pregnancy/delivery in equal measure.

    • Theresa says...

      I have three little ones, 4, 3 and coming 2. In regards to labour/birth from personal experience just because you have a rough first labour & birth doesn’t mean it will be the same the second time around. My first was terrible and the second was incredible! Like a little gift for making it through the first time and being brave enough to try again :)

    • Fern says...

      My pregnancy with my second child was a lot easier in many ways. With the first I had bad morning sickness (all day of course!) for many months, was much more tired, yet had insomnia frequently, and had a million food aversions. With my second, I wondered a lot if I was really pregnant because those same things weren’t true! However, in the third trimester, I was much more uncomfortable, in terms of my back and knees, carrying the weight.

      Birth was an unplanned C-section with my first and a planned one with my second — those were like night and day, emotionally and physically.

  31. Morgan says...

    We really agonized over this – whether to try for another after our first – so much so that we waited almost four years. Then *poof* we went from one to three by conceiving twins <>. Sometimes the universe decides for you. We’ve had to throw out everything we ever thought we knew about everything.

  32. I found that the difficulty of going from 1 to 2 was mostly because my first born (who was 2.5 at the time) was out of his mind most of the time. So the hardest thing was going anywhere with the 2 of them by myself. I just couldn’t do it. It was impossible for me to breastfeed #2 while #1 was running around free. I would see other Mom’s breastfeeding their #2 while their #1 was free and they didn’t have any problems, their #1 actually did what they asked. I had to wait till #2 was about 6 months old before I could take the 2 of them out by myself.
    2.5 years after that we had a #3 and that was super easy. My feeling is, if you have 2, then any more after that barely registers as a difference. Could be because my #1 was/is so difficult that any other child is a walk in the park comparably. I’ve just learned that a lot of this is due to the child’s temperament and personality.

  33. Allyson Smith says...

    I’m expecting my second – just about 12 weeks along- and my daughter is 3 now. We hope to have a 3rd eventually, but one thing at a time! Thanks for your very timely article!

  34. Cat says...

    I have 2 boys, each a little older than yours, and the saying that sticks with me from when they were babies is…. ‘Going from one child to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo.’ Too true.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha love that line. it’s funny, i worked from home today and the boys were total maniacs and i was thinking, maybe two is WAY harder than one. TAKE IT ALL BACK!!!! ;)

    • HAAAAA this is brilliant!

    • Elisabet says...

      I am Swedish. That means that we have a lot of parental leave, one of us will be home full time, not fully paid but enough for at least 18 months. During that time our oldest is in school of course, and our middle kid have free preschool 15 hours per week. When we both go back to work all our kids will have preschool and after school care full time almost free and with meals included. This helps of course :)

  35. I have a five-year-old and two-year-old. This has been a difficult year of parenting for me, but reading this post caused me to reflect how far we’ve come. I’ve actually had little pangs of baby fever lately, because this would be about the time to start trying if we were to have a third with three years in between. I always want babies around the holidays! However, we’re not planning on having another. Really, I’m grateful that I have two healthy girls and we’re moving on from the toddler stage soon. Thank you for the prompt for reflection!

  36. Bert says...

    It is really hard to tell how many people posting here represent dual-earner families. I suspect not very many. It would be nice to know as it seems The experience would be quite different.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good question! i would guess at least half are dual income families?

  37. Katie says...

    THANK YOU! I am, like many commentors, 32 weeks pregnant and wondering the same thing! How will we handle it? Will our lives be chaos? Youre the best Joanna!

  38. Aly says...

    I have a 3 year old son and am 38 weeks pregnant with my daughter, and this is exactly what I needed to read today. I had been thinking that waking up with my son by 6am every day for the past 3 years might mean that the transition from 1-2 would be easier than 0-1. Thank you for giving me hope!!!

  39. We went from none to two and now we are hoping to go to expecting a third. Going from just us to twins was what we had hoped for. Getting pregnant, for us, is complicated so after the years of wishing and worrying we’d asked for twins. Yes it was insane at first but somehow it never seemed as challenging as I’d made it out to be – in my mind. It was a race and we kept pace. Yes it took six years for us to decide to do it all again and this time, we will get that +1 experience (I hope).

    • t says...

      That’s awesome. For me going from none to two (twins) was so much more challenging than I expected (and I expected bad). I truly didn’t think I would be able to make it through the first year. I cried multiple times a day. I think it also has a lot to do with how easy or not easy your child(ren) are. One of my children needed to be held CONSTANTLY and couldn’t be comforted if not being held and neither were willing to be worn. OMG just thinking about it brings me to tears.

      Bravo to you for (hopefully) moving on with another.

  40. Meg says...

    I went from no kids to 2 kids instantly (!) when I moved in with my finance and his boys. Nearly 2 years later, the step mom role is still, like, whoa. I really don’t have words for the mix of emotions.

    • Meg says...

      Ha. Fiance. I moved in with my fiance. :)

    • Rachel says...

      My husband (when he was my fiance) was saved as “finance” in my phone for a full year before I realized it. Ha!

  41. Emma says...

    My kids (now 1 and 3) are 25 months apart – and going from one to two was HARD. With my first, I felt like I had the luxury of time — I could watch TV while cuddling my newborn or go for long, leisurely walks with the baby in the stroller. When he started napping regularly, I would have long stretches of time to myself at home. It was heavenly.

    When my daughter was born, I craved the same sort of gentle pace – lots of cuddling, chilling at home, and generally focusing on my newborn. But all my toddler son wanted to do was GO-GO-GO. I found that frenetic 2-year-old energy so tough to deal with when I was so zoned in on getting to know my new baby. It got easier over time, but I found it so tough to muster the energy needed to care for a newborn (no sleep! breastfeeding! recovering from birth!) with the emotional demands of a toddler (tantrums! boredom! sibling jealousy!). We were lucky to have a lot of help from grandparents, which made my life so much easier.

    My colleague, who has 4 kids, says the hardest transition for her was from 1 to 2. After that, she says it’s just more laundry!

    • Maggie says...

      I agree! I have the same age gap and current ages as you. Looking after one baby was actually relatively chilled out. You can take them anywhere – cafes, art galleries, even the movies if you go to one of those special mother and baby screenings. Or you can just relax at home. But a baby plus a toddler… no. There is no relaxing.

  42. Kati says...

    This post is so applicable to me right now! I have a 3.5 year old and am currently pregnant with our second. I do get nervous thinking about all the things that come with a newborn, especially as a working mother. Ahhhhh!!! I love the bit of advice to “fit the child into your life”. So true.

  43. Janet says...

    I have two children, and going from zero to one was CUH-RAZY, but from one to two really wasn’t much of an adjustment. I am so glad we had a second, though, because it has really balanced us out as a family, and helped us all relax a bit more (including the over-tended-to first child!). We are done at two because the dynamic is perfect just as it is!

  44. Beth says...

    I am expecting my second. We were trying and really want another child, but when I found out I was pregnant, I was so emotional (and probably hormonal). I think I was mourning the loss of that special alone time that I have with my daughter now and how things are going to change with two in the picture. But then I was thinking how wonderful it will be for her to have a sibling to grow up with. I love to hear about how Toby and Anton are such good buddies and it is nice to read that there are ways to still preserve that alone time! Thanks for the post!

    • Angela says...

      I was the very same when I got pregnant for the 2nd time even though it was planned. I cried all the time and was so panicky and emotional for weeks. I felt like I was cheating on my daughter! I too think it was prob a lot to do with hormones and now hearing my daughter talk about “our baby” coming makes me melt. I’m looking forward to seeing them together.

  45. Jackie says...

    I had my second in May. We have a boy and now a girl. This post is soooooooooooooo spot on. I nodded in agreement to each bullet point.

  46. I haven’t had a kid yet but I come from a big family, and we’re extremely close with each other. As the eldest child, one of my biggest fear is if I favour one of my siblings more than the other, in a sense that what if I don’t give enough love to one of them. But i think you’re right. our heart grows to contain more love.

  47. It was easy for me to become pregnant and I had one of those dreamy, the blissful and uneventful pregnancies. I didn’t take it for granted and enjoyed every minute of it {all 41. 7 weeks to be exact}. I have a smart, fun, gorgeous little girl. When we tried to give her a sibling, I miscarried at 12 weeks. However, in the ashes of my broken heart was this tiny, golden realization that has only grown since then…My relationship with my daughter would remain intact! Being completely honest with myself, while I had fallen in love already with a baby to be, I was also deeply mourning the end of a four year relationship with us as a trio. Sometimes we are shocked out of old ideas that keep playing over and over. My two child family was an idea assembled in high school, long before I knew anything about anything. Decades before I met my husband, who told me, soon after we met, that he saw a beautiful little girl in our future and just couldn’t shake that notion. Now I can say: One and done!

    • I am so sorry you miscarried. I sometimes feel like I’m failing at being a parent or ‘doing the wrong thing’ , ahem, according to society and status quo. But my husband and I have a spunky, very loud, strong willed, beautiful almost 3 year old little girl who keeps us on the edge of our seats most days. I always considered myself a bit of a rebel and I like to usually go against the grain. We have talked a lot of back and forth about having a second but when I think practical about it all, I just cannot fathom another one. We are 98% one and done, too. the other 2%? who knows. But I love the idea of going up against status quo. xo

  48. Sofia says...

    This is so timely for me Joanna! We have an almost 2 year old and just minutes before checking this post I was talking to my boyfriend about our plans to start trying for #2 soon! We’ve had a rough couple of months, we both feel like we haven’t been able to find our personal balance just yet with this kid in the mix, and I was joking that we were probably about to make the biggest mistake, like we’re so close to the edge and we’re purposely taking that one step forward. The thing is we always had this mutual agreement that if we were to have kids we wouldn’t want to have a single child (for a bunch of different reasons) and we would want them to be relatively close in age. Oh well, if it goes to plan, and we make it through those insane first few months, I just hope I also feel that it is hardest going for zero to one.

  49. Marianne says...

    At 39 weeks pregnant with a baby boy, I find my self feeling guilty that our 16 month old daughter no longer will be number one priority in our life. I’m adjusting to the idea that love multiplies and that there will be plenty to go around! As winter is coming and theres already have snow on the ground ( I live in Oslo, Norway), my biggest worry seem to be how to manage to get out of the house as I don’t drive :) cannot wait to meet the final piece of our family puzzle!

  50. Rochelle says...

    I just had my second child 25 days ago so this was the perfect post to read. He was born 10 days shy of my daughter’s second birthday so right now we are dealing with no sleep and adjusting to life with 2 kids. I feel more relaxed this time around with the baby and Leila is slowly getting used to someone taking attention away from her. We live in Munich and don’t have the luxury of a lot of space so all of us sleep in our room, so that’s been hard. You’re right though, my love for my daughter just doubled as soon as he was born.

  51. Lisa says...

    Would you consider doing a post on the effect of a baby on a marriage / relationship? I found that really hard, and didn’t really expect it. We’ve been together nearly a decade and went through fertility treatments (and all that stress and heart ache) to have our son, so I just thought (or didn’t even think, just assumed) that everything would be hunky dory. Well … it feels like a bomb was set off in our relationship and sent us off to different planets and it has been super tough. I’ve found myself googling “divorce new baby” so many times, but had to remind myself that I’m a hormonal, sleep deprived mess right now. It has been so tough – going from a fairly egalitarian relationship to one where I’m forced into what feels like a 1950s stereotype and my husband being jealous of our son and my relationship (it took him a while to bond with the baby whereas the two of us have been close from the beginning). I feel we’re now heading towards the light (which would be greatly enhanced if the baby slept for more than 3 hours in a row) but man it’s been tough and it completely took me by surprise

    • Molly says...

      There is a wonderful book called “All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting” about the effect of having kids on parents. The author, Jennifer Senior, does a great job telling individual families stories and reviewing psychology research about the impact of kids on parents. I’d highly recommend!

    • Anne says...

      This brought tears to my eyes, I can’t begin to tell you how much I relate to all of this right now.

    • Chris says...

      Hi Lisa,
      I know exactly what you mean. We went through the same thing. Your story could’ve been mine (exept fertility treatment) and it was the biggest chock to find us in roles that to me belonged to the 1950s. Just wanted to say Hear! Hear!
      And, it has got better. Our daughter is now 2,5. Hang in there!

    • Lauren says...

      I am 23 weeks pregnant with my first right now and I am so worried about this. My husband works a lot, so I know more of the baby care will fall to me, and I’m already feeling resentful about that. I’ve actually just scheduled an appointment with a therapist that focuses on new parents and pregnancy. She also sees couples, so after a few sessions on my own, my husband has agreed to come along for us to just game-plan how we’ll set things up. Also, I already think of the quote Jo shared from her baby shower that says “your spouse is not the enemy, the baby is the enemy.” It’s obviously tongue in cheek, but it does help reframe things that your partner is your partner in this. Best of luck!

    • Lisa says...

      It’s good to know I’m not alone!

      So happy to hear I’m not alone!

      On the change in roles – logically it makes sense that I get the bulk of the childcare stuff. I’m on maternity leave so if I’m up all night with the baby, I can nap with him during the day, whereas my husband has to go to work. He works long hours and has been doing professional exams, so has really been unable to do half the childcare / home maintenance stuff, but I still resent him for getting “child free” time. I think the other challenge is that I am someone who needs time to themselves and if you have a small child and a marriage to look after, it comes pretty low on the list. Now that the baby goes to bed at a decent hour, my husband and I get to spend time together (amazing!) but I also want some time by myself. My MIL (who unfortunately lives in another country) looked after him one afternoon (actually sent me back out after I came home and fed him), and it was BLISS getting to read and drink coffee by myself as I rarely get that time. I was not expecting this

    • Megan says...

      This is so common and not often discussed! A great book that both explains what its like for a couple to have a baby and also offers great solutions to keeping a relationship healthy after the birth of the baby is “And Baby Makes Three” by Dr. John Gottman. Hang in there, mama!

    • Joanna says...

      My husband and I had been together for 15 years (married for 8) when we had our first. We had a super strong relationship and that first year we were miserable. Our son didn’t sleep, cried constantly, and I was nursing on a horribly, strictly restricted diet to try to get his allergies figured out. I finally understood divorce. Around 18 months, it all lifted. We went back to normal. I would recommend hanging in there. We used to hire a babysitter for a few hours just to be out of the house together, even if we just went to the gym and I watched him eat dinner at a restaurant (since I couldn’t eat out). We both worked and I felt so guilty when the first day I dropped him off at daycare I felt relief. That time away, especially if you are struggling to stay above water, is ncessary. My son and I remain very closely bonded despite it.

      One thing my husband and I did at one bad point was just make separate lists of the worst things about our life at that moment. That revealed so much about how different our experience was of this new challenge/life and how we could try to each compromise to support each other through it. When I went back to work, he took on some things like prepping my pumping supplies in order to make me feel like the load was shared (and take some of those logistical tasks that my life had become off my shoulders). Just hang in there.

  52. The thing that surprised me most in going from one to two was how much I missed my older son. As I was exclusively breastfeeding and the weather was frigid, it became really difficult for me to get out to play with my older son as much. But, like you, that changed as the baby got older.

    We’re now preparing for the arrival of our third, wondering what it will be like to go from one-on-one to zone defense. I’m anticipating a total shitshow at first–and then when it calms down, triple the love, triple the laughs, triple the little shoulders to squeeze and cheeks to kiss goodnight every day.

  53. What a cute post! Must be really exhausting going from one to two kids, but in the end I think it`s the best time!
    xx Caroline

  54. Cherie says...

    Oh, timely for me too – on the 7th of November nine years ago we welcomed our second child. I agree, going from zero to one is definitely more difficult than a second

  55. tiptop89 says...

    I am almost due with my second son (just waiting on those labor pains to start) and this was exactly what i needed to hear. I have constantly been worrying about how we will adjust to a second child but now am starting to believe that it will work out eventually.

  56. Mary says...

    We thought we were done at two, mostly for financial and lifestyle reasons. But along come our bonus baby this past June. So now I have a 4.5 year old, an almost 3 year old and the most delightful, relaxed 4 month old. And now I want more! I’d love to have four so I’d have 2 x pairs of buddies. But it probably won’t happen. And that’s fine. For me, the age gap is probably a bigger influence on the whole experience rather than the number of children. I had 21 months between #1 and #2 (and essentially had two babies), but 2.5 years between #2 and #3. Big difference in independence.

    And schedules are key. With #1, we started at 8 weeks, #2 we started at two weeks, but with #3, he was on a schedule from day one! And he’s the most relaxed by far. I have daily planners, weekly planners, monthly planners, yearly planners, menu lists, recipe folders, online grocery lists, etc etc. For me, it gives us more freedom. We have no family nearby, so we juggle our budget and pay for help when we need – nursery/kindergarten, a carer at home for the baby while I work, a regular babysitter for nights out. But most of all, we just enjoy our family life and begin each day anew. Some are crappier than others and sometimes I’m a right grump, or my husband is, but generally we’re very happy. We’re not chasing the pre-kids life we had before. Some of my friends are doing this and are unhappy at what they’re missing, whereas we’re so grateful and happy with the new, chaotic, hilarious, messy, colourful life we now have. The days are long, but the years are short!!

  57. Adrianna says...

    Oh my I feel like a minority in the sense that I found 1-2 a BILLION times harder than 0-1. They are only 18 months apart. I feel like I forced my oldest into growing up too quickly because suddenly I wasn’t able to be there for her as much etc. The youngest was a super challenging infant (the first was no walk in the park either) so maybe that’s why. If I am ever to do it again I will wait longer!! It was a very very very hard first year.

    • B says...

      Oh me too!! My eldest two are 18 months apart and it was so so tough for me (way harder than going from zero to one!)… Perhaps a lot of it depends on the age gap? We now have three babes (newborn, 2.5 and just turned 4) and I’m finding it even harder! I thought it would be a breeze adding a third into the mix buuuuutttt nope… I know it’ll get easier and look forward to (hopefully!) how close they’ll be as they grow up but yeah, I’m tired 😜

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, rebekah, you are in the thick of it with a newborn, 2.5 year old and 4 year old! we are rooting for you!!! it will definitely get easier very soon. the newborn stage is soooooo hard, whether you have one child, two children or 100. :)

    • Sarah says...

      Oh no me too! I was just thinking the same thing. The baby (#2) is nearly 1 and I still haven’t found my feet. The boys love each other and I find so much joy in them but I’m just exhausted, I can’t get on top of the housework/laundry and I feel like my husband are surviving – definitely thought about divorce having never ever entertained it before. It’s a season, it will pass! No way am I having any more though. I would find it extremely difficult if we got pregnant by accident, I genuinely don’t know if we’d survive as a family!

  58. Anne says...

    One to two was the hardest but each after that got easier faster if that makes any sense. Every time there’s a new baby there’s an adjustment but one to two was the biggest.

  59. Jess T says...

    We have two boys, 5 and 3, and are expecting a third in May. So many moms have told me going from two to three is the toughest because suddenly you’re outnumbered but that having four (or more!) is no problem as you’re already used to them being the majority. I’m still looking forward to it though and for now am focusing on teaching my three year old how to do things like put on his own coat and shoes, do his full bathroom routine on his own, and get dressed in the morning. Hoping those tricks will help us get out the door for fun and adventure when the third one arrives this spring!

  60. My husband and I joined the ranks of confirmation bias stories after we adopted our son and then got pregnant (surprise!). We are thrilled and excited and tend to laugh maniacally, however, because the kids will be ten months apart. Whew. But I’m kind of blown away by the fact that they will never not know each other. I’m sure they will be allies, adversaries and collude (sometimes all at once), and it will be crazy/wonderful. : )

  61. Kate says...

    I’m currently pregnant with our second and admittedly a little scared. My daughter will be 4 1/2 when her little brother is born early next year. My husband and I were both on the fence (him more then me) about having a second for a variety of reasons but eventually decided to go for it and were lucky to get pregnant right away. I’m admittedly a bit disappointed they won’t be closer in age (and that I’m that much older at 38) but life isn’t about perfection right? Although I hate the phrase “everything happens for a reason” I think it was meant to happen this way — I’m not sure we would’ve had it in us to have two very small children close in age. My daughter is over the moon about having a little brother as are we about adding to our family, despite the shift in dynamics and hard work to come. Thanks for the post and your honesty.

    • Jasna says...

      Dear Kate,

      Don’t be scared! Everything will be just perfect, you’ll see! And, despite a more popular opinion that it may be better to have kids closer in age, I found it much better that there was a 3 1/2 age gap between my kids . I think it was so much easier as the older child was already pretty independent and pretty reasonable. In my case, my son is older and he was able to occupy himself while we tended to a baby and also to help a lot with her. He was also over the moon for having a little sister and continued to be when she was born. He is so smitten with her and so gentle and she adores him and constantly asks for him, now that she talks (she will be 15 months this month). You will see for yourself that bigger age gap is actually perfect. And still, it is not such age gap that they will never be friends – when your baby reaches 10 months, they will start being best buddies, you’ll see! Older kids can engage younger ones and younger ones do what older kids do and they themselves find ways to play with each other.

      And one unsolicited advice, something that worked well for us – from the baby’s first night at home, we were puting her to sleep at 7 pm (starting bath and bedtime routine at 6:30 pm), which gave us next 1 1/2, 2 hours alone time with our son, before his bed at 8:30, 9 pm, so his bedtime routine didn’t change at all and he also got his time with us without the baby and it was perfect. He was actually asking to see the baby as soon as he opened eyes in the mornings as he said he missed her :-)

      Don’t be scared and be peaceful – your girl is already over the moon for the baby and she will be the best big sister and you will see that having a second baby, a sibling for your girl, was the best decision you ever made.

      Good luck! :-)

    • Hala says...

      I completely relate to this!!!! My daughter will also be 4 1/2 when her little brother is born in January, amazing how similar are current experience is! I sometimes feel like the only reason I’m having a second child is because my daughter wants a sibling so badly, and I feel obliged to give her such a precious gift, but I’m so terrified of how our current dynamic will change. I feel like I’m doing this all for the first time – it’s been ages since we’ve had a newborn in the house! I haven’t changed a diaper in over two years! I have to relearn the ropes and it has me terrified, and I can’t believe how emotional I get thinking about how it won’t just be my girl and me (her dad works crazy hours). She wants this so bad, but she has no idea how much her life is about to change!

    • Ah this post is so timely! I am right there with you ladies (well, kind of). My son is soon to be 4 and my husband and I after years of waffling – have decided to “give it a go” for a number 2. I am scared but excited. I admit I do wonder if what I am doing is nuts – but I would love to make my son a big brother and grow our sweet family. My husband and I are both older (me 37, him 47) so those age fears are real – but, having anxiety I live in fear everyday so I am pushing through it (with wonderful care from appropriate MDs/DOs of course ha). We are a strong, safe, healthy and loving family – why the heck not! As always, thank you for starting a dialogue on the topic – so grateful for the community.

    • Angela says...

      Kate, Hala and Jennifer I wanted to reply because my story is EXACTLY the same as yours and I’m a bit terrified too. Jasna – I like your idea of putting the baby down to bed early for alone time with No.1 as I’m worried she will feel left out if she has to go to bed first. We can do this ladies!!

  62. Erin W says...

    I don’t have any kids but I was a nanny for almost 2 years for 3 young kids and found that I MUCH prefer taking care of multiple children to just one. Yes, it was difficult to get everyone dressed and fed and shoes on, etc. to get out the door and go to the park, and yes the bickering could get out of hand, BUT the fact that they all had other children around all the time to play with and entertain each other and come up with games made my job much easier. Also it was so sweet when they would hug each other out of the blue. Made my heart melt.

  63. I wrote a blog post a couple weeks ago about this very topic! I also found it much (much much MUCH) more challenging going from zero to one kid than one to two kids, for similar reasons you listed.

  64. Loved reading this.

    We are currently expecting baby number 5. We have 4 girls, ages 4-10. It’s both complete insanity and the complete joy of our existence all at once. What has never ceased to amaze me is your capacity to love, both infinitely and individually. Each child is so unique, so impossibly loved and reserved in a special place in your heart it’s really indescribable. I only wish I could go back now and parent in reverse. I think I’m so much more normal now than I was with my first, lol. Multiple children have had a way of stripping me down of my need to control everything. You have no choice but to give up the keeping up of appearances. Each child has systematically arrived as my karmic payback for any parental judgment I passed on others in my pre-children days. They have a lovely way of forcing you to focus on what matters.

    Watching them be friends together is probably the best part of all. I love that they have they’re own sacred little tribe. It’s been hard but so worth it.

    Raescornerblog.com

  65. Anna says...

    I never thought I’d say this, but ONE!!! :-)

    My husband and I both have siblings, and we always absolutely thought we would have at least two… we never even entertained the thought that one would be an option for us. But literally a couple of days after a pre-conception appointment with my doctor (when planning for #2), I was injured badly in a car-pedestrian accident (I was the pedestrian). After a four year recovery (including learning how to walk again) and grieving for having to put off our plans, we finally had the chance to think about expanding our family again, and realised that actually we felt fulfilled and loved and cherished the family we have, just as it is. Our son was eight at that stage and is nearly ten now. We have so much love and fun in our family and I honestly wouldn’t change a thing.

    • Alison says...

      I loveed her post…it ALMOST made me think of having another, but at the end of the day I’m so happy with just the three of us 🤗

  66. Jessie says...

    We have three girls. Going from one to two was so hard but no one talks about that. They were only 19 months apart so maybe that is why. My oldest somehow figured out she wanted to to use the potty every time I was nursing. Then my second wanted to nurse every time I made dinner. We had no help and no family near us. It was the hardest and worst time for us. I lost my shit almost ever day. They are now 7 and 5.5 and even though they are better it is very overwhelming. Going from two to three is so much easier. The third just goes along for the ride and actually helped the dynamic of the family and my two older ones.

    • Katy L says...

      This was my exact experience. Down to the ages (first two 18 months apart)…our first year with two was a shit show. I learned a lot about myself, not all of it good. 12 months ago, our third was born and it’s been no biggie, surprisingly. All of them are different kids, but I don’t chalk the challenge up to individual personalities. It’s definitely a chaos you can’t fathom until you’re riding that wave.

    • Fern says...

      You’re right about the “no one talks about that.” After I had my second and was in the thick of all the changes having two children bring, I said more than once “Why hasn’t word got out about how hard this is?!?” The transition from 1-2 was definitely harder for me than 0-2– but undeniably worth it.

  67. Nicole says...

    We have 4-year-old twins, which was a total shock at our first untrasound. There are no twins in our family, and we were not doing any fertility treatments, but I suppose twins must start somewhere. They were early – 34 weeks and 5 days – and had to eat every three hours for the first three months. I remember it feeling like one long day. I had no sense of time, and while we were exhausted and overwhelmed, the baby bubble was real. I still remember that time wistfully as being a combination of disorienting and intimate all at once.

    • Nicole – we went from none to twins as well! (But it was quite intentional as we’d done IVF). I know the insanity that is the first year for sure. It’s now been six years and we’ve decided to try and add a third – maybe experience a little slowing down this time around!

    • Morgan says...

      Shout out to my fellow twin mamas! We were opposite – going from one to three. My twins are 18 months old and I’m still very much in the trenches.

  68. Rebecca | Seven2Seven8 says...

    I have 16-month old twins and am expecting a third in May, when the twins will be just 22 months old. I’m most nervous about nursing, pumping, and maintaining milk apply with an infant and young twins to care for. I’m most excited about them being close in age, so that as they get bigger, they can do so many things together. Maybe because I went from 0-2, 2-3 assures me it will be crazier, but I’ve only ever known crazy… But I’m also happier than I’ve ever been.

  69. Im expecting my third child next year and even though I´m super excited and so happy, I still sometimes wonder what we´ve done haha. We have a 6 year old boy and a 3,5 year old girl, and the wee baby in my tummy is a boy!
    I agree with you, the biggest transition was absolutely from no children to one. I was a lot more relaxed with the second one and hopefully goes the same for the third one!

    • patty blaettler says...

      My boys were 6 and 8 when I had a little girl. I called her the cherry on our sundae! (She’s been an absolute delight)

  70. Emily says...

    We went from zero to two! While I don’t discredit how incredibly challenging the experience of becoming a mother to a singleton can be, most just don’t have a clue how much more challenging it is when you have two. There are days when I’m so overwhelmed I can’t breathe. You never get a break with twins/multiples. But as we are now approaching four months I can say that it’s gotten a little easier and will continue to get easier (and a hell of a lot more fun!). Plus, my husband and I never have to fight over who gets to hold the baby – one for each of us! ;)

    • Oh Emily, it will get easier I promise you! Also, my biggest sanity saver with twins was finding other moms of multiples to connect with. Moms of singletons (no offence to any of them) just stressed me out. Surround yourself with people in your similar situation and it will help to normalize the chaos.

  71. Zero kids thus far for us. We are 3.5 years into marriage and on year 5 of my husband’s phd program…and year 6 is starting to look more and more like a reality. And that’s FINE! It really is. We are talking more and more about starting a family and, at this point, are mostly talking in circles as we evaluate where we are currently (*ahem* … lookin’ at you phd program of my husband’s…) and end every conversation by reminding ourselves, “But there’s never *really* a good time to have a baby, right?” It seems like you kind of just do it and…adjust? I think the scariest thing for me about starting a family is the whole BABY part. I love kids…who are a bit older. I see what my friends are going through with their babies, toddlers, and “threenagers” and just do.not.feel.equipped. Wholly unqualified. Does anyone else feel that way? Like… gimme a rambunctious kiddo, an awkward/sullen middle schooler, or a sassy/rebellious teen. But a baby? Eeeep!

    • Dee says...

      Hey Katie,
      Had to comment just to say, we are also a PhD family! I 100% agree there is NO right time! Personally I’m 6 months pregnant, and facing an interruption to the third year of my PhD studies in order to have the babe. And 100% planning to get straight back on the horse and finish my research after a mat break! I was dreading telling my supervisor that I was pregnant, but he has been absolutely great about it, and he pointed out to me that really, in the current job market, who knows if you will even be any better off at the end of PhD process than when you were doing it? Also, who knows how long it will take you to conceive, and how long it will take your partner to submit? Both processes to an extent outside your control!

  72. I have three, and 0-1 was hardest for us as well. It helps that the babies have gotten progressively more chill! It was over we helming the first time – hard recovery, painful breastfeeding, fussier and more needy baby. The second and third time around recovery and breastfeeding was relatively a breeze. 1-2 was honestly quite smooth for us. Friends ask all the time about 2-3 and I always say that the things that are hard now are the things that were hard before: attitudes and handling the older kids, my patience with them, etc. Adding my smiley, sweet third baby to the mix wasn’t the hard part, although I am of course spread a little more. It is so different for everyone and I love to hear people’s stories and try to encourage new moms, although sometimes I feel you simply can’t see out of the haze while you’re in it.

  73. Katie says...

    In my experience having 2 is easier than one, after that first year. My daughters are 1.5 years apart and there best of friends. They play so well together. If I just had one, I think I would feel like I had to be the playmate. In the next month or Thurs daughter will be born. It’s been almost 6 years since we had a newborn. I wonder what it will be like with this massive gap especially compared to the tiny first gap? Will we feel the need to have a fourth? I have no idea. But I am looking forward to daytime naps and long snuggles while my older two are at school.

  74. Eleanor says...

    Hoping for 2-3. Stuck at one and about to start IVF for a second (hopefully). My daughter would be 4 or older by this point so while jealousy might be more of a problem, she’s such a good kid and helper, I hope if/when we bring a baby into the home it’s smooth since she’s growing more independent each day.

  75. Abesha1 says...

    Yes, it’s hard. Rest, and stay home for a while, and then get a ring sling (used ones are great, as they’re generally inexpensive and already softened up). Wear it while you carry the baby, nurse the baby, soothe the baby…. and have your hands free for the older ones. Everyone wins!

  76. Robin says...

    I have a four week old and three year old. I was really worried that my first would be jealous but he’s been amazing. So patient and always wanting to give the baby hugs and kisses. I actually feel we have become closer since my second son was born. I’ve been more purposeful in spending time w my oldest when I have the chance and I think we’re closer than we ever were. I can’t wait to see who this little baby becomes. As you say, I feel like I’m still on the first date, but for now I’m loving the snuggles and looking forward to getting to know the person he’s steadily becoming ;)

    • Michelle says...

      Oh this is so nice to hear! I am due any day now and am worried about my 3 year old son who I too worry will be jealous. This makes me keep my mind open and not try to predict or worry for no reason.

  77. Loved this reality check. The shit storm lasted almost fourteen full months for us. I’m not sure if my oldest daughter hated me or the new baby more. (I can live without knowing the truth though I’m leaning towards me.) I admit that I could’ve done a few things differently, taken more time to spend with just my oldest, that likely would’ve helped but, just like with the first child, there is a learning curve and ignorance ain’t bliss. The only difference is you have another human’s care to maintain while you navigate those murky-what-the-fuck-are-we-doing? waters.

    • Amy says...

      😂😂😂

  78. Erin says...

    We have two kids — a toddler and an infant — and this is 100% spot on. Thank you!!!!

  79. Hoping for number two soon in’sha’Allah

  80. kz says...

    Oh, Jo. This post is the reason I love your blog so much. So insightful, and so real….and adorable! Merci<3

  81. SarahJo says...

    We are expecting our first! It’s been crazy with both of us working full time, trying to organize our 2 bedroom apartment for the new addition, and still fit in our “lasts” as a childless couple. We are hoping to be able to buy a home next year so we are simultaneously organizing/purging/packing some lesser-needed items so moving with a newborn will be less stressful.

    I’ve basically been convincing myself I want kids all along the way with this one, but I’m loving every moment so far. Hopefully that continues!

  82. Anna Potter says...

    This was great to read.. im in the shit storm right now! A 3 week old and a 2 year old. The days I am alone with them both are so hard (2 year old is very spirited and energetic… like you both boys!) Its nice to read of that time when it settles as at the moment I feel i can’t give them both what they need of me… splitting my time is hard and I feel Im getting cross at my beautiful 2 year old all the time (who is acting out a bit.)
    In the meantime, wine! Coffee! Chocolate!
    X

    • Erin says...

      I love this: “wine! coffee! chocolate!”

      YES! So true!

  83. AR says...

    Thanks, I needed to read this :)

  84. Jessica says...

    Thank you so much for sharing this!! My daughter is two and we are thinking about baby number 2 but I am terrified of throwing a baby into the mix! But this was refreshing. I especially liked what you said about getting to know and bond with the second over time. Thanks again!!

  85. Holly says...

    Thanks for this. I have a 16 month old and am due with our second boy in February. Just reading this makes me want to cry I’m so overwhelmed. Will I ever sleep !? The newborn days made me feel like I was a crazy person, I didn’t recognize myself. I’m terrified to do it all again and this time I’m going into it sleep deprived and and with a very young needy toddler. I’m so hoping that it won’t be crazy as I’m expecting.

  86. Cle says...

    Very timely…we have a four year old and are expecting twins (!) early next year, so I am REALLY worrying about how to fit all in! Our oldest is a wonderful kid but high maintenance and just being pregnant with two has taken a toll on my relationship with her. Curious how other parents made the leap from one to THREE…

    • YC says...

      We went from one to three. Our oldest daughter was 3 years old when we brought home our newborn twin girls. It really was difficult in the beginning (nursing, double the baby equipment, etc.) but after the newborn months, it got progressively easier. And now, although we have 3 kids under the age of 6, it’s really not as hard as it sounds. They all play together, keep each other entertained and our lives are full in every best possible way. And now that our oldest is in public school, it’s been getting easier on our wallet!

    • Morgan says...

      Our story is just like yours. Our oldest daughter was 4.5 yrs old when our twin daughters were born. Now they are 6 years old and the twins are 18 months. It’s nuts! It’s always getting easier and then what is hard changes to something new. I’m still knee deep in the trenches. I tell people it’s like I landed on Mars and only speak Martian now. My best advice is to try and not compare with others because with twins everything is so different.

  87. Marina says...

    Going from 0 to 1 was the hardest. He was a really difficult baby. He cried all the time. He didn’t sleep until he was 3.

    Number 2 was a saint, and I even wrote my LLM thesis during maternity leave (I am in Portugal, we have 5 months payed leave).

    Going from 2 to 4 (twins) was also hard. Not as hard as the 1st, though. We are now outnumbered. Seriously outnumbered. ;) But they are all so happy together that it’s worth it.

  88. Mandy says...

    My husband and I had a little boy 9 years ago. We weren’t sure we wanted another. We hemmed and hawed for a few years. Then 2-plus years later we decided to try again. I got pregnant right away but had a miscarriage 3 months later. Then we tried for almost a year with no luck so we went to a fertility specialist. Turns out my husband had testicular cancer, probably had it for a year at that point (side note: my husband really didn’t want to see a fert. doctor and was visibly very reluctant at our appointment. However, had we not gone to the doctor he would not have discovered the cancer at that stage, which at that point had metastasized, and who knows when it would have been found or how far it would have spread. So I like to remind him occasionally that I was responsible for saving his life by insisting on seeing a fertility specialist!). So we moved in to treatment mode and the second baby idea was put on the back burner.

    When things returned to normal we got pregnant and had another child almost exactly 6 years after the first (birthdays are 2 days apart). Now they are 3 and 9. I was unsure about the age gap in terms of the kids bonding. But my sweet 9 year old son loves having the company. Time will tell if they form a close relationship that will take them through life.

    Coping – wise it has been great for us. Our son was fully independent from the get-go. Made the transition much easier. In hind sight I don’t know how I would have coped having a little one, a baby and a husband in chemo.

    Sometimes I wish they were closer in age – that lost pregnancy would have made our kids 3 years apart. I think about that sometimes. But you get what you get. I feel fortunate we were able to have the number of kids we wanted and that my husband recovered. If we had not lost that earlier pregnancy my kids would be closer in age but I might have lost my husband to cancer.

    • SarahJo says...

      This is amazing! A sorrowful story that sums up life beautifully. I’m so happy you have a healthy husband and two children!

    • beckxoxo says...

      My brother and I are 7 years (and 2 days apart). It has been absolutely brilliant. Never any sibling rivalry, just a really good friendship. Im now 30 with a settled family life and “boring” mum life and he’s 23 and jetsetting the world sleeping on couches and generally being wild! We couldn’t be doing more opposite things but we still text everyday and are besties. He’s a brilliant young cool uncle for my daughter and its just generally an awesome age gap!!!

    • Rebecca | Seven2Seven8 says...

      I read a beautiful post about infant and pregnancy loss that essentially suggested the lost child holds a forever space. You have three children, in essence… 3,6,9… The six year old is the forever holder of what-ifs, unrealized possibilities, fears that didn’t materialize. I’m sorry for your loss. I’m so glad your husband’s cancer was discovered and he’s here today.

  89. Kristin says...

    Thank you for this post! Just went from 2 to 3 and everything feels a bit crazy, great reminder that #thistooshallpass :) :)

  90. Jennifer says...

    I am right in the beginning of this transition right this moment! I have an almost 2 1/2 year old and a 1 week old newborn. So far so good now that my husband is home for 2 weeks to help with my toddler while the babe is attached to my breast at all times. But when he goes back to work I am so anxious! My toddler is doing well but what if that changes? My house will be in ruines but who cares? How will I get dinner made? Or run to target? Ahh! But in ways things are easier. The second was a lot kinder to my body and my nipples. Plus super easy going. I think I’m morning my toddler not being my baby anymore. It doesn’t help that they just had a major growth spurt! I keep telling myself things will all fall into place. Not all at once, but someday. It’s all going to be okay.

    • Rachel says...

      I struggled with feeling like my toddler was getting “too old,” too. But the truth is, he’s getting so much cooler. He’s a whole PERSON now. It actually helps to see how opinionated and personal he’s becoming – because it reminds me that the baby who wakes me up constantly will morph into her own little person, too. And what a blessing it is (on days when I get sleep!) to be their mama.

  91. Megan says...

    Thanks for this post. Our first kiddo is a little over 2 and we’re trying for #2. We get freaked out worrying about all the adjustments, whether kid #2 will be as intense as our first-born, whether we could ever love a second kid as much. One thing that friends said to us that I keep coming back to for reassurance is that yes, 2 is harder than 1, but it’s not twice as hard. So w/e the adjustment from 1 to 2; it’s not like going from 0 to 1 again. That helps me feel like we’ve got this should #2 materialize.

  92. Sarah says...

    Could not be more spot on! I have a 2 yr old boy and 3 mo old girl and it has been a polar opposite experience from my first. Total different personalities between the two, but also everything is so much more relaxed. Just started back at work today and I’m even a million times more chill about it, too. We know what to expect (for the most part) from every new stage and she just fits right in and rolls with the punches. In the deep throws of the terrible twos, this is such a blessing! Aren’t we so lucky they are ours.

  93. Concise and right on! Thanks for sharing. We really want to make the leap so our 2 and half year old dude has a sibling, but we’re scared about doing the pregnant/baby thing again. I hated being pregnant! And I hated that I hated it! And although I loved him right away. I had the same experience with not being like, 100% totally in love until the last 6-7 months. There just wasn’t a whole lot to know before, you know? It’s nice to hear others have similar experiences.

  94. Alison says...

    When I went from one to two, my best childhood friend reminded me what her midwife told her–with your first child you discover how deep your ability to love is. With your second, you find how wide your ability to love can reach. I’ve found myself noting moments with these terms as a sort of meditative practice of being present: a delightful conversation with my four year old, a cuddle with my five month old: “deep.” A challenging moment when they both need something, are both crying: “wide” and sometimes, when they’re laughing together, holding hands in their sleep: “deep and wide” ❤️

    • Cristina says...

      I loved your comment so much, I read it twice. Loved your vivid word pictures. I have an eight month old now and have begun to crave a second. I will remember the words you shared. Thank you!

    • Helen says...

      Love this too! I will definitely remember this.

    • Michelle says...

      Beautiful! Thank you for sharing :)

    • Jo says...

      I will remember your words too, when our second arrives in January. thank you!

  95. S says...

    1 to 2 can be tough sometimes! 2 to 3 was almost indiscernible. I know that sounds crazy, but true for us, anyway. Right now they are 1, 3, and 4 years old. Thanks for the fun post!

    • Lindsey says...

      Agreed! 1 to 2 was a little crazy at times. 2 to 3 was the easiest and hands-down most enjoyable. Less worries, less stress which frees-up SO much time to spend snuggling and loving that third baby.

  96. Jessica says...

    Curious about how Alex reacted to number two? My husband’s reaction to the second was SO different from his reaction to our first. For me, that was the hardest part about the first few months of having a second. He and my oldest were always together (nature of mom with newborn dad with toddler) and he remained so close to her. I felt he didn’t bond as much with our second in the early days and he wasn’t able to be there as much for me. Looking back at why the first few months of #2 were so much harder than #1 for me has a lot to do with my relationship with my husband and a massive shift in family dynamics. The first time it felt like we were a team devoted to this little creature and the second time it was divide duties and try to survive. Now that the youngest is 10 months, we are so much happier but also healing our relationship from some of the mutual hurts of the first few months. Love your candid posts and this community of people.

    • Erin says...

      It was the same for me—take heart, it gets better! My two are now 3 and 1.

    • Alex says...

      This is exactly what I’m worried about. My husband and our thirteen month old are inseparable, and it’s been that way from her birth. Their mutual adoration is absolutely amazing to witness. So I worry when it comes time for #2 (which we’ve talked about trying for in the next 6-12 months) that he’ll have a hard time bonding and our family will split up into ‘teams’. But I’m glad to hear that you guys are out of the hardest part and things are feeling better! Gives me hope.

    • Rachel says...

      My husband definitely took longer this time around to really (seem to) bond (baby is 6 months). We still struggle with feeling like we’re always in “divide and conquer” mode. I actually sat down after the kids were asleep (and willed myself to stay awake!) and was shocked to remember I actually LOVE this man. It seems like it has been forever since we just sat together. I know I’ll yearn for these days again sometime in the future, but present me really yearns for a couple years down the road when we are all in more of a flow together. :)

  97. Anne says...

    We have a four-year-old girl and the boys are two years and 7 weeks old. Zero to one was the hardest, even the first one was very much desired and we had her thanks to fertility treatment (number two and three were surprises). Your spontaneous life as you know it, is over.
    With the second one, you do not have these changes, but more than one means a lot more organisation (doctors visits, sports, schools), more worries, more cleaning. I’d wish to escape the laundry just for a couple of days :)
    But seeing all of them together is definitely worth all the difficulties and I love to see their different personalities appearing.
    Is is hard? Every day! You need to be a good team with your partner. I think it helps as well to have them all on the same schedule (which is possible when they are close in age). Sleep is important as well; I do not like the word sleep-training but teaching them good sleep habits right from their birth saves your sanity!

  98. Annaleah says...

    I definitely think that going from 1-2 was the hardest transition for me. The funny thing is, when I had my first, he took up so much time that I totally thought “How does anyone take care of a baby and a toddler?” When we had #2 (15 months later), it was crazy for a while trying to figure out how to do it. Now, we just had our 6th baby in 7 years, and I’m here to say that it definitely does get easier! Not that we don’t have crazy times, because we do, but it’s not the same desperate sort of crazy! :)

  99. I love this post. Agree with it all – the shock of going from being happily child-free to having a newborn is so huge, having a second is less of an adjustment. BUT in some ways having two kids isn’t twice as hard, it’s three times as hard… You have to meet each child’s individual needs, plus their needs as a pair. We have a bigger age gap, too: a six-year-old girl and a 11-month-old baby boy.

  100. Nicole says...

    On my very first date with my husband, the discussion of wanting or not wanting children came up– and luckily, we both fell into the same camp of not wanting them. We’ve been together almost five years and have not waivered (despite everyone telling us that we will). He’s getting a vasectomy for his 30th birthday. We have always felt like we would adopt if we ever changed our minds for some reason in our 40s or even 50s.

    I have never had the maternal pull naturally, I’ve had societal pressure. I also have bipolar disorder and do not want to go off of my medications. I do not feel like my genetics are the type that while I know how to pass along coping mechanisms and love a child; if I can prevent them from being passed along to a child I will do that. Mental illness is rampant in my family on both sides as far back as I can trace.

    The thing that I dislike the most about discussing this issue with acquaintances is that they never believe me. I feel like I almost have to break out this entire arsenal (adding vasectomy to the list) just to convince them that I know myself. They confuse not wanting children for not loving children.

    • CA says...

      Nicole, thank you so much for sharing! To me it sounds like you have it totally straight – it is 100% possible to love children and not want your own. It is also 100% possible to not have your own kids and live a wonderful life. It need not even be “childless”. I sometimes wish I’d respected my own intuition that I make a great auntie but not such a great mother. I hope you’re able to find a good network of friends who respect your choices as much as you do theirs.

  101. Jessica says...

    I recently met a mother of six (oldest is 10). I have two and have found it incredibly more difficult than one. I told her that I always dreamed I’d have three but that two has been so hard that I’m not sure anymore. She smiled and said confidently, “Oh, two is by far the hardest, have more.” ;)

  102. Judy says...

    I am so happy to read this. We have a daughter, Sammie. She is 10 months old and in may we are expecting our second child. This pregnancy went so fast; it still feels like I’m dreaming. The age difference will be 15 months and to be honest I am a little scared of how it will be. I really can imagine the first months will be exhausting. Stay chill and relaxed… I hope I can make it happen.
    X Judy, The Netherlands

  103. I found going from 1 to two incredibly hard during the first few months. I absolutely agree with what you said, it was a shit show and I immediately felt like I regretted it. Our girls are 16 months apart, and I remember the first month, anytime my husband would leave (other then for work) I would end up in tears half the time counting the minutes until he arrived home. I was in over my head and definitely struggling from some light PP depression. But then around 2 or 3 months in it suddenly got so much better. I felt more confident, relaxed and generally at ease with the chaos. Now my girls are 2 yrs and 8 months and OMG are they cute! They’re best friends and even when our toddler is in time out for hitting the baby, the baby crawl towards her because they hate being separated. I never thought my heart could love so much. To all women in those early months – IT GETS EASIER, OMG I PROMISE! We are thinking of having a third, and I know this time around I will be seeking the advice and help of a therapist during those first months to ease the transition. I think mental care during those early and challenging times can really make such a difference.

    Xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  104. MC says...

    Another vote for zero to one being the hardest- it was a major reality shift for me. We have three under four. First was csection after 47 hours, second was planned c, and third was an unplanned totally unmedicated VBAC. It was an unexpected gift being I had already grieved for what I thought was my lost chance at natural birth after my first, but I totally admit I was so bummed to have to go home so soon with two toddlers already there while waddling around with a subway sandwich of a pad between my legs. I was actually looking forward to my “vacation” of four post-op days in “hotel” Loma Linda Medical Center (it was so luxurious and food was great for a hospital) and the chance to get aquatinted with our newest while resting and having all my meals served to me in a quiet room! No such luck. Three this close can be nuts, especially being I’m an introvert and need more time outs to de-frag than the kids at times, but we have so much fun. It’s what we signed up for so we just thank our lucky stars we have the gift of each other through sickness and health.

  105. Jennifer says...

    The best advice I ever received about going from one child to two children was, “Sometimes your kids are both just going to cry.” It seems SO obvious, right? But it was the most comforting and best parenting advice I’ve ever gotten. I could have easily felt overwhelmed and like a failure the first time they both cried at the same time. Instead, I remembered that advice and just stayed calm. “This is okay. Totally normal! Sometimes they’re both just going to cry.” It changed my world.

    • Jessica says...

      YES!! And sometimes they will poop in their diaper simultaneously too…

    • Amen to this. For me that was one of the great things about having a second — you realize that sometimes you HAVE TO let them cry because you simply can’t respond to everyone in time, and it ends up being the most freeing feeling. “Oh, that’s right, I don’t have to make everyone feel fantastic every moment of every day!”

  106. Minna says...

    I’m expecting my first kid any day now. I find myself waking up and just laying there, thinking, “Wow, I’m just laying here. Look at me go!” Or while stopping into a store on a whim, watching Netflix while eating lunch, etc. I got a diaper bag that boasted of having 11 pockets (!!) and it made me realize — I’m about to give up my quiet time and just stuff tons of baby junk into pockets. I’m gonna put my hand into a pocket one day and it’ll come out just covered in apple sauce.

  107. CS says...

    “At first, I felt guilty that I didn’t bond enough with Anton right away… It was like asking if you’re in madly love with someone on the first date.” Halfway through my pregnancy with #2, I’ve had this worry (even before I was pregnant!)—HOW is it possible to love someone as much as I love my first born daughter? I mean, I’m the last of six kids, so I know it is logistically possible—I feel very loved by my parents, and I’ve seen photographic evidence that they loved me when I was tiny (although… my oldest sister had a BOX of baby pictures, and I had a single manila envelope… hmm). I’ve googled “not bonding with second baby” multiple times, but even hearing that it is quite common, I still feel unsettled about the guilt I already have about the lack of bond with #2. Your comparison to a first date is exactly what I needed to hear. I know that “falling in love” high, and I certainly know it doesn’t come on the first date… butterflies, excitement, nervousness… yes. But love… the deep love you feel in your heart and your bones and your mind that comes after knowing someone in and out… even if that loves takes a while, I know it will be worth the wait.

  108. It’s so great to hear your honesty! Having children is coming up for me and my husband, but honestly, if Donald Trump wins, I’m not sure I want to bring a child into this world at all. It’s horrifying to think think that something like that would influence me, but it feels like getting pregnant when you know there is a meteor about to strike the planet!

    Crossing my fingers and asking people to vote!!

    PS – I made an illustration to say that I voted since in Washington it’s all mail in and we don’t get stickers! So if you or anyone else wants to share it on social media to let everyone know that they voted, please feel free to use it!

    http://theblondish.tumblr.com/post/152662449607/and-so-should-you-early-voting-has-begun-in-many

  109. LL says...

    The timing of this post could not have been better. We just told our coworkers and friends that we’re having a second baby in May – this morning. Thanks for the reassurance. I’ve always remembered hearing the phrase, “One is one, but two is like 20.” This made me feel a little better :).