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. Anna says...

    And, I do appreciate hearing positive comments from parents of onlies. That’s a real rarity in the midwest, where I live. When we visit New York, I feel weirdly more comfortable having an only.

  2. Liz says...

    My daughter is 14 months and my husband and I have already been on the infertility treatment journey for a few months, hoping for a sibling. I’m equally excited and terrified to have another. Like many others have shared, the first 7 months or so of my daughter’s life were incredibly difficult for me. I was overwhelmed by parenting but also by the guilt of leaving others who struggled with infertility behind. Now, I feel guilty for wanting another child when so many can’t have one – motherhood is just a wonderful mess of guilt, happiness and love. I’m thankful everyday to experience it and hope I can remind myself of that when I’m in the newborn trenches if I’m lucky enough to have another!

  3. Joanna says...

    That’s always a topic close to my heart.
    My daughter is now three but I am 43. I love her more than anything in the world. Although I once in my life, in my twenties, did not want to have children, I tried IVF treatment 6 times this past year just to have another one. I often wonder how I could love another one and split my feelings or care. But as I come to realize that I cannot have one more and have to accept it, I get …well lots of dark feelings and thoughts.
    I think I want a second child more than I wanted a first. I hope that doesn’t sound too weird. I now know what I didn’t know then. And now I want a sibling for my daughter and the realization that I cannot offer her one depresses me. I cannot stop thinking that she will be without a close family at a young age and feeling guilty about it.
    I know I have to appreciate what I have and be thankful but it is not I want to feel what I am feeling.

    • Mary says...

      I just wanted to say I am so sorry. This sucks. Your daughter will know how loved she is though and is lucky to have you as a mom!

  4. Anna says...

    We would love to have more than one child, but are experiencing the frustration of secondary infertility. Our daughter will be 6 soon, and we’ve been trying for 2 years. It’s been very sad realizing that she might be an only. The silver lining is that I am more grateful for her now, realizing how lucky we were to get her. I’ll literally stare at her with invisible hearts popping out of my eyes. I refuse to let my sadness get in the way of having a joy-filled relationship with her, although some days it’s hard.

    • Rosemary says...

      Oh I feel for you, but can I just tell you a little story? My daughter was 6 when her brother was born, after many years of our trying to conceive him. Of course we were overjoyed, but I was so worried about no t being able to pay my daughter the same attention after his birth, so we were uber-conscious about spending time with her and so were our family and friends. We thought we did great, and she seemed to adjust well. She tells me now ( she is in her 20’s) that during that time she would pray every night that we would never have another baby. She was very happy the way things were before her brother’s arrival!

    • KP says...

      I relate to everything you shared very much, having gone through it. We had no problems getting pregnant the first time around, so when six months of trying for #2 turned into a year we were surprised. After receiving an infertility diagnosis and being told our chances of having a child on our own were 10% or lower, I was devastated (I was barely in my thirties at this point). We saw specialists and they didn’t have much hope that fertility treatments would work for us. We decided treatments were not for us, and started to think of ourselves as a family of three, but we could definitely feel a hole. And it was hard to have people constantly asking us when we were going to have our second child, etc (people are so insensitive!). I went through months of anger, grieving, and feeling betrayed by my body. But we continued to try on our own, every month, which was heartbreaking. And, miraculously, I got pregnant this year after more than two years of trying, and we found out it was twins which was such a shock to us I think we are still in denial. What is weird is that this spring I got really into gardening. I think I channeled all my reproductive energy into fostering little plants and watching them develop their flowers and fruits – I was pretty obsessed. I think I just needed to nurture something. And then I got pregnant. Who knows, but I think that garden therapy helped me, even if it just gave me something else to focus on (my husband thinks so as well). I am really sorry you are also experiencing this as well and sincerely wish you all the best. And the silver lining of making you more grateful for your first is wonderful. I realized how much I took for granted the first time around and it was humbling.

  5. I’m expecting my first child via IVF after 3.5 years of infertility. For some reason, I like the idea of having three kids, but I know I have no idea what’s coming for me – so we’ll how I feel once we *hopefully* survive the one! We actually have four embryos frozen for future use and I hope we get to try for at least one more in the future. I have saved your wonderful article for that time, if we are lucky enough to conceive again :)

  6. Rachel N. says...

    I found being a parent much more challenging than I had expected since I was coming from an education background. I’m pretty straight-no-chaser, but I was at yoga (two months into being a parent of two), and the instructor had us repeat, “Release expectation to discover possibilities.” I’m not one for mantras or slogans, but I found myself repeating it over and over in my day to day with my kiddos. Sure, everything looks different after one or two or three kids (Mine are 3yo, 2yo, nb.), but I’ve found it so helpful to go into any/every situation or stage without an expectation or agenda. It’s been surprising to me how much more I enjoy my children, and how much easier parenting seems. (This is not to say my kids run wild in any sense. Just that I have come to understand a quick trip to the grocery store won’t look the same with three kids as it did when I was single.)

    I also recommend getting rid of the guilt as quickly as you can. A favorite grad school professor in child development I had always said that parenting is imperfect people raising imperfect people. It’s been true for generations. Keeping this in mind (and pairing it with lots of honest conversations w/my kids) always helps me release any fear/guilt that my kids aren’t getting what they need.

  7. Ramona says...

    As so often happens on Cup of Jo, this post comes at a perfect time for me! We’re starting to think about a second child now that our first is 1. To be honest, in my heart of hearts the only reason I currently can come up with for having a second is that I want to give my daughter a sibling. I dread going back to the newborn days and can’t fathom how I could love the second child as much as I love my first. I really appreciate how honest this post is about the newborn days with the second being hard, and about how the bond with the second child takes a little time to reach the level of the bond with the first. And, of course, what I’m anticipating in a second child is the much needier newborn version of my daughter, and not a completely different person!

  8. Natalie says...

    I have three boys that are 7, 5, and 2 1/2 and a 5 week old baby girl. It is absolute crazy town at my house. My husband works long hours and travels often. Getting everyone to their different schools & activities, naps, meals and breastfeeding a newborn, feels like a game of Tetris.

  9. AmyB says...

    We’re about to add #4 to the mix, any time now; it’s always scary, I think. There’s always the question of “how could I love this new baby as much” and how to cope with no sleep again, etc. Our kids are all spaced far apart (4-6 years between each of them) and that has been both helpful and not…on the one hand, the older kids have all reached some level of independence, so there’s been very little jealousy. But I’ve gotten used to sleep, and not nursing 24/7, and being free of all the daily troubles a young baby brings. At the end of the day, life is challenging sometimes – your challenge may be coping with no children or loads of them, or something in between, or the struggles may come from a completely different corner of your world. We all just do our best to create happiness out of what life gives us, right? 😊

  10. Your mothering posts are my favorite. You are so honest and candid, it’s so helpful! Thank you!

  11. Liz Cohen says...

    thank you for this! going to have my second boy (same age difference as your children) come spring, so this was reassuring and nice to read. i’m definitely pretty nervous about going through the lack of sleep phase all over again, how my son will react to no longer being the center of attention, and a whole slew of other changes. when i’m having a tough day, i’ll try to remember to read this post!

  12. Suzie says...

    Expecting for the first time with a son this March and am so curious on sleep training! How soon can you start this? I want to make sure we start sleep training as soon as appropriate.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      people have very different philosophies on sleep (co-sleeping versus a separate bedroom; sleep training versus child-led, etc.), but for what it’s worth, we found sleep training to be a godsend for our family. the boys were so fussy before they learned to sleep on their own, and once they did, they were so much better rested and actually loved bedtime. it took away the stress around bedtime, sleep, etc. it’s a lifelong skill that you are teaching your child, and made our whole family happier.

      here’s a post i wrote about teaching toby to sleep when he was 6 months:
      http://cupofjo.com/2012/10/motherhood-mondays-sleep-training-its-tough/

      and with anton, we did sleep training when he turned 3 months.

      hope this helps! congratulations on your baby news :) xoxoxo

    • Roxana says...

      I am all for sleep-training, but with the caveat that you do what feels right for you. We tried to sleep train our now 5 year-old when he was about 7 months and it did not go well. I felt pressured by some well-meaning mom friends. I wish I would’ve been more laid back about it. Eventually, he just learned to sleep. Our daughter, who is 3, was much “easier.” She took to it immediately at about 6 months. Up until that point she was already a pretty great sleeper.

      Some say that you can start sleep-training when the baby has doubled their birth weight, but not before 5 months (I think). We’re expecting a third and I am hoping to go the birth weight route. I know people who started as early as 2 months. There is definitely debate on how soon is too soon, though, because of where the baby is developmentally.

      Either way, I highly recommend Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth.

      You will be a great mom! All the best to you!

    • Roxana says...

      Oh, and Joanna’s post on sleep-training Toby is spot-on! :)

  13. I have only one. I don’t see that changing but adoption is always contemplated. My son is 9. His father decided he didn’t want yo be a father when I was pregnant. I ALWAYS wanted to be a mother so I decided to make it work. Holy hard! I was sick from 5 hours after conception until birth. He was born two months early. Being a single parent is TOUGH, i don’t get child support and don’t live around family. For a few years my son had imaginary parents who were much better tgan me. Then he cried every day for siblings. This summer he went to a friend’s house every day with his friend and his friend’s sibling and it was NOT a good experience except he said he was glad to be an only child. Sometimes I contemplate adoption but being a parent is hard and expensive. I thought my home would be filled with my kids but now I’m happy with my one, and his friendswho go home :)

  14. Kathy says...

    As a mother of 5, I would say that going from 1 to 2 was tough! It involved more juggling and more guilt (when they’re both crying, one of them is going to have to wait!). As the years have gone on, there are definitely tough things about having a big family (harder to go out to eat, take trips, etc). But I think the sibling bond is a very special one, and I think all of the kids benefit from that. Also, for me, I think that without the other kids to focus on, I would have been too wrapped up in trying to be a “perfect” parent to my one and only, trying to attend to her every need, and I don’t think that would have been good for either of us :)
    (Going from 4 to 5 was definitely the easiest transition…by then, I was old and didn’t care any more!!) ;)

  15. Amanda says...

    My son is 7 months old. My husband and I always thought we wanted 2, but now we’re not so sure. For us, I think we were a little naïve with our first. We thought things would be challenging, but we assumed that the pregnancy, birth, and subsequent baby would be healthy and fine. That was mostly true, but at 3 months we found out our son has some health issues that could potentially be very serious. It was like someone punched us in the face, in a number of ways. Since then, we’ve had more friends dealing with extremely difficult pregnancies and with babies who have health issues. We feel very lucky, but we are also terrified of having a second baby because we are more aware that you truly have to be ready for anything. And, you have to be ready for your first child to have to deal with whatever life may bring as well. It’s sad because this is a pretty pessimistic way of thinking about things.

    • Jenna says...

      I think that’s a very logical way of thinking about your situation! Way too many people don’t think logically enough about the financial aspects involved in having a child, including any and all potential medical complications.

  16. Lauren says...

    I had the same experience as you Joanna, 0-1 is so hard, and the first few months of 1-2 is rough but I enjoyed my 2nd baby way sooner than I started enjoying his brother. Now I’m pregnant with my third ( a girl!) and I’m actually not really feeling nervous at all like I did when I was pregnant with my younger son. I feel like everything will pass and I will take things in stride, but my first two were angel babies so if my third is colicky or a bad sleeper I might (temporarily) lose my mind!

  17. Ellie says...

    We have a 12 month old and plan to try for a sibling early next year. Won’t lie, the thought terrifies me. But we want our cub to have a brother or sister, it’s such a special bond. So thank you for this, it helps!

  18. emma says...

    Great article! I totally agree none to one was so much harder than one to two! You are already getting up early, getting home for bedtime routine etc you just have another in the mix. My daughters were 22 months apart and my newborn was only 10% of the work after she was born .., it was all still the toddler! They are best friends (they are 3 and 5) and totally different personalities which is cool to see and they compliment each other well.

    I’m expecting another girl in February! Looking forward to the next chapter!!

  19. I don’t have any children right now, but I love hearing about parents’ experiences. I can’t wait to forward this to one of my best friends who is due to give birth to her second any minute.

    http://www.hyggewellness.com/blog

  20. Liz says...

    Perfect timing for me to read this.I’m expecting my second son next week and have been questioning how exactly we going to pull this off!

  21. Alicia says...

    We conceived our now 5 year old on the first try and have been working on a second for over a year now. Ready to move on!

  22. Kellie P. says...

    Going from 0 to 1 is more mentally exhausting (because you’re second-guessing everything and wondering if you’re doing it all wrong), and going from 1 to 2 is more physically exhausting (because you don’t have time to take a shower, let alone think).
    Buy my two are still really little, so this post gives me hope that it gets easier!

  23. Anne says...

    8 years into this parenting adventure, I still think that going from 0-1 child was infinitely harder than 1-2 children, although we are definitely done after 2 boys. My observations:

    1)My partner and I are both Type A control freaks, so the lifestyle disruption from 0-1 kid was HARD. Plus, I had a tough c-section recovery, a miserable breastfeeding experience and a walloping case of post-partum depression. The first year with our first son was absolutely the worst year of my life, which is hard to say, but it’s the truth. The second time around I had a plan in place to prevent PPD, a much more laissez-faire approach to breastfeeding (if it worked, great, but if not, pass the formula!) and could plan to build in the crucial help we needed during the first months. I actually enjoyed my second son’s babyhood and I’m so glad I got to have that experience. It felt like an amazing do-over.

    2) Our boys are almost exactly 3 years apart, and our older son potty-trained right before his brother was born (his choice, not mine, I’d given up on it!). Having a relatively independent and highly verbal preschooler helped a lot.

    3) I feel like everyone I know with more than one child has one kid who’s the “hard” one–the strong willed, high energy, full of sass, always-pushing-the-envelope child. For us, that is our older son, so when his sweet, compliant brother came along, I felt like we won the lottery. For people where the sweet, compliant one is the first one, I can see how a feisty second child would feel much harder.

    Like all things parenting, it’s interesting to see how different everyone’s experience is! But I’m so glad we had our second son–he’s made us into a delightful family.

    • Kerri says...

      This is so interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Oneida says...

    We got married in a historic downtown home that a family with six kids opened up to the public every weekend for weddings. When we met with them for our first consultation, they were just the sweetest, asking about our lives and families in the midst of all the wedding business. They asked if we wanted kids, at the time my husband said 4 max and I said 6(!) The father laughed and said, well, the first two are the hardest and everything after that is just fun. He had such a positive, cheerful attitude. We’ve been married 6 years and have 2 kiddos (both surprises). After the first difficult pregnancy/post partum, we decided we couldnt do it again, but then found ourselves pregnant. I have to say every day I feel so blessed that the 2nd came along. She is the most joyful, funny, cute little cartoon of a 3 year old and her arrival renewed and restored my faith in God as well as my outlook on life and family. Not to mention my girls are the BEST of friends. I can’t believe now that I was not going to have more. My husband feels done, but I just can’t do anything permanent yet. Even despite how difficult the first was, two was a dream for me because everything the second time around was like, “well, it could be much worse”. I was on bed rest for 4 months with the 2nd and it was like a long luxurious vacation where all I did was eat, sleep, and learn sitting down hobbies as I snuggled my first. People were like “you poor thing!” but it was really my husband and all our friends who took over the brunt of the work. I was like, “No pain! No infections! No sleepless nights! No nausea! No ER visits! This is glorious!” So if that sweet man was right, if the first 2 are the hardest, then it’s hard for me to let go of the idea that there might be more fun out there for us. We will see!

  25. Meems says...

    Married 25 years and no kids sadly. READ, it was not our choice. My hubs and I adore kids and want to hear all about the path not chosen for us. I look forward to the pictures, articles and comments regarding parenting. It shines a light on the ups/downs/challenges. We just wish the many would include us more in the celebrations and not label us as childless which seems to equate to, they don’t want to be bothered or care. Could not be further from the truth. Thanks for keeping us informed!

    • Erin says...

      So sweet. Wish you were my neighbor so I could include you :)

  26. Aaaah I just love this! I have been asking this question to myself recently A LOT! Thank you Jo!

  27. Katie says...

    This post could not have come at a more appropriate time. My second baby is literally ten days old and my husband and I are currently in the WHAT HAVE WE DONE phase. Love them insanely, but a (just) two year old and a newborn are no joke.

  28. A says...

    Agreed, at first it’s a s**tshow! The baby is actually the easy part, since you’ve already done it before. It’s having a toddler who’s angry that they’re no longer #1 (and having lots of tantrum and acting out because of it!) that’s the hard part.

    4 months in, my toddler still has a hard time not getting all the attention (I think him being an extrovert makes it tougher on him), BUT balancing two is getting easier.

    I still haven’t been able to do much one-on-one with my firstborn, so I’m looking forward to getting back to that someday. As much as I adore the new little sister, I really miss my son : ( .

  29. Ailsa says...

    My boys are now 6 and 8. They fight and annoy each other, BUT they are also the best of friends. They are constantly in a game, role playing, lego worlds, outdoor games, everything. I’m so glad I had two and at this stage having two makes my life easier as they entertain each other (welcome back lazy Sunday mornings!)

    PS If you have a second, be prepared to find your first born ENORMOUS and so grown up! I remember finding this and my son was only 2 at the time.

    • Katy says...

      Totally agree with the enormous comment. When my first came to the hospital to see our newborn, he was 2 years old, and looked abnormally large, like something was wrong with him. :) He was the same size as the night before, but after holding a pint-sized newborn, his toddler-ness seemed ENORMOUS.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha yes! so so so big and so WILD! i remember thinking that toby was like a huge tornado running around the room, while anton was so tiny and still.

    • heather says...

      YES. Our son was 2.5 when the girls came along and he was not yet potty-trained. I changed his diaper the day I left for the hospital, and then two days later I came home from the hospital with these little bitty newborn diapers and I took one look at his enormous diaper and thought, No way. He is HUGE. Use the toilet OMG.

  30. Tara says...

    Hardest definitely from 0 – 1. Total life changer. Second time around was so much easier, even though only two years apart. Had a big gap (8 years) then third, totally doted on by whole family. Four years on…fourth on the way. More worried about my age (40) than looking after another baby. Don’t want to be judged being an ‘old’ mum. Whole other post!

    Hardest thing about 2nd, 3rd etc is looking after children while pregnant with morning sickness, all day :)

  31. I felt pretty shell-shocked at first, but a year later I realized how much easier it was to have two when they started playing together!! My world changed so much…I was no longer the only source of entertainment. It also depends so much on the child’s personality. My sixth was a much easier adjustment than my fifth…but the first baby was by far the biggest adjustment.

  32. Bridget says...

    I cried when I had my second- I could not believe I made my baby a big brother- he was so young (2.5 years old). I too could not imagining loving another person as much. I still feel guilty as I divide my time between 4, but I love them all individually and equally. My oldest gives me the most grief when we are all together (teasing and being a stinky older brother to the younger ones). But we usually all have a great time together- instant party.

  33. Aya says...

    This is so reassuring to hear. I know people do it and make it work but with a 15-month daughter right now I wonder “is it really possible to add another someday!??!” This made me feel that we can make it work…one day.

  34. It feels like this post was written to me, ha! We have one daughter, who’s 15 months and are debating if we really want a second child. I got pregnant again when she was about 10 months old very unexpectedly, it felt good to not have had to try at all but I was a basket case. I felt so unready and scared–newborns are SO hard (at least for me.) I ended up miscarrying when I was 12 weeks pregnant, which was devastating and relieving all at once. Some days my heart aches to be pregnant again, to feel a baby inside me, and for the newborn smell *swoon*. Other days I think I could never and that maybe the universe was telling me that one is enough. I listened to a podcast the other day (indie birth association podcast) in which a mother described her own pregnancy loss. She talked about how the questions, “how many kids are you having? when are you going to be done?” are somewhat ludicrous as none of us can really know if another or not another is a possibility . I’m trying to just be open to what happens. <3

  35. Roxana says...

    This is a fantastic post! We have two (5 year-old son and 3 year-old daughter) and we’re expecting another boy in late January/early Feb (due Jan. 31!) He is definitely our surprise baby.

    I completely relate to all you say. Going from none to one was BRUTAL. The irony was that I had fancied myself a “kid-person.” I’d grown-up babysitting, I babysat throughout college, and was involved with the large and very vibrant children’s ministry at our church. I *knew* how to be around kids. Um, yeah, being a parent is a completely different ball game.

    S came along after we’d lost his older brother late in the pregnancy. I guess S was our “rainbow baby?” I was thrilled to have him home, and was madly in love with him, but learning to be a mom was so disorienting. I felt lost and overwhelmed and my boobs were enormous, and they were trying to kill me. I distinctly remember my husband and I looking at each other and saying “This must get easier because no one would ever have another child!” I also distinctly remember strapping S into his car seat one day when he was 18 months old, and getting this feeling like “This is normal now.” It took me a year and half to adjust to our new life.

    I got pregnant with our daughter somewhat earlier than we’d expected when S was 18 months old. At 16 weeks I went on strict bed rest until almost the very end of the pregnancy. P came a day before her due date. Thankfully, she was big and healthy, but the months preceding her birth were horrible. S was barely 2 at the time and had no idea what was going on. I literally couldn’t do anything, but sit on the couch. My poor mom came to help. She struggled between her identity as grandma and her temporary role of being my hands and feet. I was frustrated and feeling like I was in jail. I struggled with how I would feel about this little girl I was carrying. I’d always thought I’d only want boys (don’t know why). Of course, I fell madly in love with her, too. As corny as it sounds, my daughter has given new meaning to words like “delight” and “joy.” I absolutely adore her.

    Now we have another little dude on the way. I’m almost 7 months. I’ve felt like total crud for this pregnancy. The first few months were really difficult. I kept thinking “I cannot do this. I CANNOT do this.” I’m excited now and actually a little proud maybe(?) that, God-willing, I’m going to have 3 kids and that technically I already have 4. I don’t know why. Maybe that’s messed-up. Anyway, S and P are excited to have a little brother. If only we could decide on what to name him. . .

    To non-parents wondering what it’s going to be like: you can’t anticipate it. Your world will change dramatically. Your identity will change. You’ll grieve the things you can’t do anymore, you’ll learn to adjust your expectations and in many ways you’ll just do with less (like, um, sex and sleep). You’ll think about completely different things and will look at the world in completely different ways. In the process, you’ll hopefully become a better version of yourself. A lot of the changes will be unexpected, but glorious. Your heart will open up in a way you didn’t think was humanly possible. I could never have anticipated how much I love my kids, and I could never imagine my life without them. For all I know, my kids could be trolls, but I think they’re the most beautiful people I know.

    • This is such a lovely comment, and so wise. Bless you <3

  36. I started tearing up as soon as I saw the title of this post. I can’t wait to read every comment, as we’re contemplating as second, ourselves, but are honestly very afraid of the transition. Would love to see a post on onlies… maybe you already have one? Curious about the satisfaction levels of parents of one (and the satisfaction levels of the only children, of course!).

    • stacy says...

      We (I) are strongly leaning towards just one. Our 2 year old is (so far) more than we can handle, but I do get asked about this a lot. I guess we don’t have enough years under our belts to say whether one is/was a good decision for us, or whether our son missed out on having a sibling. Though I can offer a different perspective. My brother and I are just under 4 years apart. We were and still are very different people. We never got along, and still don’t. We did not play well, and I actually disliked him most of my youth. Looking back I think I would have loved being an only child. So most days I haven’t a clue what people mean when they tell me it’s “unfair” for my son to be an only child. I know the relationship between my brother and I isn’t the norm, but not many are willing to discuss the few cases when siblings were not good for each other.

    • Kate says...

      Our daughter is (and will remain) an only. That was not the plan, but I had a terrible pregnancy with her, and both of us nearly died during childbirth. The risk is just too high for me to try again.

      To be honest, I initially really struggled it (and sometimes still do). I kept feeling like I would be cheating her out of a sibling relationship. Never mind that I have two siblings and we all hate each other…

      I expected to struggle with getting rid of her things- her little onesies, her tiny swimsuit, her crib. Oddly, I haven’t struggled with that at all. I keep a couple little things, and the rest goes out the door (no hanging on to it “just in case”!)

      The best part is the financial aspect. With an only, I can afford things for her, like private school tuition, that I automatically ruled out when I assumed I would be facing the cost over multiple children.

      There you go- the good, the bad, and the unexpected.

    • Roxana says...

      We have two and are expecting a (surprise) third. That said, parenthood started off as a rough road for us. We lost our first son 6 months into the pregnancy (so we technically have four) and learned that we had no control over what happens. I got pregnant with our 5 year-old son and the pregnancy was totally normal and healthy. We were so nervous to try for another, and felt content that if we only had our one son we were grateful and happy. Our hearts were more than full with just him.

      We have since had a daughter (who is 3) and, like I said, are expecting another son. I wouldn’t change anything. I love the way my son and daughter are best buds right now, and that they’re excited for a little brother. But again, when we only had our son we felt full.

      I am a little surprised/discouraged that people would question you on how many you’re having or would say that you’re “unfair” for your son to be an only child. Even if you wanted a thousand kids, you couldn’t guarantee anyone anything!

      All the best to you!

  37. Laura says...

    This resonates with me as well! I have a 7 month old and a 3 year old. Hardest 6 months of my life – colic, mastitis twice, horrible sleeper – totally different than my first. My 3 year old was also so well behaved, I couldnt imagine if he wasn’t! I even went to my Dr thinking I had PPD because I literally could not get through the day without a good sob. Turns out – just lack of sleep was making me crazy. Slept trained the baby and since then I am a new woman! I am also breastfeeding and trying to wean to go back to work, so that’s next on the task ahead! You can do it mamas!!!!!!

  38. Lauren says...

    I love this post and it has come at the best time for me. We just had our second and I’ve recently gone back to work. Going from one to two is VERY difficult. My time spent with my first is now that much more special.
    Always great reads on your blog, thank you!

  39. K says...

    My husband and I are positive that we want a second but we grapple with WHEN. We have a lovely 18-month-old who is a dream come true during the day but a total nightmare at night (I say that as lovingly as someone who legitimately hasn’t slept in a year and half possibly can). His sleep issues have made us so fearful of bringing another baby into the mix.

    Do we wait until our son is older and a bit more independent (and hopefully sleeping through the night)? Or do we just get it over with while we’re “in the trenches” of sleepless nights and diaper changes and bulky baby equipment?

    These are the questions that keep me up at night… oh and my toddler… that’s right… it’s my toddler who keeps me up at night.

    • Roxana says...

      Oh, you sweet woman, hang in there! I does get better. My now 5 year-old son was the worst sleeper. It was serious torture. (You probably already know that the Geneva Conventions prohibit sleep-deprivation, because it’s considered torture). Anyway, he sleeps now. He sleeps through almost anything!

      Kids are like a box of chocolates, you never know who you’re going to get :). That said, our daughter was comparatively the best sleeper. She was like “Oh, it’s night? I will sleep now. Goodnight, mommy! Goodnight, daddy!” For a while, I’d wake-up to check on her because I thought “How is this possible? She is asleep?!”

      You can do it!

  40. Michelle Green says...

    I found going from one to two very difficult. With one you still had a bit of time when they would have a nap, only one child to struggle with in the morning before work, only one child to clean up after. That was very manageable. Suddenly there’s two and never a moment to yourself! No time to sit once the child goes to sleep because the newborn is hanging off of your boobs for hours every night. Making food while the toddler cries and the baby screams was manic and each day was just survival. However, it does pass and now that they are two and four-years-old, they have become the best of friends and I wouldn’t change a thing.

  41. Jenny says...

    I loved having a second child. It’s true what they say about you being a more relaxed parent the second time around – at least that was the case with me! I love, love, love the baby stage and would love having many more babies. BUT . . . I don’t want a third child. I just can’t see another child fitting into my family. The advice I always share with friends is with two children the joys are doubled but so are the sorrows!

  42. MK says...

    Our son is still only 6 months old, so I think we’ll wait until we cross the 1 year finish line before we even THINK about having another. But even during times when motherhood has felt impossibly tough, I have always felt in my bones that I want another one. I love being a mom so much that I secretly kind of think I was a mother to like, 8 children in other life! In this one I know that probably we will have two, and I love thinking about what that will be like.

  43. Kara says...

    I love this…even though I cannot really relate to having 2 kids. I think doing a post about secondary infertility would be amazing. It’s so rarely talked about.

  44. Jamie says...

    I never thought much about being an only child until I became pregnant with our son. That’s when people started asking if we would be having multiple children. And that’s when I discovered how much of an outlier I really am. People definitely look sideways when I say I’m happy with our family of three. That, yes, we are “one and done.” And, no, that doesn’t mean I’m not super excited that my friends are having more children. The more the merrier, for them. No one has articulated my feelings better than Lauren Sandler. I highly recommend her book, “One and Only”: http://www.npr.org/books/titles/189553978/one-and-only-the-freedom-of-having-an-only-child-and-the-joy-of-being-one#excerpt

  45. Kristen K. says...

    Joanna, this couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m expecting my second in a week and a half and I’ve basically been wondering what we were thinking the entire pregnancy. I can’t imagine what it will be like to fit this new little one into our lives, but one thing that gets me through is knowing that so many people go on to have two (or more) and they survive and thrive. I know the first few months will be tough and I worry I will lose my bond with my son, but I hope we will all be stronger for it when we get through the newborn phase.

  46. I had twin girls first, and believe me, zero to two kids is quite the “body slam” (an awesome one though). Three and a half years later, we welcomed our son. It’s weird to say, but adding our third child was the most peaceful, wonderful experience. I got to experience and enjoy his babyhood in a way I never could with my twins — their first year I was so exhausted and overwhelmed “peaceful” would have been the last word I would have ever used to describe our family unit. But two to three? No problem :) You’re already used to chaos by then…

  47. The most traumatic thing for me about going from one to two kids were the initial few weeks after my c-section. (http://www.bitesforfoodies.com/blog/my-c-section-story/)
    I had my first naturally and it was a breeze, in terms of getting right back to ‘normal’ activity only 2 days later. With my second, I couldn’t mentally cope with not being to do anything, let alone take care of two kids!

  48. We are six months in with two kids. I agree that the transition from zero to one was more challenging. Now I am used to not sleeping through the night. I still miss my days before kids at times and now that I have a second baby I miss those days when I had one baby and not a baby and a three year old. But I love them both so much. I’m sure it will be another big adjustment once the baby is more mobile, but kids just keep changing and there are always new stages for everyone to adjust to.

  49. sev2108 says...

    OMG. This is so timely. I’m due with #2 in a week and so worried about how it will affect #1, who just turned 3. Three-year-olds are so verbal and understand so much – I’m petrified of losing our special bond during those newborn weeks. (BUT – I can’ t wait to not be pregnant anymore so I can read to her in her bed, run with her on the playground, and give her baths again)

  50. Kristen says...

    I love and have always loved reading your Mama posts. My husband and I are in the very beginning stages of IVF now, and hope to be parents early in the new year. I’d love to see more content on fertility treatments and such! xo

    • Cait says...

      Completely agree. I would love to read more posts about infertility/fertility treatments. My husband and I are about 6 months into trying for our first and it has been disorienting. We’re both 30, have been together since we were 17 and married for a year and a half. We waited a long time to get to this point – first focusing on school, then launching our careers, travelling and moving to a new city. We naively thought that once the timing was right we would just try and voila – BABY. Sadly that has not been the case. He keeps re-assuring me that 6 months is not a long time to try and that it WILL happen, but with each passing month I crumble a little bit more. Just for my own piece of mind I made us our first fertility appointment next month in hopes that we’ll get to cancel it. Getting to read more about other women and couples who have gone through similar journeys would be comforting.

      Thank you Joanna and Team for creating such a nurturing environment for women to discuss such topics.

  51. Laurel says...

    Going from 1 to 2 was easier than I thought it would be but still chock full of challenges. There were things that made it easier for us, mostly related to sleep patterns and our working lives. I was lucky that I didn’t have to work around the time our second was born and my husband was in grad school. He was busy but home much more than he would’ve been with a full time job.

    Our sons are on the same nap/sleep schedule and I HIGHLY recommend that if you can pull it off. Whoever is home with them during the day actually gets a break!

    The sweetest thing is seeing them form their own relationship. They are nearly 4 and 1 and share a room. They have these little “conversations” before bed each night, making each other laugh and being silly until the baby falls asleep. I listen in on the monitor and it’s a totally genuine bond they’ve made that’s just them. It’s more than I dared to hope for.

    I found that just like becoming a parent with our first baby, going from one to two was nowhere near what I thought/expected/worried it would be like. It can be difficult at times of course, and is so lovely and joyful in a way that I didn’t anticipate. Like everything in life, you just adapt and weather the hardships. I always remind myself: babies be babies, right?

  52. Katy says...

    I have two boys ages 3 and 6 and am due in March with our third, a girl. Going from 0-1 was harder for me than going from 1-2 but I’m finding that moving from 2-3 brings it’s own set of different challenges. Cons – I’m 41 now and this pregnancy has been much more grueling than with my first at 34. And while my younger son is thrilled to be a big brother himself, my older son is feeling nervous about all the impending changes and is not happy about the new baby. This breaks my heart a little bit, although I know it’s certainly natural. And it also makes me recognize that alone time with each child will be more important than ever…although more difficult to come by, which scares me. But there are pros – seeing the wonderful relationship my two boys share and knowing there will be another sibling to love them and be loved by them makes my heart feel like it’s going to explode. And the anticipation of adding another amazing person to our family who will be part of all of our adventures, jokes and favorite things makes me so excited to meet her and welcome her to our crazy life. Another pro? I’m much, much more laid back this time around. I’m too busy (and tired!) to fret about the small stuff!

  53. Roxanne says...

    Thank you so much for this! My husband and I are in talks about whether to have a second child, and I keep thinking that the transition from one to two has to be easier than none to one. At least we kind of know what to expect? I think we’re both just worried about it being totally overwhelming, but I really think my little guy would do great with a sibling.

  54. Alex says...

    I am currently expecting my first, and my husband and I always said 3 was our number. (We both come from families of 4 and are very close with our siblings.) But this first trimester has me back-peddling on that promise of 3! I know that every pregnancy is different but I can feel all my tears building for the day I have two babies and another on the way. Two for now :)

    I love hearing about these transitions. All of these comments are so insightful, kind and helpful for new mamas. Thank you for curating and fostering this beautiful community, Joanna!

  55. Jessica says...

    We’ve been trying for our first baby for almost 4 years now and it feel really hard sometimes. On the weakest times I wonder what life would be just the two of us. But then we keep the road, and I came here often to find some of the great post about motherhood that help me throught the journey. xoxo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      jessica, i’m thinking of you! i imagine it must feel so heartbreaking and consuming sometimes. sending a big hug your way and so much love.

    • Nykayla says...

      Hang in there Jessica. We were 4 years trying with our first too. Keep hope xxx

  56. Laura C. says...

    I had the same experience Joanna, two girls in 2.5 years. The first year with the two was, some days, a nightmare. I would spend the whole day with them and sometimes I felt like a mess.
    Now they are 5.5 and 3 and they act like Toby and Anton.
    Go on, moms! If I was able to handle it, you can do it too!
    Xoxo

  57. Our son is nearly 3, and our daughter is about 4 months old. It’s interesting, when June was born, I had the opposite reaction. It was like I had this intense, physical, hormonal connection with her (she breastfed, my son did not), and my toddler was this loud child who came by my bedside every morning to say “bye mommy!” before my Dad took him to daycare. It was incredibly overwhelming and I basically didn’t parent my son for a couple months, period. Now we’re little bit beyond that. My son wants Mommy to read or do bathtime again, and I actually have some ability to do that. He adores his baby sister and I’m sure it’ll be even better when she’s not quite so tiny. But yes, I totally agree with the “what did we do??” reaction.

  58. heather says...

    There’s a Scandinavian expression with regard to the number of children you have that goes something like: “One is one and two is ten.” We actually went from 1 to 3 (surprise!), so I don’t even know what that is… a million? I definitely found 0-1 to be extremely difficult, but 1 to 3 was other-worldly for us. The twins are 15 months now and it is undoubtedly MUCH easier than it was last year at this time, but it’s still often more challenging that enjoyable just in that we’re always so busy just trying to meet everyone’s needs and keeping anyone from death or serious bodily injury (including stepping on that stabby plastic thing that is the Lego). I am really looking forward to getting to a point where we can all just play together and enjoy each other. I know it will come.

    I’ll also note with regard to fearing losing your relationship with your older child, or having a harder time bonding with the younger one (or ones, in my case)… that’s all real, and all entirely surmountable. My twins were about 8 months old before I could start spending meaningful time with my son again, but we did, and I’d say our relationship is better than ever. I still don’t feel the intense bond with my daughters as I do with my son, but I have every confidence it will come.

    • heather says...

      I also want to share one of my all-time favorite blog posts about the impact of having kids. The blog post is purportedly about whether you can homestead with a baby, but I think it applies to all parents. The comments are so good, too.

      http://www.nwedible.com/homestead-with-kids/

      I especially love this part:
      “Your life will change with kids. Dramatically, wonderfully, frustratingly, heart-breakingly, soul-touchingly, it will. You really have no idea how profound a change, but no one does until it happens, so don’t worry about that. But change doesn’t mean “come to an end.”

      Does an apple tree’s life end when its leaves drift to the ground in fall? Of course not. You are a perennial. There are seasons in your life where what you do is showy and productive and everyone can see it. And there are seasons in your life where you will fall back and grow very quiet and hide underground. During this time, you are not dead and you are not even really resting. You are growing your root system, wider and deeper, and finding better, stronger anchorage in your own life.

      All seasons are important.”

  59. Anitra Sweet says...

    I went from one to three when my daughter was 10.5 months old. All I can say is you are stronger and more capable than you think!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, anitra, you are my all-time hero.

  60. Abbey says...

    I have three boys, ages 6 1/2, 3 1/2, and 7 weeks. Placenta encapsulation was a postpartum game-changer for me (which I did after my second and third pregnancies). It gave me so much more mental clarity, emotional stability, and energy during postpartum recovery with baby #2 and baby #3 – at a time when I needed it most. I felt I was able to be more present with my older kids during those first weeks with a new baby and more quickly returned to my regular sense of self. There may well have been other factors that influenced my recovery after each successive baby, but I credit much to encapsulation.

  61. I agree with Joanna in that the transition from ‘none to one’ was harder than ‘one to two.’ Our first baby was a surprise, we weren’t living together or even telling family we were dating! Going from living the single life to full-on living with each other, having a baby and settling into a routine was challenging in so many ways.

    We decided early on that we would make the best of hand we were dealt and were committed to making it work, which it what got us through the initial stages of new parenthood. Still when I found out I was pregnant only a year after having my first I was so nervous about what was to come! By the time our second child was born, so many of the kinks were worked out, and it was much more easy going. She seemed to make our family complete, and it is so so wonderful to watch our children grow.

  62. the transition from zero to one was one of the most difficult things that happened in my life LOL it was so hard! I thought that after I’ve learned and managed to have a life and a child that nothing like that could happen to me again but I was so wrong! The second baby was a brand new thing, a new start. When baby nr 3 arrived, 3 years and 4 days after her sister and 18 months after her brother I just put the survival mode on and went ahead. Sometimes it is just like that, close your eyes and go. I love to be a mom and would not change a thing but it is the most exausting job in the world. But also the most rewarding.

  63. Tina says...

    Ha! I went from one child to three, twins born just days after my oldest turned 3. Now that’s batshit crazy!! 8 months later we are finally getting our sea legs under us. You are right about the guilt, takes a while to feel the equal amount of love for all 3 and losing that time with your first born but it’s just a season and will be well worth it in a few years!

  64. Liz says...

    I have a four-month-old boy and a three-year-old girl. The transition to two children was a lot easier than I expected, but I wish I could clone myself sometimes.

    Recently, my daughter wanted all my attention, but I had to tend to my baby boy. I said, “Oh, Grace, but what about Joseph? I need to help him.” Her response was, “But Mommy, what about me?”

  65. Sarah Z says...

    I just found out that I am 5 weeks pregnant with my second child! I have a son who will be 2 years old in January. There is already so much relief around the planning: I already read all the books, I already have most of the gear (or know what to buy vs. what is just a gimmick), and, oh, I already have experience with a newborn. My first newborn experience was so, so hard though. I had postpartum depression for the first four months or so and I am so scared that my older son will see Mommy crying all day like I did when he was born. And I fought so hard through breastfeeding – 6 cases of mastitis and 1 abyss that I needed to have surgically drained. I’m going to take steps to address it this time though. Maybe Zoloft started around week 38, insisting my husband takes 3 weeks of paternity leave (at least!), calling in our own parent early on for support. I am so happy to be due early July instead of in January during the worst winter in Boston history. I think sunny walks will help us all so much! I might even try placenta encapsulation – it sounds wild to me but, hey, if it helps! I’m so excited for my son to have a sibling though. I can’t wait for them to be friends : ) xx

    • Your timing is exactly a year behind ours- January/July birthdays, 2.5 years apart. Blessings to you!

    • Oneida says...

      I had terrible PPD with my first as well! Placenta encapsulation seemed crazy but after going through the terror of the first post partum (I had a lot of hormone-induced violent thoughts and dreams and was terrified of being left alone with my daughter), I was willing to try anything. I don’t know if it was the placenta pills or the fact that we actually had a settled home and life by that point, as well as knowledge of what might happen, but the second time around the worst I experienced were some baby blues and some anxiety. It sounds like you have a great plan, best of luck!!!

  66. Megan says...

    Going from 1 to 2 kicked our butts. They are 19 months apart and it was rough. I was also diagnosed with celiac disease 4 months after our youngest was born so I wasn’t feeling great those first few months of his life. It was such a roller coaster ride, but now they are 6 and 8, and it’s great. Wouldn’t change a thing.

  67. SP says...

    We have just started the process for our second international adoption. We have a 3 1/2 year-old boy, who have been with us since the age of 2, and we are preparing to welcoming another 2ish y-o kid. So, for us, going from 1 to 2 will mean having to deal with two toddlers – or a toddler and a 4-5 year-old – from one day to the next! Not a piece of cake, but we will probably have much more than 9 months to get ready ;)

  68. Jean says...

    I’m in the camp of transition from 1-2 was much easier than 0-1. Maybe because my first was sooo much harder and different than my expectations that I was somewhat more mentally prepared for the second, who closely mirrored what my first was like. My boys are 2 yrs, 3 days apart, and my difficulties with two mostly came with managing the toddler and the tantrums and changes going on in his world. But now they are 3.5 and 18 months and relish that we are past the baby stage and am enjoying it and smile watching them grow together everyday.

  69. Kate says...

    I love this post. I have two kids (a 3-year old daughter and a 1-year old son) and I definitely thought going from 1 to 2 was a million times harder than 0 to 1. The logistics of it all (feeding, nap times, bed times, cleaning up after two of them, leaving the house) seemed to be too much at times, but we are finally getting the hang of it (its easier now that they both eat the same foods and have about the same sleeping patterns). And, the first time you see your older one try to read a book to the baby when she doesn’t think you’re looking, or the absolute joy on the younger ones face the first time they share a bath makes it all so worth it. I’m actually already considering a third…

  70. Natalie S. says...

    I’m with you, Joanna! I thought the transition from no kids to one was so difficult, even more so than from one to two. However, I also think this has a lot to do with the spacing of kids. My boys are 3.5 years apart and it was such a lifesaver to have a relatively independent preschooler whom I could communicate with and explain things to. My friend has kids that are 18 months apart and it was really really hard for a much longer time because both were so dependent on her all of the time. I think I wouldn’t even consider having kids less than 3 years apart now just for my own mental sanity.

  71. The transition of another child is always HARD but so worth it! We have three children and because everyone told me it’s gets easier I expected the transition from two to three to seem old hat. But it didn’t! Adding another living being to the mix is always difficult and newborns are exhausting! But, you’re right, it’s a small stage and not long later you watch them all chase each other in circles around the house, and while you’re also yelling they don’t break anything – you wouldn’t have it any other way :)

  72. Amy says...

    Zero to one was definitely harder than one to two. As I type this, I’m snuggling my sleeping two month old while my two-and-a-half year old naps in the next room, and I feel so blessed. That said, navigating the transition with my toddler was tough, at times heartbreaking. Most people were sensitive to his needs and didn’t oooh and aaah over the baby TOO overtly, but it was still hard to see his little crestfallen face when something or someone reminded him he wasn’t the center of attention anymore. Things that helped with the transition to 2: 1) babywearing 2) talking through feelings with our toddler and being immensely patient with bad behavior 3) giving him lots of one-on-one time 4) singing, especially when everyone is crying! 5) reminding myself over and over again that it’s a short stage of life and to enjoy it while I can.

    The one thing I’d do differently looking back on these past couple months would be to carve out a bit more time for myself. Or at the very least, try harder to shower and talk to other adults. I have a friend who had a baby a month before me, and when I ran into her shopping for baby things a couple weeks postpartum, she had just finished getting a manicure (sans newborn) and was leaving the next day for a short trip to Vegas with her husband. At the time, I thought she was nuts, but now I realize she’s a genius.

  73. Lauren says...

    I had 3 under 3– at least for a couple weeks! My oldest and middle are 17 months apart, my middle and baby are 18 months apart. It is crazytown sometimes, but it is kind of working? I totally didn’t start that sentence as a question but it turned in to one as I reflected! Ha! My husband is also gone at least half of every week. It’s hard. But honestly, the thing that makes it the hardest is my own perfectionism and unrealistic expectations. The kids are great and we have so much fun together, though not without disruptions from the inevitable toddler insanity.

    I honestly don’t remember going from 1 to 2 being super challenging. 2 to 3 is hard (the baby is now 5 months), but I DEFINITELY found 0 to 1 to be the hardest. No question. As to the 2-3 transition, I am seeing that one of the biggest challenges is having enough alone time with each child, so I am brainstorming how to deal with that one.

    I think there are 3 reasons I have not yet been sent to the loony bin:
    1. SLEEP TRAINING. Tonight my 5 month old went to bed at 6:30, I had a long bedtime with the older two including lots of books, and they were in bed by 7:15. And here I am. With wine. Having the evening to myself or to share with my husband is everything.
    2. Discipline. Not having to repeat myself 5,000 times to get something done, knowing that they will come when I call them, and not having to argue about every single instruction, etc. really makes life easier. There are exceptions, of course, but it really flows pretty smoothly. I am so grateful to have good parenting mentors who model and encourage loving, firm, consistent discipline. We have a loving and mutually-respectful home and I am so thankful for that.
    3. Perhaps the biggest: I have a great support system with my parents and MIL. And we live in Germany (my husband is German, I’m American) so we have an awesome social support system as well, including amazing subsidized childcare– my older 2 are in the “kita” from 8:30 to 2:30. I am not sure how well I would manage everything if I didn’t have so much help from so many angles.
    Great post and so many good ideas and observations!

  74. Felicia says...

    My little lady just turned 8 months and she has a brother who is three. I really appreciate your honesty about the craziness, my husband and I were totally blown over when our daughter was born! Things are finally starting to settle down and the magic moments are more abundant; my daughter getting excited when we pick up her brother from school, their loving looks toward each other. Despite feeling overwhelmed lots of times, knowing these two have each other totally fills my heart.

  75. Anastasia says...

    This is such a helpful post, I am going to have our second babe in the spring and have been concerned going from one to two will be rough. I do so look forward to them both being buddies though!

  76. Martha says...

    Just had my second girl three weeks ago. Everything here hits close to home. Every. Thing.

  77. Justine says...

    We were definitely more ‘chill’ with the second child; but unfortunately that was due to some health issues with our first when she was born. Healthy as can be now! Also, our second baby (she’s now 13 months) is SO EASY! Slept through the night at seven or eight weeks, laughs all the time. Our girls are about three years apart (a little under). The only struggle is that their needs are so different from each other at their respective ages. Nearly four years old and one year old. That is the trickiest part I’ve encountered thus far!

  78. Julie says...

    We have a 3 year old son and a 2-month-old babygirl. During my pregnancy I was really panicky at times, but I have to say the reality of having 2 is better then what I expected it to be. Going from zero to 1 was a lot harder since I was freaking out about every little thing. I feel a lot more confident this time around. Of course we have those moments where we feel like we live in a madhouse, but I now I know that those moments pass and it will only get easier.

  79. Rebecca says...

    Waiting for my second to arrive any day now (due on Friday) and I’m SO nervous! My first little one is 2 and 5 months and the love of my life. I know it’s going to be such a huge adjustment for him and I’m so scared/sad about how our relationship is going to change. But I always knew I wanted more than one child and I can’t wait to see the bond that develops between the two of them. Thank-you for this timely post! I’m really looking forward to the 8 month mark where things start to feel more manageable!

  80. LB says...

    This is such a timely post for me. I’m pregnant with our 3rd, there’ll be a 7 year gap between our youngest two. We realized as our youngest turned 6 that the crazy stages of baby sleep schedules, toddler tantrums & finding quality daycare are all relatively brief in the grand scheme of things. We sat down and really considered if we would one day regret not having a 3rd & decided to go for it.

    All that said I feel like we’re crazy! My oldest two are so close and at such a amazing ages where everything is possible. 98% of the time parenting doesn’t feel like work all of the sudden. Now it’s like we’re completely starting over but reading through this reminds me that we’ve been there before and we can do it again. This baby too will fit into our family. I sure hope anyway!

    • Rachael says...

      We have 3 and our youngest is 5 years younger than her older brother. It was tough to have 3 and to have a baby again! I had moments of sheer panic when I thought ‘what have I done to my (older) children?’, but now Ruby is 2.5 and I am so happy I get to do the toddler stage again. I feel like I am a better parent because I know how lovely and how fleeting all the stages are, and that we are blessed to get to go through them with this really silly/energetic/opinionated child.
      You will love it!

  81. My brain will go through fairly intense phases of “what if we had a second?” but always ends with me concluding, once again, that I’m happy with one. My husband is too. I think if either of us really really wanted a second, the other would agree to it. It helps that our daughter doesn’t want a sibling. If she was one of those kids begging for a brother or sister, it would be hard to ignore!

  82. Kate J. says...

    Perfect timing for this post! I am going from one to two in about 6 weeks. I am scared and excited and scared again. I keep trying to remind myself that the newborn phase is just but a short period of time in both my life and her life. Oh… and that babies be babies. :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Babies be babies. :) :) :)

  83. Rachel S. says...

    I just had my second boy 4 months ago, he is 19 months younger than my oldest! I felt the same way…one to two seemed less disruptive than zero to one. As you said, your life already changed the first time around and now the 2nd one has to fit in to the schedule and flow already. I’m happy you said it took you a while to bond with your second. I felt guilty much of my maternity leave for that reason and still do a little bit. But each week I fall for him a little bit more and so happy to have him as my little man.

    I’m looking forward to when they’re old enough to play together. Already it’s so sweet when my oldest even acknowledges his brother. :)

    I will say with two though…when it’s crazy, it’s REALLY CRAZY. But maybe that’s part of the phase we’re in too.

  84. Cait says...

    I would love to see some posts on Cup of Jo about being a step parent (please!)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great idea, thank you!!

    • Andi says...

      ditto that!

    • Laura says...

      Second this! It’s so tough and there are not a lot of resources/communities I’m finding…

    • carrie says...

      Yes, came here to request the same thing! Being a stepmom is TOUGH and has completely taken away my desire to have children of my own. Still might try for it eventually, but definitely not hoping for 5 or 6 kids like before!

  85. Dawn says...

    My two were Irish twins (19 months apart) when we had our second born. Potty training one while breast feeding the other was especially challenging. Also, bundling two kids for a solo parenting shopping mission in the snowy winter season was always interesting, but you learn and survive (and usually have a few funny stories to recount). I won’t mention the toddler years! Haha. But now my two are 15 and 16, and the way they console, confide and stick up for each still warms my heart…Despite those days when it felt like a circus on top of not knowing what the heck to do a lot of times, somehow it all works out!

  86. Rebecca says...

    I had my second (a boy) 5 months ago, but I don’t think I’m quite over the shock of it yet! Our first (a daughter) was one of those unicorn babies who hardly ever cried and was just a docile little angel baby. She really fooled us into thinking that having kids was easier than we’d thought! Our son has been entirely more demanding, hungry, loud, and fussy. Nursing him has been 100x more challenging. The hard part, for us, about adding a second child has been the extreme exhaustion… some nights, neither kid sleeps well, and my husband and I wake up feeling like they’re BOTH against us! I work full time, but thankfully can work from home… still, I can’t seem to get my act together to get both kids fed, clothed, and ready in the morning by a certain hour if I also want to be fed, clothed, and ready (guess who ends up being the one not doing these things)?
    Still, we love him! He’s part of our family, and I know he’ll be out of this infant stage before the blink of an eye. And the one thing everyone DID tell us? That my daughter would be jealous and act out and throw a fit… and you know what? She never did. She just adored her brother from the moment she laid eyes on him, and I cry every time I see her interact with him. She’s now taken to going into his room (when he should be napping, but is fussing instead), and holding his hand, singing “You are my sunshine” in her sweet toddler voice. He quiets down every time, as his love for his big sister is just as big as hers is for him! These are some tough years, but also so very worth it.

    • Monica says...

      I think I will be in your shoes next month when I’m due with my second. My first, a boy, has been the EASIEST ever and I know there is no way this baby girl will be the same. Like you I also work from home but just part-time and am wondering how that transition is going to happen!

  87. Molly Smith says...

    Hi! Great post! I have a 5 year old, 3 year old and a 1 year old. I agree, 0-1 was much harder than 1-2. But 2-3 was INSANE. It is so incredible hard and straining, I’m not sure I have my shit together yet, and the baby is 15 months.

    My MIL always said once you have 3 you might as well have 5, which I totally understand now. Three is the tipping point and once you’re over that edge, more kids isn’t going to matter, ha! Three pushes you over a cliff, everything is more complicated, every night I have 3 human beings to worry about during the night, 3 kids at a restaurant, 3 to coordinate through the day, 3 to get sick (!!!) It’s just such a taxing combination. Plus we’ve been in the baby phase for what feels like FOREVER. I know I will be glad they are close in age when they are older but WHOA, this is crazy town right now.

  88. Rachelle says...

    We have 4 children! They are nearly all adults now (22,19,17 & 15).
    The biggest transition for me was always the new personality! Sometimes challenging but most often a joy. I found that parenting 4 was as doable for me as parenting 2, then surprise #3! They were just added to what we were already doing.
    If I had a parenting regret it would be that we chose to end childbearing while we had a newborn. For me that wasn’t a good time to make a difficult to reverse decision.
    I can say that during the years of little ones it feels crazy and impossible sometimes and like the cycle will never end!! But it does and when done with meaning and care you suddenly realize you have given to the world some pretty incredible people.

  89. My children are exactly two years apart and the transition from 1-2 was so hard for me. I couldn’t believe how much harder two kids were, but my first was really still a baby. She needed a lot from me, and I felt so torn between the two of them. I actually felt like I was cheating on my daughter with my son! It ended up taking me a bit longer to bond with my second baby, but once I did, I fell hard! Those were some really trying days, but now they are two and four and they are the best friends in the whole world. There are obviously still plenty of frustrating days (Why do they always need a snack? Why do they always want the toy the other one is playing with?), but they are so sweet it almost hurts to look at them. Now I’m so excited to add a third baby to our family. Most people tell me going from 2-3 is easier than 1-2 and I REALLY hope that’s true!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for your note, melanie. it sounds really hard to have a second child when the first is really young. your family sounds so, so sweet. i’ve heard from so many people that the transition to 2-3 is the easiest.

  90. Linn says...

    Thanks for this! My second baby is almost 5 weeks old (oldest is 2.5), and I’ve definitely had some “but do I love her enough?” thoughts. I’m not fretting too much; I assume the love will grow, but it’s nice to read that you felt similarly. I’ve been afraid to ask my mom friends if it’s a normal feeling, just in case they look at me like I’m crazy!

  91. We’ve been struggling with infertility for so long that I kind of can’t think about how hard the transition will be from either zero to one or one to two. Like, I KNOW it’ll be hard, and I know it’ll be that much harder on my older body than it would have been if we’d been able to get pregnant when we first started trying. Does that make me want it less? No. Does it make me panicky and terrified to think about, knowing that I’m marching into this that much more tired and exhausted with less spring in my step? Yes. Absolutely. But I know it’ll just fit in when things finally come together, whether via this IVF cycle or adoption. We’ll just make it work, and it’ll be hard and scary, but I have to trust that we’ll find a rhythm (and somehow have the energy to do it all over again on purpose since we’ll 100% have to use very deliberate methods like IVF or adoption for baby number two–there’s no pulling the goalie and seeing what happens when you have no Fallopian tubes.) So my biggest anxiety is, like, will I feel capable of pulling the trigger the second time around, when we know we want two kids ideally close in age, and we have the technology to make that happen, but we’re utterly exhausted by the first one? Yikes!

    • Jean says...

      My babies came when was 38 and 40. Maybe it was harder on my body, but some of the stuff I attribute to growing a baby and others to age related changes, just all at the same time! And you’ll find the energy and laugh about the lack of it often enough and think how old am I going to be when the kids graduate?? However a child comes into your life, you’ll find a way to manage it all, it just seems to happen that way.

    • stacy says...

      I have seen both sides. Our 2 year old is a product of years of struggle, loss, grief, and finally IVF. I can tell you I was totally unprepared. No matter how much I read, and how often people told me how hard it is.. somehow I thought… “it can’t be harder than infertility” . For me, yes, motherhood has been much much more difficult. The emotional weight of having and caring for a child is like no other anxiety in the world. I was totally ill-prepared for this feeling. I always wanted two children. Like you, I cannot leave it up to chance.. it is a more deliberate decision. I find myself struggling with the decision now. It used to be a matter of when to pull the trigger, but now it’s a matter of “if”.

  92. Abbie says...

    Thank you for this post! We are expecting #2 next summer and things are starting to GET REAL. My husband and I tried to think about all the things that made the newborn stage so hard the first time around and change our behavior where we could–since we certainly can’t control the newborn’s. Luckily, this time around I’ll have a job with access to short term disability so I won’t have to go back to work 2 weeks after delivery (yep, that was a recipe for disaster.) This time I also decided to let myself supplement with formula earlier (if needed) without feeling horribly guilty. Six months of exclusively breastfeeding was worth it but a lot harder than I ever expected in so many ways. This time around we’re going to cut ourselves a little more slack.

  93. Jamie says...

    We have a 2 year old son, and I can’t imagine having another one. People keep asking us when are we having another one, but both my husband and I are TOTALLY happy with keeping it just a family of three. We just don’t have the emotional, financial (two kids in daycare, there goes $30K a year, yikes!), or physical (I’m in my upper 30’s) stability/energy to add a little one to the mix of chaos we already have! When I think about getting pregnant again, I feel a big pit in my stomach and sense of dread, so we know in our hearts, that our family is complete. :) Will I regret it in the future? Who knows, but it definitely feels right to us.

    • Lacey says...

      It’s always nice to know I am not the only one feeling this way about my potential choice to be “one and done” (see my comment). I’ve had well-meaning friends say “oh but you just make it work” when I bring up my many reasons for hesitation (aside from not having a compelling desire to add more to our family, like I felt when I was ready to have our first baby). For a while, I felt self-conscious about my position but I am able to own it more these days. It’s my decision to make, just like it is another mother’s decision to have 2, 3, 4 or however many children she desires. :) Less mom guilt and more acceptance and support, right?

    • Jordana says...

      Same here!! We are in the vast minority and so when I see other folks in the same life stage/place as us it feels good so just wanted to share that there are more of us out there!!!

    • Jamie says...

      Yes, we are definitely in the minority, so thanks for commenting. I’m feeling better about our choice the older my son gets, but the “selfish” comments still sting, I gotta admit.

    • Orla says...

      We are in the same camp – one 2 year old and no plans to have another. I thought before we had kids that we would definitely have two but my husband now says that he only wants one and I am coming around to the idea. Like the other comments, I feel a need to justify it to everyone else even when not asked because one-child families are pretty rare. I’ve love to hear from more moms with one child to hear about the ups and downs as they get older. Possibly an idea for a blog post?!

    • I’m an only child and it’s so weird to me how much people worry about what my childhood was like! I had a great time and never wished for siblings because I had so many friends. I honestly never thought about it. Also I’m in SF and have encountered many other families which just one ( maybe it’s a city thing what with lack of space and money).
      I also wrote a post about it a few weeks ago on my blog:
      http://www.motherhoodofinvention.com/having-one-child/

  94. We have no kids yet and aren’t planning on it for a few more years. I read a lot of parenting/pregnancy stuff because I want to have an idea of what I’ll be in for. So much of parenting stuff on the ‘net is negative – you’ll never have sex or a life or fun ever again, and your hair will be encrusted with bodily fluids for years, and your body will go to crap…etc. Then you have the other side of my kids are the best thing to ever happen to me, I can’t imagine life without them, I only ever want to do things for them and no longer care about myself. There HAS to be a middle ground, right?!

    Hearing about your love for your boys (along with some of the honest struggles – “what have we done” LOL) is a much-needed perspective. Thank you for being an encouraging, balanced voice of reason in this crazy online world of parenting.

    • Sarah Z says...

      Just wanted to say – I don’t know if there is a middle ground (at least for me). It is both sides of the spectrum at the exact same time. It is the weirdest thing.

    • anon says...

      Totally agree with you, Shannon!!

  95. I have three kiddos, the transition from 2-3 was easy peasy, but the secret (if you have the luxury) is to space those babes far apart. My first two boys are three years apart. They are now in elementary school, they are best friends. But, it was tough when the second was born and I had a three year old who was sleeping through the night while the rest of us were not at all. I was so traumatized at that point, I had PPD when I had my first, and probably a milder case when I my second, that it took me over four years to decide I was ready to have a third. My third is nearly five years younger than my second and it is THE BEST. The older two entertain the little one, in a few years, my oldest can babysit the whole brood, and tiny toddler woes and tantrums seem like nothing compared to older kid problems. And, I have a very clear sense of how fast it really does go. Those old ladies who say that, they know their stuff. Childhood flies by, those endless newborn days are an instant long ago memory. By the third kid, I knew all of that and have cherished every day with all three kiddos since having the third.

    • Elizabeth says...

      I love this post as the concept of fleeting childhood really resonates. My third is 8 months old (others are almost 5 and 2.5) and I feel like every month is just a flip of the page. So fast. I try to remember that in “those” moments when all three are up when they should be sleeping, or “hangry” and yet not into eating, etc. etc. Boy do those old ladies ever know there stuff, is right!

  96. Lacey says...

    We have a 16 month old and almost all of my friends have more than one. One has felt like a game changer enough for me. I love her and can’t imagine life without her. Yet I am really unsure I can do the newborn phase again (we had terrible breastfeeding issues and I had some PPD). I also just don’t feel like anything is missing in our family. My husband is supportive of whatever I ultimately decide. Either way, we are in no hurry- very much enjoying the (moderate) freedom an only child allows us.

    • Jamie says...

      I feel like I wrote this, only we have a two year old son. Some family members say we are being selfish by not giving him a sibling, say what?? I had a bad labor/delivery, breastfeeding was a nightmare that didn’t end well (and then the guilt that happens when you feed your kid formula…my goodness, the horror haha), and I had pretty bad PPD for over a year. Now my kid is in the fun tantrum filled two’s, and I know I just can’t do it again. I’m NOT a baby/toddler person, and I’m ok with that…just wish some loud family members were too. :)

  97. We just had our third baby girl two weeks ago! Other two are 4 and 3 :)

    I agree with Jo! Going from 0 to 1 was definitely the hardest. I’m realizing now, too, that a lot depends on the baby. My 1st and 2nd were super hard newborns, but my third is a total angel!! She sleeps wonderfully and is just such an easy baby. I really didn’t know this was even possible, lol. So, for us, the transition from 2 to 3 was cake but it’s all because of our little angel :)

    -Sarah http://www.thefrugalmillionaireblog.com

  98. Kerri says...

    Our first will be three when our third one is born in the spring, so either it can’t be that bad or in their sleep-deprived state our brains forgot to file away the memories properly of what it was like with a toddler and a newborn. It can be tricky but also so incredibly rich.

  99. Toby and Anton are the sweetest. I love how different they are.

    We are still one and done, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the what if’s never go away no matter our decision. The thought still creeps in. Lately Luna has been hinting at a sister. I have no idea yet when we are going to tell her that our family of three is it. Ugh…

    xo Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      lendy, i like hearing that the “what ifs” never go away because i still have that lingering feeling that maybe another child would be great. but, in my heart of hearts, i think we are best as a family of four.

  100. KC says...

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m expecting baby boy #2 and constantly worried about what it will be like when we go from one to two. Your description of how your heart came to grow to love both boys really hit the spot. So many times I wonder, will it be possible to love the second as much as I already love my first? Hard to imagine, but I know it will happen. Thanks again!

  101. Madeleine says...

    My husband and I are thinking of having our first child next year but I am petrified of the chaos / stress that it will bring, more than anything else. That being said, the idea of a big family later on sounds like a lot of fun. Once, I asked my husband how many kids he’d want and he said 3 and I replied “but that’s a little gang! We’ll be outnumbered!” and he was like “exactly :) !”

  102. Charlotte says...

    Interesting question! Both my kids are about 3-6 months younger than yours. I think the most important thing that happened for me going from one to two was really completing my transition to my changed personal identity as a mother. I was going to say parent but I think that my husband’s experience is so different from mine it’s hard to equate them. Before we had our second I think I was always pushing against my new reality but that really eased once I had our second.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is SUCH an insightful point, charlotte. i totally agree, now that you put it into words.

    • Katalyn P. says...

      I so agree with this. After the first I think deep down I felt a little resentful of all the change that our child brought about and really struggled to figure out how I fit into the role of mother. With our second I think I was no longer frustrated by the challenges and just really figured out and was at peace with myself and my choices. I even had friends comment on how much more comfortable I seemed as a mother of two than a mother of one.

  103. Mollie says...

    We have one, a four-month-old. And I love her dearly. She’s really the best baby we could have asked for. I had always thought I’d want two kids, but as of now we’re so content with one. I know this may change, (we’re still getting our sea legs!) but I thought I’d be of the camp “all the babies!” after she was born. But I’m not. And it’s interesting to start to contemplate being ok with one.

  104. Johanna says...

    Oh Joanna, this is so timely for me. I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes (postpartum hormones but also… It’s hard!) after reading what you said about the guilt of not bonding with your second as quickly- and your explanation, it is EXACTLY what I’m feeling with my 20 month old and 3 week old. I miss my toddler so much and feel like barely know this new little creature that- ok I am starting to feel a bond with her, but I have dedicated myself so entirely to my toddler until now, and I really miss him! And it doesn’t help and he’s acting out a bit, showing he misses me too. It’s such a reassuring relief to read your words- it will change, the bond will grow, and there will be special time with my older child as well. It really shocked me to feel this, as I always wanted three kids and my own siblings are so important to me. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts, I have been scared to admit what I’m feeling to anyone, and keeping it bottled up is the worst. Xo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, you will get there! these days are SO hard and everything feels permanent, but very soon everyone will settle in (including your sweet brave toddler) and you will have more love and joy in your heart than you ever knew possible. it will happen! sending a hug hug to you. just wish i could beam myself there with a mug of tea and a cookie and a reassurance that everything will get easier. xoxoxoxo

    • Courtney says...

      Hang in there Johanna. When I had my 2nd of two boys, I was beyond myself at what I considered the loss of my relationship with my toddler. I cried for three weeks straight, convinced that I had ruined my perfect, little, 3-person family. Finally my mother said something that really struck me, “Courtney, you’re in mourning, but he’s right here.” I slowly realized I hadn’t lost anything, but in fact gained another very special little someone. It doesn’t get better overnight, but little by little, one month at a time, you’ll start to feel your family form in the way it is supposed to. I promise, promise, promise, it gets better!

      Never be afraid to admit what you’re feeling. It is not bad or shameful, it is perfectly normal.

      I’ll leave you with some mantras that helped me get through those dark days: “this too shall pass” | “what is new will become normal” | “my toddler won’t remember any of this”

      xoxo

    • Becca says...

      I remember taking my 2.5 yr old to Starbucks as a mommy-daughter date when the baby was maybe 4 weeks old, and just staring at my toddler totally fried from exhaustion, not knowing what to say to her and not feeling any connection to her. And it felt awful. BUT the baby turned 1 last week and we’re all doing well as a family of four. It was no joke in the beginning, and I do think my relationship with the toddler has changed some, but such is life, and siblings, and parents, and family.

  105. Lauren says...

    I have a newborn (3 weeks today) so this post is great timing! I’ve been totally obsessed with her breathing! I called the doctor the other day and they said she is fine but I’m still over thinking everything!(why is she congested?! Why is she a loud breather? Does she have pneumonia? No probably not :) I can’t even imagine a second one but my husband and I plan on another. I’ll just need a few years.

  106. We are both on our second marriage and have brought children into it. We’d love one together (which would be #2 for me) but, sadly, I don’t think it’s in the cards as we’ve been trying unsuccessfully for about 1.5 years (and not getting any younger). Posts like these always sting but, I am also never unhappy for those who are lucky enough to be welcoming more children into the world!

  107. Whitney says...

    My second pregnancy was more challenging especially while caring for a 2 year old. When my daughter was born it felt like a breeze to care for two little ones compared to the nine months she was in my belly.

    We definitely want a third. Honestly, I would have 4 or 5 if my husband agreed to it. I love big ol’ families. Being a mom and a stay-at-home Mom at that is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. Honestly, isn’t anything worth doing something that challenges you?

  108. This makes me laugh a little bit…because we never experienced one child. My first pregnancy brought us a son AND a daughter, who are now 18 months old. Much of the first-time parent anxieties just never applied for us. We couldn’t really worry about germs or illnesses or injuries too much, because we just didn’t have the time. Also, for us, after having our kids spend time in the NICU, there just wasn’t much that worried us. We’re expecting our third child this spring, and while I’m a a little worried about some things (where will the kid sleep? for instance) and about having 3 kids ages two and under, I also feel like having one newborn instead of two will be a breeze! (well, hopefully….) That said, we’re certainly sure THIS IS IT…NO MORE KIDS ;)

  109. Jess says...

    Thank you as always Joanna for the real lifey posts. When we had our second I just kept saying to people, “no one tells you! no one tells you how crazy it is!” I kept asking people when it get’s easier. And indeed it did get easier – and more special. Now that our second is just starting to walk it’s like we’re right back in it.

    oy these kids.

    anyone wanna share their transition from 2-3? I feel totally crazy to even have these thoughts/questions. What is wrong with me???

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “anyone wanna share their transition from 2-3? I feel totally crazy to even have these thoughts/questions. What is wrong with me???” = haha same!! i’d love to hear about the transition to three.

    • Katalyn P. says...

      Haha, my third is 8 months old now. My other two are 5 and 2. I think it was Jim Gaffigan that said some thing like, “Having a third baby is like you’re drowning…and then someone hands you a baby.” (Just looked it up and he’s actually talking about a fourth, but I felt like it applied).

      In all seriousness though, it is hard, and there is an adjustment period, but our third has brought such incredible joy to our family. He is so loved by his brothers and just fits so well in our family that I can’t imagine life without him. It’s hard, and beautiful, and eventually things will get a little easier (probably when I sleep through the night again).

    • Vicki says...

      In our experience, two to three was easy peasy! (And so was three to four!) #2 has always been accustomed to sharing his parents, and as a parent you’ve grown accustomed to attending to multiple children. You figure out how to bring everybody along — baby carriers and strollers and outings and stay-innings — whatever works for your family at the time. We’re expecting #5, and I’m not too worried because I know everybody’s happy at the park and the zoo, and not to go to the library right after story time because there will be too many cranky toddlers already without adding mine to the bunch, and to grocery shop with the old ladies in the quiet mid-morning hours. You know what works for you, and you are confident you can make it work.

    • Liz says...

      Haha! I have three: 5, 4, and just turned 1. I found that going from 2 to 3 wasn’t so crazy. What was harder for me was going from my youngest being 3 to having a newborn again. My first two were so close together that it didn’t feel like that much of a transition. I think it all depends on the family situation, more than the number of kids.

    • Beth says...

      I found the transition from 2 to 3 the easiest. I just became really, really chill. It’s not really possible to dwell on the details anymore. It helped that my third isn’t particularly difficult and just a total joy. I did and do feel sometimes sorry for my middle child as he does sometimes get lost in the mix between his loud, assertive older brother and his cute 2 year old younger brother. But he’s very special to me and in some ways the one I can relate to the most. They do have fun together and totally benefit from each other and from their non-neurotic, relaxed mom. :) It is also a huge joy to see my oldest son (7) interact with my youngest (2). He was never as sweet with the brother closest to him (4) and it’s so nice to see him acting mature and empathetic with a toddler. Larger familes are underrated, in my opinion!

  110. Mara says...

    I went from 0-2 (twin mom) and holy lord, never ever do I want to do that again! Took me 3.5 years to even consider a 3rd!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, mara, you are my HERO!

    • Mara, we have 18-month old twins and ARE expecting our third! ;)

  111. Thank you for sharing! We are trying for our first and practicing patience with some fertility struggles. I can hardly wait and I love reading about your experience and your sweet boys.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m rooting for you, colleen! sending lots of love your way.

  112. Cynthia says...

    My girls are adults and three years apart, and it really helped to get them both on a schedule so they both napped after lunch and I was able to rest as well. Basic infant care was easier the second time, because I knew about breastfeeding, how to give baths, and change diapers. It also helped that I didn’t have to work outside the home.

  113. Kali says...

    Sadly I thought the hardest part about adding a second child was being pregnant with an energetic toddler. It was a lot of me waddling around in the winter in MN, lugging a toddler in and out of the car and stores and daycare. When our second was born in the summer, my husband, who is a teacher, was home (as was the case with our first) to tag-team this new phase we entered. And, we sent our first to school for routine, normalcy and friends. So really, it wasn’t … terrible. Since though, that’s a whole other story. :)

  114. Liv says...

    We had two boys 17 months apart. I thought we were done but when my youngest was 3 we decided that we really wanted just one more. It took those three years to finally get our heads around the idea of another- boy or girl- we didn’t care. Now we have a 4 month-old boy added to the mix and I have to say- going from 1-2 was way harder than 2-3. Maybe cuz our first two were so close together and this time around- knowing it’s our last- gives me perspective. It really goes so fast. Just a season and then it’s over. Our new little guy is a dream too. Fat and happy and calm. I just adore all of my boys.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      congratulations on your sweet children!

      ps “fat and happy and calm” …. you’re giving me baby fever :)

  115. margie says...

    Personally, going from 1 kid to 2 kids for us was like going from 1 kid to 35 kids! It was like the balance of our house tipped to chaos with 1 more person, but we would not have it any other way. My kids are not what I would call “easy”, but I always remind myself that one day in the near future, I will look back on these insane times wistfully. My personal motto at this point in time is don’t stress, enjoy the mess.

  116. Colleen says...

    Lots of love. Lots of daycare. From the moment I got my first job at 22, I should’ve saved for a house and daycare.

  117. Laura says...

    This post was perfect timing… expecting our second in less than a month. And reality/panic is starting to set in. This calmed me down a bit – and made me tear up a little bit. The whole process feels a little bittersweet right now.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      congratulations, laura! sending you a hug through the internet xoxoxoxo

    • Amy says...

      Me too Laura. I’m due in March and just when I think I’m done freaking out, I’m ok…I freak out again.

  118. Kim says...

    Thanks so much for this post! I’m 6 months pregnant with my second child, and having one of those days where it is really overwhelming me! So thank you! The comments help just as much as the post.

  119. Vanessa says...

    My husband I had our first baby six weeks ago (sweet little Jack :)) and we are already talking about when it makes sense to try for a second. Our biggest struggle now, other than the daycare price tag, is sleep related. At risk of unleashing the fury of anti-bed-sharing moms everywhere, we found that all of us slept better (or slept, period) with him in our bed. Now, we’d like to transition him to his bassinet or his crib but we don’t know how to do it without traumatizing him. My husband keeps joking that he’ll still be in our bed at 18 at this rate (funny sort of but yikes– can you imagine?!)

    • Sarah says...

      Do what works and don’t stress about the “patterns your setting” BS. I resisted letting my son sleep with us for a year, and it was hell. We all slept better when I accepted the inevitable. And he transitioned well into his own bed when he was a little older.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Vanessa, if it’s helpful, my friend leigh wrote about co-sleeping as a family, if you decide you want to keep your child in your bed: http://cupofjo.com/2013/05/motherhood-mondays-co-sleeping/

      obviously, different things work for different families, so whatever is best for you guys! xoxoxo

    • bisbee says...

      At 6 weeks, I doubt it would be traumatic…and you probably will still keep him close to your bed in your room. It’s not like you are banishing your infant to another floor in the house!

      Do what feels right…and with the latest information about this, I would be inclined to listen to the experts. I think safety trumps everything else, but that’s just my opinion.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i agree that at six weeks, children are so flexible and still learning so much. he will be a little hero if and when you decide to move him to a crib or bassinet. when my boys were learning to sleep, i would tell them, “you little hero, you are learning so much and doing an awesome job! i love you and am cheering for you!” that helped calm my nerves too :)

    • Vicki says...

      Hey, whatever gets everybody the most sleep :)

    • Mallory says...

      Agree with Vicki, do whatever gets everyone the most sleep! My first just stopped falling asleep with us in bed around 8 months and basically moved herself to the crib. My 4 month old is in bed with us now and these baby days are flying by too fast, I want to keep her in bed with us as long as I can!

  120. Sarah Spencer says...

    One of my favourite (cos it’s true) sayings comes from a friend of mine who advised: “Your first child changes your life, your second child ruins your life.” She was only partly joking…it feels huge when you have your first child but I think it takes your second to realise how relatively possible it was to still do lots of things – go out for dinner, get places by public transport, get the occasional lie-in, go grocery shopping, etc. but coordinating is much more difficult, and just takes a lot more time and energy with two. If you’re lucky (I was) your two will get on very well, and things will become much, much more manageable when the second one gets to the end of two and into three. Then they can start entertaining each other and can help out a bit. But I personally found it to be much more constraining going from one to two, than from none to one. Being honest, not negative! I love my two monsters to bits…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      years ago, i overheard a guy in a store telling his friend, “first child: game changer. second child: game over.” it made me laugh (laugh/cry?) when we were in the newborn stage with anton.

  121. Gillian says...

    I have 4 kids ranging from 9 years to 9 months. I felt that adding each subsequent child was easier than the last. I remember being 4 days post-partum after my second and trying to go for a walk as my then 3 year old screamed that his 4-day old sister should walk while he rode in the stroller he had had no interest in for months. There is more crying in our house now. If everyone is happy for the same 5 minutes it is truly a miracle.

    But there are so many lovely sibling relationships in our house now. I am always excited and surprised to see how they grow and change. They are all so different (families are great differentiators…) and they all bring something unique to our home. I have been really trying to focus on setting aside 1:1 time with each of them each week. They each blossom from the special attention. I truly cannot imagine our lives without each of these precious people.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “If everyone is happy for the same 5 minutes it is truly a miracle.” = haha love that. thanks for your honesty, gillian!

  122. Andrea says...

    We’re trying for our first! I was really hoping it would happen right away and am starting to get nervous even though it’s only been 2 months.

    What a big switch – for the past 10+ years I’ve been so nervous about GETTING pregnant (accidentally) and now I’m nervous about NOT GETTING pregnant!

    • Rachel says...

      We are in the same boat! It is amazing how quickly you go from “maybe we will start soon”, to trying, to googling IVF success rates. It has only been a couple months, haha. Good luck to you!

    • Linsey says...

      I am in the same boat. My husband and I are currently trying to conceive our first. I am on cycle #6 right now and will know in the next few days whether this was our month. We started trying in June and I really thought it would have happened by now. Trying to have a baby can be very frustrating.

    • Andrea says...

      good luck, ladies!

      Yes, Rachel, I think I’ve googled and ready about every possible fertility disorder!

  123. Amanda says...

    Our first son was the hardest baby ever. He never slept. He was a terrible nurser. He had food sensitivities to dairy, corn, and soy that passed through my milk (so I couldn’t even eat my feelings!). The list goes on. I wasn’t sure I even wanted a second. But, when I thought about the future, I very much saw myself with multiple kids at the dinner table, multiple kids visiting for the holidays, etc… It was enough to make me want to try for another. We just welcomed our second son a month ago, and they couldn’t be more different. Thank goodness! He’s not even an especially “easy” baby, but compared to our first, this newborn phase has been dreamy. It (almost) makes me want one more ;).

  124. We are a few months away from welcoming baby #2 and couldn’t be more nervous! With our first, it was truly “ignorance is bliss” until the arrival, which really threw us for a loop. I think the most difficult thing for us was the loss of friends that occurs when you transition from being non-parents to parents. We were the first of our close circle of friends to have a child and it was very isolating. Our friends still love us and we adore them, and we see each other once in a blue moon, but our lives are on such different paths it makes it really tough to connect, both literally and figuratively. Now that we are “in it” adding to our family seemed like the next best step:)! We are just skittish about the transition and how it will affect our family dynamic and, mostly, our sweet firstborn!

  125. I had baby #2 2 months ago… So we are in the throes of chaos. We’ve had to “divide and conquer”, with my husband in charge of our 3-year-old while I breastfeed our baby girl for hours while binge watching tv shows. Like you I worried about losing touch with my older child, and I am looking forward to mother/son dates. It kind of broke my heart that he wasn’t going to be my only child/baby anymore, but we are settling into the new 4-person family and it has been fun to go on family outings together.

  126. DM says...

    I agree with everything you’ve listed Joanna. But with two working parents with inflexible schedules, life with two feels infinitesimally more challenging. I’ve found this especially since my second started school as well- so many things to be present for (that don’t take into account working parents schedules)… it feels like someone is always sick or not having a demand met. I found two much harder than becoming a parent for the first time. I agree with you that the sibling bond is magical to witness and I love my two babies with all my heart, but most days it feels like we’re barely managing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i hear you, DM! schools don’t often seem to take into account working parents’ schedules, and it can be stressful and frustrating. thank you for your honesty. you sound like a wonderful mother. xoxoxoxo

  127. Have one toddler and thinking of baby 2. Our daughter (will be three in March) and has been demanding for a sibling.

    My sister just had her 2nd and she says its a lot of work – sleep deprivation and crazy schedule. I am not sure if I am ready for that yet . :(

  128. So so right about the bonding. With my second, I did not feel overwhelmed and it terrified me. For God’s sake speak out if you feel this way and don’t obsess about it. It takes time. I could not choose between mine now if you put a gun to my head.

  129. Loring Pfeiffer says...

    My tip for the transition to two: buy earplugs. I know that must sound terrible, but earplugs are seriously a lifesaver. When #1 has a case of The Whines and #2 is teething like there’s no tomorrow, pop in some earplugs to take the edge off the screaming and you’ll feel your sanity level rise instantly.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s such a great tip. wish i had done that!

  130. Lindsay Marie says...

    Going from 1-2 was a little easier than the transition from 0-1. I think how hard it is depends on how easy your 1st child is! I just had my 3rd baby and since my 2nd is quite demanding, active, loud, energetic etc, it has been quite hard. I am trying to enjoy the present since this is my last one but find myself just counting down the days until it gets easier! I think if you have family living nearby to help out, that also makes a huge difference. I agree, around 8 months is when it gets easier.

  131. MeaganS says...

    We have two boys 18 months apart (3 and 4.5). It’s still hard for us- but in a different way. They are buddies but that means they are CONSTANTLY fighting. It’s utterly exhausting.

  132. The 0 to 1 kid thing was really difficult; my first was a preemie and it was such a cluster all the way around. But going from 1 kid to 2 was subtly more difficult. Our boys are 7 years apart in age, so I figured it would be a piece of cake and in many ways it was a lot easier the second time around (less anxiety, more confidence in our abilities to keep the kid alive!). It was other things, like sleep training and my own exhaustion plus the needs of the older kid whose own life was still going on. School commitments, carpool, sports — there was no time to focus merely on the baby’s routine like we did with the first one.

    The baby will be 2 this winter and I’m only now feeling like I’ve settled comfortably into the routine of 2 kids. The baby factory is definitely closed! haha!

  133. A says...

    Really useful article and something that has been on my mind a lot. Nothing I have ever done has been harder than having one baby. Nothing. She cried for ten months. It took me more than a year to bond with her at all – and even now I sometimes look at parents with kids that sleep well and are calm-natured and easy-going and think, how did you luck out like this?? My kid freaks out at EVERYTHING. I can’t shower or cook or go the bathroom. She’s in the room with me when all this is happening, btw – she just wants to be held 24/7. I can’t sit down with her not in my arms. I can’t drive anywhere because she screams so hard in the car seat I almost crash every time. I just have to hope she’ll chill when she’s old enough to talk and understand stuff (she’s 14 months now) – but then, would I dare risk having another child as, er, spirited as her??? Not sure… I feel anxious even thinking about it. I guess I’ll never know unless I try. But I would need a 3-4 year gap between babies minimum!

    • Sarah says...

      My son was the same way, and language acquisition was totally the game changer for us. He can speak to us now, and make himself understood, and things are so much easier and more fun. Hang in there; you’re doing really great.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i agree. for us, when they started speaking, the skies opened up.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      and you sound like a really great mother, A. hang in there!!! it will get easier, i promise.

    • Amanda says...

      Yep. I was in the exact same boat. My first born was just like yours. (Side note- the book “Raising Your Spirited Child” is great if you haven’t read it yet!) He’s three now, and while he’s still not an “easy” kid, he is definitely much easier. The challenges are different but more manageable. We just welcomed a second son about a month ago and they are totally different babies! Every time I put our second down and he stays asleep I literally can’t believe it. There’s hope!

    • Summer says...

      My son sounds just like your daughter! He is now 4, but ohmygosh, it was hard when he was a baby. He is a little more relaxed now (and doesn’t scream in the car anymore). When he was born, I already had 2 year old daughter. If he was my first child, I would of had to space them out! Just wanted to comment and let you know you aren’t alone! :)

    • heather says...

      Our oldest son was the same way. It can be hard on the parents’ self-esteem. But I agree that once he started communicating with us everything changed, and we are so close now. That same sensitivity is probably why he has such interesting things to say about, for example, the leaves changing color. He has heightened awareness, and it was a struggle as a baby but now such a gift. While my friends were complaining about the toddler years, I LOVED them with my son. Our baby #3 is also really sensitive and needy, and it’s been good for us to remember that it evolves.

    • Tori says...

      Hello! Just wanted to give you a virtual high five and say I CAN RELATE. A little different as I felt intensely bonded to my girl from the get go but, as my husband says, she is “high maintenance”. Only in the past month can we do car rides without meltdowns (she’s almost 15 mo) and she mostly wants to be with me, round the clock. We co sleep and nurse a good deal but it’s definitely a “what came first, the chicken is the egg” situation. Have our habits caused any of her behavior or are they a necessary response? It’ll be interesting to see how things shift with future kids as that has been my biggest question. I do see how different families make it work for their own needs/habits–including the very different babies. It has and continues to ease up. Glad to hear others are in the same boat and looking forward to those verbal skills.

  134. Tammy says...

    We felt like it sucked for a long time. Not that we didn’t adore our second daughter, but we definitely wondered if we’d made a mistake. But once we built up our stamina of dealing with two small humans, things got easier.

    I agree that we’re more chill with our second child, but I also find I’m more impatient for the hard stages to pass with her. She’s 2.5 months away from turning 4 now and I CAN’T WAIT to be done with 3 year olds!! (Even though I know logically that things aren’t going to change overnight.) My older daughter is almost 6 and overall I find her more fun, more rational and easier to enjoy. Although I know I will mourn aspects of my littlest as she matures. But the pain of losing who they were is always tempered by the joy of watching who they are becoming.

  135. Cat says...

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! A second child is nearly always on my mind (How will my daughter adjust? Can I possibly love another child this much? Could I handle another round of sleep deprivation?), and it’s so helpful to hear such an honest assessment.

  136. Katie Peshek says...

    We have a 4 year old and an almost 1 year old (birthday next week!) The toughest part of going from 1 to 2 kids is always being on call, all those little pockets of free time you used to get when the kid napped or played are now gone as you take care of the baby. And then when you only have one child with you, it feels like a vacation! The best part is watching them interact and become friends. I think about how the boys are just starting to create memories that will be the foundation of a lifelong relationship – it makes me teary.

  137. Carlie says...

    We have no babies yet, but our dog has been our baby and we just adopted a second puppy last week and I have been feeling all of these things! Thanks for some much needed reassurance on an already anxious Monday :)

    • stacy says...

      this made me lol! We have a 2 year old human baby and a 4 year old dog. Over the summer we thought we could handle another dog so we decided to foster a wild 7 month old puppy. It was an absolute disaster! I cried and cried for days because I just couldnt handle it. In the end I realized that it just wasnt the right time or the right dog, so we found an amazing family for her. But I swear, going from 1 dog to 2 had me almost in the throes of newborn depression!

  138. JL says...

    Our first is just about a year old and, whew, it took awhile for us to get back into the groove of “normal” life…and we’re still working on it at times. My husband is pretty much ready for the next one but I need more time. I like the idea of a larger age gap, like Toby and Anton. And deep down, I think I’m really scared to go through the newborn phase again. I struggled a bit with anxiety and baby blues, mostly due to sleep deprivation (my baby is not what you’d call a good sleeper!), and I can’t imagine doing that again so soon with an energetic almost-toddler running around. I know I’ll be ready in time, but not for now. You made it sound more doable than I anticipate though, so thank you for your insight!

    • JL says...

      Also- my husband told me yesterday that he can’t wait to have a second baby so he can tell our first that she’s his favorite, haha! Kidding, of course, but she has got him wrapped tightly around her sweet little finger!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha that is hilarious!

  139. P says...

    Expecting a baby for the first time and just found out it’s a boy! I’m excited, but secretly nervous since I know nothing about boys. I come from a family of all women, so I’ve been rereading your posts on having a boy. I’m looking forward to discovering what this mother-son relationship is all about…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      congratulations, paige! you’re going to love having a boy. they’re so adorable and funny and vulnerable and loving — i’m so excited for you :)

  140. Rachel says...

    We’re trying for our first baby right now (!!!) and I’m obsessed with all things baby. I’ve been a reader for years but now I’m experiencing the blog in a whole new way. Motherhood Mondays make me feel like I have a group of women with great experience & advice on-call 24/7. Thanks, JoAnna!

  141. Robyn C. says...

    Expecting baby number two any day now, this post eased my mind! Thanks Jo!!

  142. I have 4 step-children (all from my husband’s first marriage, he’s 20 years older than me), so I went from none to FOUR, haha. In the beginning, my husband’s best friend would always assure me, “You didn’t get the ‘Oh, here’s the routine with one… now there’s two… etc,’ so just do whatever you need to feel together.” And my husband had his routine down, so that helped, it was just finding where I fit in in the mix and how to make everyone lives’ easier. Basically, when we’re just down to one or two it feels like A BREEZE, but I almost don’t know what to do with myself when we don’t have any kids in the house for whatever reasons, lol.

  143. Rebecca says...

    I completely agree, going from 0-1 was the hardest. My 3rd baby is 10 days old today, and so far he’s just fitting into our lives. Newborns now seem like such a breeze to me! It’s the toddlers, with their rollercoaster emotions and impossible demands that are so challenging. Mine are 3 yrs, 1yr, and 10 days old.

    • DM says...

      I think this may depend on how easy of a newborn you have, and how challenging a toddler you have ;) I prefer the toddler phase any day.

  144. Suz says...

    I’m expecting my second. We found out a week ago so it’s still very new and doesn’t feel real, yet.

  145. Currently pregnant and going to be moving from one child to two, so this was so good to read and learn about your story. thanks for sharing

  146. Nykayla says...

    Thank you for this post!!! I have been reading back over your motherhood posts looking for references of going from one child to two. I intend to order “Siblings Without Rivalry” imminently.
    I was overwhelmed with out first baby, a little girl (Poppy). So much to learn! So much stuff to fit into our little apartment!! Leaving the house with just my wallet became a thing of the past… it was a massive adjustment lugging around a bag with diapers, wipes, a spare change of clothes. But we all adapted and hit our stride.
    We were thrilled when we found out we were expecting babe no.2 – after a miscarriage, it was a breath of fresh air. I felt like, “I’ve got this!” No probs. The kiddos will be 2.5 years apart.
    At our 20 week sonogram we found out it’s a boy! GASP. I don’t know what to do with boys!!! Suddenly, I’m nervous.
    I’m most worried about my Poppy. How will she adapt? I’m expecting some regression with sleep and potty training maybe? But I’ve heard horror stories of temper tantrums… which she’s never really done.
    I guess we will all survive, and when we rouse from the newborn fog I think it will all be worth it. Thank you for sharing.
    I’m taking the babies one at a time. I think we’ll be two and done, but we’ll see how clucky we both are once we’ve got two little tots ripping around and we’re all confident and cocky and sleeping through the night again ….. thinking “we’ve totally got this, we can do another”…. pft hahahahaha!! xxx

  147. Lisa says...

    We just have the one child right now, but are kind of trying for number 2. I hope your comment about going from zero to one child is a bigger adjustment rings true for us too. After we had him, the health visitor said that having your first child is one of the biggest changes you can go through. It was like we threw a hand grenade into our life

  148. Lindsey says...

    We have a 5-month-old and custody of my 4-year-old niece. She came to live with us when she was 2, so while we already had the parental lifestyles, we had never gone through the baby stage, so everything there was very new (oh, breastfeeding!) It was such a strange paradox of emotions–we were totally adept at the whole “I’m in charge of a human” thing and yet experiencing so many brand-new things. We also moved when the baby was 3 weeks old. We are just now getting our sea legs under us!