The Second Baby Surprise

Planned or not, parents know a lot more about what to expect when their second child is born.  After all, you did alright with the first one, right?  So you know you'll eventually sleep again, someday they'll stop crying and that either breast or bottle will nourish them.  You may not believe it, but you are capable of loving another being as much as you love your first - it's amazing.

What's not amazing are some of the surprises.  Everyone anticipates dealing with sibling rivalry but no one talks about the challenge of being a working (outside the home) mom who is suddenly on maternity leave.  

With my first child, I went to the "how to have a baby" class and met Dr. Jessica.  We spent my maternity leave together - walking our babies, going to Costco and Target to get supplies, working through crying and sleepless nights.  Then I returned to work and she spent a year home with her daughter.  We stayed good friends.  I set up an infrastructure to support our two career family - day care, 5 days a week.  She set up activities to build a network of moms and activities for her daughters - music class, Little Wonders.  We exchanged date nights on Thursday nights.

We had our second children at roughly the same time, an unplanned but welcome coincidence.  I was just as ready to hang out, go to Costco and Target together, but this time was different.  Jessica had a life.  She had activities for her daughter.  And we didn't need many supplies because we already had them.  We still talked a lot - but she couldn't rearrange her life because mine was on hiatus.  Nor should she.Family in Park

This happens to almost every working mom I know.  And our husbands should expect it - we're going to be stir crazy and starved for adult conversation.  And, we're very likely to resume working faster than we expected - because we need SOMETHING TO DO.  So, the second baby surprise is to have a plan, in advance, for how you will set up the infrastructure of your life if you decide to go back to work.  

When my second son was born, I was shocked at how lonely and bored I was.  Luckily, my boss and my company were very digital and I could work on my schedule to support the company's marketing needs - at my option.  Unfortunately, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 days before I gave birth - but my maternity leave gave me the flexibility to be available to her and her fiance for chemo-treatments and doctors appointments.  

If you work outside the home full time and you are having your second child, spend some time thinking about projects you can do, flexibly of course, after baby is born when you are home recovering and bonding.  Your first baby friends likely have a life and you'll have a lot of alone time.  

What surprised you about adapting to your second baby?  Or third if you had twins!