I’m Terrified That I Won’t Be Able To Handle Two Kids

My second daughter is due to arrive any minute, and while most of what I’m feeling right now is sheer elation and anticipation of her birth, I have to admit I’m also kind of freaked. I was (somewhat) prepared for the fact that my entire life was going to change as I waited around for our first daughter to be born about two-and-a-half years ago, but this time things feel different. Scarier still, when I thought the opposite would be true.

Here’s the thing: when you have your first kid, you’re made almost hyper-aware of how stressful it’s going to be. You can’t walk into the supermarket pregnant without comments, and once a stranger has asked if it’s your first and you’ve said yes, the list begins: You’ll never sleep again! You’ll go days without showering! Say goodbye to your social life!  But honestly, I didn’t find new motherhood all that bad.


Sure, the first several weeks of breastfeeding were tough and before she was sleeping through the night, I was exhausted all the time. But I was a first-time mom and totally in love with my baby. All the negatives I’d been hearing had me so prepared that once she arrived I thought, “This really isn’t as bad as they all made it sound.”

But then it’s time for a second. And this time, things will be different. Sitting on the couch nursing a cluster-feeding newborn won’t mean Netflix binges and Pinterest marathons like it did the first time. Instead, I’ll also have to figure out a way to entertain a 2-year-old at the same time. And those sleepless nights? They won’t be met with late-morning slumber — the days of being able to sleep when my newborn does are a thing of the past.

In general, I’d say I’m a pretty decent mom. I listen, love, and work hard to keep our lives happy and safe. But I would be lying if I said there aren’t moments when I look at my 2-year-old and wonder how anyone trusted me with this task. She is a force to be reckoned with, that’s for sure. And I don’t always know how to handle the challenges as they arise. Suddenly, the thought of juggling a newborn on top of the notoriously “terrible” twos seems daunting.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my daughter more than anything, and I know there’s room in my heart for another. We planned and prayed for this baby just like we did our last, and I know that our family is (technically) ready for a second. We wouldn’t have started trying if we weren’t committed to having another baby.

And yet I look in the mirror at my 9-months-pregnant self and wonder sometimes, Am I ready? As a stay-at-home mom who works part-time, my plate is already so full. Add dance class, grocery runs, and precious little husband-and-wife time and you’ve got one pretty busy lady. A newborn? How the heck is she going to fit into this crazy day-to-day of ours, and how will I have enough energy to give to not only her but her deserving big sister, who still needs me so much?

I get that I am by no means the first woman to have a second child, and certainly I’m not the first who’s grappled with these same concerns. But when will I snap out of it, gain my confidence? Will it take meeting my little bundle in the hospital, for the love to overpower the fear? Or am I going to be sitting in a heap on our living room floor in tears this fall because I just can’t handle it all?

Maybe both.

What’s keeping me going for now is the knowledge that this isn’t my first time taking care of a newborn. Hopefully, I’ll be less obsessive over every little thing since I’ve done it before. And I’m counting on my 2-year-old who loves babies to fall for this one, too.

No matter what, though, baby #2 is coming. Very soon I’ll understand fully what it is to feel my heart — and my stress level — double in size. In the meantime, I’ll just be over here panicking like a first-timer… if not worse!

Photo: Getty