Dear Diary: How fear has played a role in my decision to get pregnant again

fear about having another child

I went through about a dozen titles for this post before settling on this one.

It’s clear that the underlying factor in my hesitation to have another child is fear. Fear of the tangible realities – pregnancy discomfort, exhaustion, newborn challenges, financial strain – but also, and maybe more so, fear of the unknown, fear of more change and uncertainty.

I have a two year old. It’s inevitable that I get asked “When are you going to have a second baby?!” – and I do, quite often. It’s not that I don’t WANT another child. I do! I know I will have one, it’s just a matter of when, and I need to get over my reasons for putting it off. Thanks for sitting in on this therapy session….

Let’s start with the tangibles, because although I realize now, after working on this post for quite some time, that these may play a lessor role in my apprehension, they’re still very much real.

Pregnancy lasts forever. FOREVER. At least for me it did. Friends told me it would go by quickly and it didn’t. Not even at the end. I was nauseas for more than half my pregnancy, I had horrible acid reflux from very beginning to end and I had severe middle back pain in my third trimester, where anything other than standing hurt. I had to take medication throughout, which was very upsetting to me. Although I was extremely grateful that the baby inside me was totally healthy, it was hard at times not to feel a little sorry for myself.

fear about having another child

Then there’s the delivery – which for me was the least traumatizing part of the whole process, but the part I had heard the most horror stories about! Don’t get me wrong – it was hard, it hurt, I cried…but on the scale of things, it went pretty well. I had a really good, relaxed outlook going into the whole experience – which is something I’m trying to do more of – and I think it helped me a lot. I was actually empowered by the birth process and I’m not too worried about it the 2nd time around.

But then there’s those first months (read about our struggles in detail here). Between the breastfeeding issues, the reflux, the lack of sleep, the fussiness, and the baby blues, it was rough. Life felt SO different. I was above and beyond obsessed with my child but my world all of a sudden shrunk to the size of my house. I couldn’t see beyond my bedroom or past the immediate moment. My focus had to be so tight that my life “pre-baby” life seemed so far away, so foreign.

newborn baby challenges

I wrote about the physical changes that took place the year after giving birth here. And while those physical changes were difficult, I think it’s the emotional changes that rattled me more. My first year of motherhood wasn’t ALL hard: around 4 months, my world started to open up again and by about 9 months, I was in the groove and Ellie was especially awesome.

I definitely enjoyed my second year of motherhood much more than my first. It could be because of all of the reasons I just mentioned – or because we were able to do so much more with a walking, talking, responsive, and brilliant child. Year two was awesome. The older Ellie gets, the more wonderful she becomes and the more I think, why change this? We love our time together as a family of three, life is good, do we really need to change it up again?

I see so many people around me (friends, acquaintances, people I follow on social media) popping out multiple babies as if its no big deal. I know better than to assume I have any clue about what goes into the decisions they make, but from the outside, it seems so easy for them. The fact that people are having kids so close in age nowadays makes me think they must not be scared like I am. I couldn’t even consider getting pregnant again until Ellie turned two. Personally, the decision to have another baby is a BIG deal to me.

It’s a big deal because I’m afraid. I’m afraid of it being the same as the last time around and I’m afraid of it being different. As hard as pregnancy and the newborn stage were with Ellie, at least I’ve done it. I haven’t been a Mommy to another kid – or two kids – and that uncertainty is what makes me uncomfortable. We’ve got life under control now, how will another child affect that?

I’m not crazy to think that life with two kids sounds scary, am I? How does life even work!? How do you ever get a moment to yourself, or with your husband? How do you divide your attention and make sure both children feel loved and attended to? How do you ever get out of the house, let alone go on a husband and wife vacation? And one of the most common questions of all – how do you love #2 as much as #1? I know its all doable, and my love for this child will surpass any challenge, but it’s a lot to commit to!

I have a tendency to over-think, over-worry, and to get ahead of myself. It’s something I’m working on.

I remember when I made the decision to try to get pregnant the first time around. I felt so brave. Not just for obvious reasons, but because I felt like it was one of the few decisions I have ever made to CONSCIOUSLY bring about a lot of change and uncertainty to my life. Life had been so good for so long and here I was deciding to mix it all up and see where it landed.

Something pretty obvious occurred to me while examining this fear issue. I realized that the best decisions I have ever made have been those with outcomes very unknown at the time of decision. For example, my summer abroad in a foreign speaking country at age 16, moving away to San Diego for college, starting to long-distance date my now-husband – and most of all, of course, deciding to have a baby.

Ellie is the most amazing little being in the world – she has changed me and my life, only for the better. As much as Chris and I feel sad when we think of it not just being the three of us anymore, I know that she will love having a sibling, and will be an incredible, nurturing and protective big sister. Another child will be a gift to her – just like he or she will be a gift to us. We just won’t totally know it until it happens ;). Gotta take that leap first!

newborn baby challenges

So basically now that I’m done with this post, I feel much more ready to try this baby-thing again. I don’t want fear to lead my decisions – or worse – keep me from making them. Ellie has taught me so much about letting go, and I’m sure that life-lesson will continue with another child.

XOXO

40 thoughts on “Dear Diary: How fear has played a role in my decision to get pregnant again

  1. We have a 15 month and I feel like I could have written this article. If we do have another I’d like to try soon before I get too far from the newborn stage and have the feeling of starting over as much. I treasure all of our cuddles and adventures though and am scared with a newborn they both won’t get the best of me but just the bird that are leftover. 🙁 🙁 🙁 I’m a twin and come from a big family so I can’t imagine him not being a brother but my husband is an only child and comes from a very small family.. we are so torn. I never thought I’d be one and done or that this decision would be so hard.😩

    1. It’s not an easy decision, even though I KNEW that I would always have more than one! For me, we didn’t even talk (or stress) about it until Ellie was 2. I wanted a solid foundation of time with just here before I went and got pregnant and sick again. Now Layla is already one and she definitely gets a lot of me. I have to find ways to have special time with Ellie, during her nap or on outings that are just the two of us (or even better, Daddy too). They dynamics are different for sure. Of course I can’t imagine life without two now, though I do remember how lovely it was with one. AM I helping at all? Probably not haha. I just know that it’s a hard one sometimes and don’t force it…and give yourself some more time!!

  2. Thank you for the honesty. Our daughter is 3 1/2 and I’m not sure I want a second. My husband would love it but I question my strength to “do it all” feeling overwhelmed some days as it is. I guess you just don’t know till you try it! Just a bit of a big one to go into blind!

    1. Thank you Kristen, that means so much!! I totally get where you’re at and having two definitely makes you surrender to NOT doing it all, which is something I struggle with but am working at getting better at! I now can’t imagine NOT having two and am so happy I do, but I do cherish my one-on-one time with my toddler too! XOOX

  3. I really enjoyed this read! Our son will be 4 1/2 this December and the idea of a second child has been a huge topic now. I personally am ready but my husband has all of the fears that you listed above. I particularly loved this read because I get it from another persons view on how he is feeling right now making it easier to relate! Thanks for the great read!

    1. Thank you Hanna! It’s not as easy as a decision as I imagined it would be. But now that I’m on the other side of it and my second is 4 months old, I KNOW we made the right decision in having another. Giving Ellie a sibling is already the best thing we could have ever done for her. And we still have alone time with her – I treasure it and get even more excited for it than before ;). Good luck and let me know how it goes!! XO

  4. My husband and I have been back and forth for months about having a second child. Our daughter will be 4 this fall. And we feel if we are going to have another, to start trying soon.
    We’ve always talked about having 2 kids and my daughter is asking for a sibling all the time. But I’m in the same boat- I love the life we have now with her. She’s so much fun! I also worry about will I love the second as much? I love our girl so much it’s impossible to think about another! But people tell you, you will. Thanks for this article and making me feel like I’m not alone!

    1. I was so there! It’s like the older your first gets the harder it is to “Start over” – especially when life is good as it is. I have to say that I’m really enjoying being a mom of two (haha, I’m only a month into the new gig). I’m tired, I have mom guilt, I have no time to myself and yet, somehow i’m still loving it. It’s like looking at my toddler, how awesome and BIG she is, makes me appreciate how short of a time they are babies…and I’m already starting to get glimpses into their future as siblings and that might be the most exciting part. Life is harder now and we can’t move as freely but I’m hoping that comes back again with time. And no more babies! haha. Keep in touch!

  5. Thank you so much for writing this! You took the words out of my brain! My son is two and we’ve been talking for a few months about it – even getting in much better shape for it. But still fear is there. It is of the unknown. My husband is so awesomely excited about another and patience with me and my fear is unreal, but I feel like if I don’t jump on and stop being afraid I’ll let him down and worse I feel like a terrible mother for not being 100% excited or sure. This right here has made me feel so much better. Thank you for telling me I’m not alone.

    1. You are SO not alone! I get it. The unknown is scary, especially when the “known” is just FINE! 🙂 Don’t ever think you’re a terrible mother for having normal fears and hesitations… you have them because you’re an amazing mother! So now that i’m on the other side of this, with a one month old second baby, I can say that I’m so glad we chose to have another after all. I mean I always knew we would, it was just a matter of pulling the trigger. I’m excited to focus on feeling complete as a family of four now. Keep me posted!

  6. I haven’t even had my first yet which is due in 2 weeks and I have read a few of your blogs and even though I know I’m not the only mum to be that feels all of this and is scared of the uncertainty and massive change that’s about to occur it’s so comforting and reassuring to read blogs like yours and to know that I am one of millions of mums who feel the exact same way and that I really do just need to let go and let life lead me instead of trying to control things. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and story !

    1. Congratulations on your almost-here baby!!! And thank you for reading my posts, it means the world to me to think that they might help someone feel like they’re not alone. I promise you are not! I am still (always) working on letting go and not trying to control and plan everything. I keep finding that it works out so much better the more I surrender. Keep me posted on baby!! XO

  7. I love this! I am kind in the same boat I had lots of struggles as a new mom and am thinking of when to have another and I am scared! Lol

    1. It’s a hard decision to make for some of us! When things with baby were hard or when life is just GOOD as it is, it’s hard to decide to change it up! I’m a day past my (second) due date so I’ll let you know how OK it is with two soon 😉 😉

  8. I teuly relate to your feelings. I read this around last fall and felt the exactly same way you did. I am crazy about my little toddler boy and fear the hanges that a 2nd child would bring. I recently found out I am pregnant and somehow I’m not at the point to be excited. I’m still in fear of all the changes to our family life. I have continued reading your blog and its definitely making me feel so much better! Thank you!!!

    1. Maggie, that is the best compliment you could give me, thank you! It’s such a crazy mix of emotions. We knew we wanted two kids but life with one was so good and our daughter was everything – and enough – to us! Even now, a week away from my due date, I am SO loving having one child, the ease of getting around and making plans and the fun stuff we get to do. But she is so so so excited to be a big sister and seeing that already has been so encouraging. I know this “baby sister” will complete our family and I’m so excited for that to happen and for us to move through the rest of our lives as a family of four! Keep checking back in and hopefully I’ll have GREAT news to share and you’ll start feeling super positive about your new addition as well! XOXOXO

  9. i would say if you have any doubt and fear wait, wait until you are really ready, and you will know when. four years ago i had my first baby, i was in hospital for the whole last trimester. the delivery was horrible, it took me half year to recover, and the baby was never sleeping. he still has too much energy. i was thinking about the second baby, but there was always fear and doubt. and all of a sudden i fell ready, i am sure i want it, and there is no fear. so, my advice is wait, you will know when you are ready, but if you have any doubts and fears, just wait. no matter how often they ask you when you will have another.

  10. Thank you for this post. I felt like I was reading my own thoughts! This is exactly how I feel and think about a second baby. It is very comforting and reassuring to know other women out there feel the same way. Being a mom is the best job but also scary and it does involve a leap of faith! Thank you again!

    1. Thank YOU for commenting and relating…it helps to know it’s not an easy, carefree decision for everyone. It took us awhile! I’m finding that I’m already having to remind myself that it will all be okay, it will all work out, it will be amazing … halfway through this 2nd pregnancy and it’s crazy knowing how much its going to change things. I think it’ll be both harder and easier in ways and I guess I just have to prepare myself for the adventure of it! Keep in touch XO

  11. I can TOTALLY relate! It’s a constant internal struggle! Somedays I am 1000% ready to have another and other days I am like how do people have more than one! I had a pretty easy and normal pregnancy, until I had baby at 35 weeks and he was in the NICU for 3 weeks. He is good now, but the thought of having another c section, and possible NICU time freaks me out! On top of it all I am a type 1 diabetic… so pregnancy is no walk in the park! My head and heart 100% want and need another. I think we are planning on trying for #2 this month! I just need to rip off the fear bandage and just go for it bc I will never stop being scared until its all said and done! We only want 2 babies anyways! It is scary, VERY, scary. But I am realising my want for another child is greater than my fear of another pregnancy!

    1. Oh wow, that beginning sounds pretty traumatic, no wonder you hesitate. And I agree, the time comes to just go for it and throw all caution to the wind, as terrifying as it is! Keep in touch and best wishes for a healthy, comfortable pregnancy and birth too. XOOX

  12. Hi, I can so much relate to your article. I have a 3-year old daughter right now and my pregnancy with her was really tough, it was traumatizing. But my hubby is an only child and he said life is no fun without a sibling. So we decided to have another one, no matter how scary it is for me. Thankfully, Im pregnant now and hoping everything will be easy this time.

    1. I’m hoping the same for you too!! How far along are you? Everyone says they can be so different so I hope thats the case (for both of us)! Keep me posted and I hope that it flies by! XO

  13. Jessie this is such a beautiful post. I love that you shared something so many women think and feel, something that we feel so alone about wondering if we are awful for thinking about in the first place. Although Evie is just nearly 4 months old, I’ve already begun to have these exact same thoughts. And I loved being pregnant!!! But like you said, it’s the unknown. And like you, I don’t have these easy baby that I can just put in the car and take her with me everywhere. She’s amazing, she’s smiley, but she’s TOUGH and that silent reflux does not make it any easier. There’s so much more I could say but ultimately I’m so glad I found you through Instagram because motherhood can be so isolating. It’s people like you who are brave enough to share their story and be open and candid about the true reality of motherhood. The good, the bad, and the sleepy! Ellie is a beauty and she is so lucky to have you as her mommy! XO

    1. Leah!!! I’m so lucky to have “met” you too! Love the support. You’re such a positive, loving mama, even when you don’t have it EASY. It’s really hard…but I will tell you that it gets easier, and then better and better (which is why it’s hard for me to go “back”). I know you know it. Connecting with other moms was the thing that “saved” me, as I say. It was so needed in those first months, and I haven’t stopped loving the connection since. I’m here all the time if you want to share stories. Little Evie is so lucky to have you as well! XOOX

    1. You’re welcome! I hope I don’t make you more terrified – because it really is worth it! For those of us that had it hard, it helps a little to share our misery 😉 – thanks for reading XO

  14. It’s so hard to want to start over… I’m getting married next fall, and the question of more kids (I have an 8 year old) keeps coming up. As much as I want to give future hubby the full experience I’m also super hesitant to start again. My first round went so well, I really don’t want to risk suffering for round 2, especially 10 years later. But I probably will, because as you know, it really is the most amazing experience. Fears and all. I always appreciate a really honest post about motherhood. Thanks for sharing!

    xoxo
    Katie
    http://beyondtheclothing.com

    1. Oh boy, that’s way starting over! I guess there is always a reason to hesitate – my newborn was hard, yours was easy and we’re both nervous to do it all over again! 🙂 I’m sure it will go well again for you – especially since you have a new hubby who will be a great partner. Good luck and keep in touch! XO

  15. Taking on something new is always scary. Making that new thing a baby, that is a big deal. I have three kids and with each one while I was pregnant there was a moment that I got sad for the changing of the family. It would never be the same again. It is difficult to explain but something that worried me. Of course it all worked out and my family of 5 is amazing, my three little ones are the absolute best parts of my life. Regardless of what others say, you need to know when you are ready. No one else will. Good luck on your journey!

    1. Appreciate it Emily! So good to hear from someone who has been there, has had similar thoughts and can tell me how amazing it is. I know it’s the truth – it’s just taking the leap! Enjoy your family of five! XOXO

  16. Ahh I’m in the exact same boat! Gosh I’m so relieved I’m not the only one going through this thank you for sharing! My daughter will be turning three soon and while I’ve always wanted more kids I knew I wanted to wait till she turned 2.5 to try again. I wanted to enjoy her and not have another right after and not be able to have the deep bond we have now because of our time spent together. But I’m struggling to start trying again. I remember the birth pain so clearly, I remember the complete and utter depression and misery I went through the first 6 months, the obsessing over everything. I alway hear new mothers going on about how they love motherhood, how fantastic their newborns are while I’m sitting there feeling like ‘am I the only one not enjoying this, am I the only one who is hating this”. I also remember the nasusa. Oh my god that was terrible, it was so strong I could barely move. But more, I’m hesitating because I don’t want my life to change. Is that selfish? My daughter is at an age where it’s easy. She’s fun, talkative, learning so much and I’m watching her grow and it’s breath taking. I’m so in love with her. I don’t want to start at the begining again. I don’t know how to manage with two, how to cope with two. How do I complete all my work while managing two? Your post has helped though, making me start to think more differently thanks Molly xo

    1. Ok Mama, we’re in it together! 🙂 It’s hard…the older and more amazing and fun they get, the harder it is to “start over” (ESPECIALLY for those of us who had a really hard time with our newborns). I’ve always been sure I’d have two so I have to be aware of too much time passing and the decision just getting harder and harder – not easier! I’m so glad (personally) that we’ve had this time with just Ellie – and no, I don’t think we’re selfish! I worried about getting pregnant so quickly and being sick again and missing all her awesome-ness. The unknown is scary but you’re an amazing mama to your daughter and you will be amazing to your next as well. I think it makes us even better mamas that we don’t make this decision lightly. Thanks for reading XOXO

  17. This is such a beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing. It is a scary decision to get pregnant! There are so many things that go into it, and the decision is different for everyone, because everyone is different. You definitely shouldn’t compare yourself to other moms who have their babies close together, because your life is different than theirs and your reasons for getting pregnant or not getting pregnant will be different. Babies are amazing, but it’s also definitely not something you have to rush if you aren’t ready. Good luck!!

    1. Thanks Chelsea! Totally agree – we’re all different and make our decisions based on what feels right for us. Thank you for reading and for the encouragement XO

  18. I can totally relate to this! I was so scared to get pregnant with number two, but he ended up being more of a surprise (ha!) and it took the timing question out of the equation. I will say that pregnancy with the second goes soo much faster. I could barely remember what week I was in let alone counting the days like with number 1. While it’s always an adjustment, you’ll find your way. Good luck mama!!

    1. Thank you Lindsay! A surprise is one way to do it! Haha :). I totally count on pregnancy #2 going by faster, it has to, right!? Thanks for your encouragement XOX

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