Second (or Third) Time Mommy Anxiety


I wrote this post on Salt & Nectar in 2011 when I was pregnant with Amos. As Nicholas and I consider expanding our family once again, I realized some of these anxieties are resurfacing. Even with one more child "under my belt," I still worry that next time I will encounter something I just can't handle... 

It all started with the kicking.

I remember Griffin kicking. But it was the cute, surprising “Everyone come quick!” kind of kicking. Amos - not so much. His kicking is constant and strong and keeps me up at night. His kicking seems more like he’s trying to escape...through my belly button.

At first, I told myself that it was just because it was my second pregnancy. My muscles (and God knows what else) are all stretched out making every little flutter feel more like a flip. Then, I decided I just didn’t remember Griffin moving this much. But about two weeks ago, I called my friend and asked her if they could diagnosis hyperactivity in the womb.

The kicking alone is not the problem. The kicking is a problem because it contributes to my increasing anxiety about having a second child.

Here’s the thing. I think I’m a pretty good Mom. Griffin is well-behaved and charming and independent. He sleeps through the night, isn’t a picky eater, and plays well by himself. I used to get so riled up when people would tell me how lucky I was. Luck! It wasn’t luck! It was my (and my husband’s) fantastic parenting skills.

Lately though, my resolve has started to crumble because Griffin actually was and is a really, really good baby. He has an amazingly laid back and adaptive personality. I read stories about a month long battles some parents have with their children over food or baths and know in my heart of hearts that Griffin would never do that. He has preferences. He makes them known. But overall he’s just so damn good.

And here’s where the anxiety kicks in. What if I’m only a good mother because Griffin is such a good baby? Or worse, what if I’ve used up all my good baby karma and am fated to have the most difficult child on the planet next?

I read the other day that parenting is not a one-size-fits-all job and I realized that is something I’m going to have to remind myself of everyday. I want nothing more than to treat Amos like the individual he is. I want to meet his needs, not just shove him through the same mold I formed with Griffin. But what if I can’t? What if the strategies and tactics I learned the first time don’t apply? What if he won’t eat/stop crying/sleep?

I’ve always had confidence as a mother but all of a sudden I feel it all slipping away. I never had the same anxiety a lot first time moms had. I never had that “Are they really going to let me keep this baby? I have no idea what I’m doing!” But that is exactly how I feel now.

As an only child, I think some of my fears come from the fact that I have no framework for more than one child. I always pictured myself as a mother and I know how to deal withone child. But I’m going to have children - as in PLURAL - and I’m just not sure how that’s going to work.

Luckily, my husband is one of five children and has endless experience in siblings' relations. I have an amazing support group and tons of girlfriends with more than one kid who can help show me the way. At the end of the day, it’s not about letting myself down. It’s about letting Amos down. I’ve never wondered how I’ll love another child as much as I love Griffin. I love Amos already - fiercely. And I just want to be the best possible mother for him that I can be.

If only he would stop kicking me for five seconds...

How about you? Did you have any concerns about expanding your family?