Second Child Syndrome… My Unborn 2nd Child is Already Getting Shafted
I’m the eldest of three children. My sister, the middle child, has complained all her life about getting the short end of the stick. She even calls it, “Second Child Syndrome.”
Now, pregnant with MY second child, I’m starting to see her point.
With first babies, couples tend to get all creative when announcing their pregnancies. Some film cute YouTube videos, write songs, have creative photoshoots, send elegant cards by mail, or surprise their friends and families. They post ultrasound photos on Facebook and watch as hundreds of “likes” and comments pour in.
But with the second child . . . not so much. I kept “forgetting” to tell people I was pregnant. I was too busy trying not to throw up on my tantruming toddler to do anything creative.
Due Dates and “How far along are you?”
With first babies, you sign up for weekly emails telling you what size you baby is compared to a piece of fruit. You read What to Expect When Expecting and know the next prenatal test you’re scheduled to have, and if your babe’s fingernails have developed yet.
With the second, I keep forgetting my due date. It’s sometime in late July. I know now that it doesn’t matter – babies come when they are ready. I can only plan as far ahead as Parent’s Day at my son’s school next Wednesday. Or is is Thursday? I’ll think about that after I clean up the mountain of Lego I keep stepping on while having a conference call from home.
People keep asking me how far along I am. I don’t know . . . I can’t remember anymore. With my first, I’d proudly answer, “25 weeks and 3 days!” With this one, I’m like, “Far enough along not to be able to button my pants but not far along enough to have dug the breast pump out of the attic.”
With first babies, moms‐to‐be go Pinterest-happy planning their nurseries. They have a special themed room all set up for the baby weeks in advance.
The second time around, I know the newborn will be spending the first few months of his life in a co‐sleeper next to my bed so I can drowsily feed him in the night with the least amount of effort necessary. So no rush on the nursery.
Adorable Clothes and New Gear
With first babies, moms take time to research the latest and greatest in baby gear. They register at several stores so that their friends and family can shower gifts upon them. They eschew used gear for safety reasons and plan their car seat colors to match their stroller.
With second babies, there are rarely showers. The second child uses whatever the first child hasn’t yet destroyed. Baby boy in a pink stroller? So what? Do the swaddling blankets match the bedding? Uh no…. Do my socks match today?
Before the arrival of the first little one, couples often plan a “Babymoon” – one last romantic getaway to connect as a couple.
Pregnant with our second, my husband and I high‐five in triumph after sneaking in a quickie while our son is focused on an episode of Sesame Street.
Health and Stuff
With the first baby, moms meticulously avoid the danger foods of cold cuts, soft cheeses, oysters, etc. and abstain from alcohol.
With the second, we tend to be much more relaxed. Hell, my first son turned out basically a genius. So if my second loses a couple of IQ points due to a glass of wine on my birthday, he’ll still be smart enough. Besides, I can only afford to send one to college.
If my second is getting shafted to this degree, I can only imagine what will be in store for the third, if we ever have time to conceive another one. I’ll probably forget to make an OB‐GYN appointment until my water breaks, let whoever’s working the ER deliver the baby, and take him home wrapped in dish towels.
Second Child Syndrome Update…
(Update: I wrote this post a while back. The second child turned out to be a GIRL and she’s now 4 years old. While all the stuff I wrote above is true and her life has been very different from that of a first child, she is her own little person. Quite the firecracker! She wouldn’t let us “shaft” her if we tried. So, in our family, if there IS a second child syndrome… it’s that she’s spoiled rotten by her parents and big brother!)