Navigating the Excitement and the Fear of Having a Second Child

Second Child

Our little Nolan!

He’s here!

Nolan Thomas Becker was born on 12/9/2013 at 5:15pm. He was 12 days early but still weighed in at a solid 7 pounds and 11 ounces. Everyone is happy and healthy and we’re back home now getting used to our new life.

It’s been a whirlwind last few days. We actually went to the hospital on Saturday thinking the baby was coming and stayed overnight only to be discharged on Sunday. Then on Monday Casey’s water broke and 6 hours later we had a baby! The rush of excitement, family, nurses, doctors, hospital trays and cots has been a lot of fun, but it’s nice to be back home settling into a routine.

I have to admit, this second pregnancy was definitely less at the forefront of my mind than the first one. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think it was mostly a combination of three things:

  • I’m a guy and therefore not the one who was actually pregnant. I have a feeling that matters.
  • We’ve been through it before.
  • We had less time to think about it because we’re busy chasing around our first son Aiden.

But in the last couple of weeks, and especially now that Nolan’s actually here, I’ve kind of had a flood of recognition and with it a flood of emotions. I’m so happy to be a dad again and really can’t wait to see how our family changes, but this second time around there’s a whole new set of things I’m excited about and things that kind of scare the crap out of me.

So today I want to share some of those feelings, both the good and the bad. This is partly self-therapy and partly an effort to help other new parents recognize that having both sets of feelings is not only okay, but totally normal.

What I’m feeling: the excitement and the fear

I can’t wait to see what kind of person Nolan is. What does he like? What makes him feel good? What is he interested in? What are his little quirks? We’ve got some sense of what he’s like so far (very chill, woo hoo!), but it’s going to take time for him to create his own little personality and I’m excited to be along for the ride.

I worry that I didn’t do enough to cherish those last few days with Aiden as an only child. That was time we’ll never have again and I feel like I didn’t quite take advantage of it like I should have.

I can’t wait to watch Aiden help take care of Nolan. He’s already been so sweet to him in their couple of short interactions, giving him hugs and kisses and little pats on the head. I’m under no illusion that it will be all rainbows and sunshine, but I think he’s going to be a great big brother.

I worry that I won’t be able to pay attention to Aiden like I did before. I worry that getting less attention will hurt him and that it will weaken our relationship.

I can’ wait until Nolan is old enough for he and Aiden to play together. I remember walking on the beach with Casey just after we had found out we were pregnant with Aiden and seeing three small siblings splashing in a tidal pool together. We turned to each other and said “that’s what we need. We need to make our own little tribe.” It’s going to be so much fun to see how they interact. Above all else, I want them to love and support each other.

Since birth, I’ve been able to calm Aiden down by putting his head on my shoulder, rocking him and singing to him. It hasn’t mattered what the situation was, it’s worked pretty much 100% of the time. I worry that I won’t be able to do that with Aiden as often, and I also worry that the same thing won’t work with Nolan. I worry about how that will affect them and how it will affect my feelings as a father.

I can’t wait to do story time with Aiden in one arm and Nolan in the other. We already got a little bit of that yesterday. It was pretty awesome.

I worry that I won’t be able to give Nolan the same kind of love that I’ve given Aiden. EVERYTHING has revolved around Aiden since he was born. I’ve made up countless songs for him, held him while he slept, pushed his trucks around with him, helped him jump on the couch, just watched him while he played or read by himself and pretty much spent all my non-working time with him. I worry that I won’t be able to devote that same kind of energy or have the same kind of excitement for Nolan when I’ve already been through it and I already have another child to care for. Nolan deserves the same love and energy and I hope I can give it to him.

I can’t wait to watch Casey with the two of them. She’s so good with Aiden and I learn so much by watching her be a parent. I’d be lost without her. But to watch them together and think to myself “that’s my family”, well there just isn’t much better than that.

As much as I’m also dreading it, I can’t wait for those first few weeks of middle-of-the-night wake ups with Nolan where I can get some quiet one-on-one time with him.

With that said, I’m really not looking forward to all the sleep deprivation. Didn’t we just get Aiden sleeping through the night? Why are we putting ourselves through that again?

More than anything, I’m excited to keep growing our family. This is what I’ve always wanted, and what Casey has always wanted too. Now we’re getting to make it happen.

Welcome Nolan! I love you!

What things excited you about having a child? What scared you? How did it actually work out? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments.

Photo courtesy of eyeliam

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43 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • John S @ Frugal Rules December 12, 2013

    First off major congrats Matt! That’s awesome and so glad that everything worked out well and that Nolan and Mom are doing good. That said, I can completely relate to all of your emotions. I was afraid that it would be difficult for me to love another child like I did our first and the moment I saw him, and the others it was instantly like my heart got that much bigger. In terms of watching the two of them play together and the oldest caring for Nolan, it is awesome to watch my friend and is neat to watch them develop their own relationship as they both get older. That said, cherish that you still can have man to man defense, because zone defense is something else altogether…sorry for the football analogy. 🙂 Congrats again!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 12, 2013

      Haha, I actually just used the man-to-man analogy just a few minutes ago! My wife took our newborn to his doctor’s appointment and I stayed home for lunch/nap with Aiden. Man-to-man! Thanks for the kind words and the encouragement. It’s been a lot of fun so far, though certainly a little hectic as we figure things out. All part of the process.

  • Andrew December 12, 2013

    Congratulations to you and your family Matt! Early Christmas present. Very happy for you guys and glad everyone is doing well. I think I might be a little extra paranoid with baby #2 since I had the discharged twice from hospital to having the baby at home. I don’t want a repeat of that! But I was thinking the same thing as you. My wife take so many pictures and videos of our baby, spend so much time playing with him, singing to him that I hope our next child won’t miss out on that.

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 12, 2013

      Thanks Andrew! And yeah, not paying the same kind of attention is one of my biggest fears. I think it’s kind of inevitable just because you have another child who takes time and energy, but I still want to make sure we really cherish this time with Nolan as well. It’s been interesting so far, but we still have a ways to go.

      • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 12, 2013

        By the way, I was thinking of you when they discharged us on Sunday. Luckily we were actually at the hospital for Casey’s doctor’s appointment when her water broke. Good thing too because she started getting strong contractions almost immediately.

  • Alexa Mason December 12, 2013

    Congratulations!!! So happy for you! When I had my second daughter I really felt like my family was complete. It was such a great time. You might get lucky on the sleep front though. When I had my first daughter she never, ever slept. I thought my second would be like that too. I was completely shocked that my second baby slept all the time. There weren’t as many sleep deprived nights as there was the first go around. Plus with your second you actually feel like you know what you’re doing so life with a baby gets a little easier.

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 12, 2013

      Thanks Alexa! It does feel a little bit more like a “full” family with 2, even though we’re planning on having more. On the sleep front, I’m not totally sure what to expect yet. Nolan spent pretty much the entire time in the hospital sleeping and has been sleeping great during the day here, but definitely had some trouble last night. We’ll see. Fingers crossed.

  • Elroy December 12, 2013

    Congrats, we just had our second a few weeks ago. Our baby was crying at the hospital and the nurse walked while I was just sitting there watching TV (she was hungry and my wife was down the hall doing something). The nurse kind of looked at me funny, and I joked, “She’s our second.” It’s certainly different, but not worse or better.

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 12, 2013

      Haha. Yeah the second time around is definitely different. It’s funny how routine everything felt both during labor and afterwards in the hospital. I remember the first diaper change with Aiden where I had to run out and ask the nurses for help because I was so overwhelmed. This time it was nothing. And the crying definitely doesn’t get to me like it used to either. So there are absolutely some benefits to having gone through it before.

  • E.M. December 12, 2013

    Congratulations! It’s great to hear that everything went smoothly. It’s so cute that Aiden is showing Nolan such affection already. I hope everything continues going well and that the sleep deprivation isn’t too bad this time around.

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 13, 2013

      Thanks! Aiden really has been very sweet, though certainly jealous at times as well. That’s to be expected though and hopefully we’ll be able to work through it with a little time.

  • Shannon Ryan December 12, 2013

    Congratulations, Matt! He is a handsome baby and I love the name Nolan! I’m glad everyone is doing well too. I remember feeling many of the same thoughts running through your head now when Taylor was born. I felt so incredibly blessed but it was also difficult lose that 1:1 relationship with Lauren too. While you definitely panic a lot less, you’ll find it’s much easier to adapt and adjust to loving two precious boys than you thought it would be. They will be great friends and have each others backs, which will just warm your heart and make-up for the times they do fight! LOL! You’ll be a great Dad, Matt and I’m so happy for you and your wife!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 13, 2013

      I love hearing stories like that! That kind of relationship is exactly what I’m most excited to see. It’s going to be a lot of fun to see how it evolves as they learn to interact with each other. Thanks for the encouragement Shannon!

  • Jacob @ iHeartBudgets December 13, 2013

    Matt, congrats! How awesome to have two boys, what a blessing. And I have to say, Nolan is an awesome name (my son’s name as well). And thanks for sharing your feelings as well. We’re a few weeks away from our daughter being born, and resemble many of the things you listed above. It’s going to be CRAY CRAY UP IN HERE in a few, but we’re really excited.

    Congrats again, wicked awesome 🙂

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 13, 2013

      Nolans unite! Yep you guys are in for a fun ride soon too. If it’s anything like our experience so far, there are definitely a few hiccups along the way and a fair amount of hecticness (is that a word?), but overall very very positive.

      On another note, was that “wicked” at the end a nod to Boston? If so, I wholeheartedly applaud the effort. If not, then I simply applaud your wicked awesome vocabulary.

  • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer December 13, 2013

    Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Glad it all went well, and HUGE congrats, Matt!!! First, all of your fears and feelings are normal – we had those same ones when our second came along. Second, you really will love watching them play together; today, mine are 14, 10, 9 and 7, and my heart still swells with joy to see them giggling and playing together – it’s the best. Make sure to keep spending at least some one-on-one time with both of your precious boys, and then have those group interactions too, and encourage them. All will go well, my friend. Those boys will get along just fine, because you and Casey have committed to loving and caring for them. 🙂

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 13, 2013

      Thanks Laurie! You’re definitely an inspiration for me. I see people like you doing such an awesome job with all of their kids and I at least know that it’s possible. We’ve definitely been trying to do one-on-one time with each of them and I think it’s been going well so far. There have been a few times where I’m holding Nolan and Aiden asks to be picked up and I’m still figuring out how to handle that, but I think it just takes some time. Thanks so much for the encouragement!

  • Brad @ December 13, 2013

    Congrats Matt!! I’m sure Aiden and Nolan will be best buddies, and that’s very cute that they are already interacting.

    We have two daughters and my youngest just turned 2. It seems like just yesterday she was born, but now she’s her very own little person, which is wild to watch.

    For us, two is seriously all we can handle; it’s wonderful and fun and chaotic and stressful, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Having two is definitely exponentially more difficult than one, at least in our family. Maybe we don’t deal with chaos too well, but it’s definitely tough.

    That said, it’s so wonderful to see the girls play together and become best friends, so it’s all worth it!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 13, 2013

      2 is such a fun age! Or at least almost 2 is (which is where we are). They really are becoming their own person at that point, just as you say, and they’re so interesting.

      We’re planning on having more but we’ll definitely have to see what it’s like having 2. It’s definitely more relaxed in terms of the newborn, but there are also clearly more needs just from having 2 kids. We’ve got a long way to go before we have it figured out, but it’s good to hear about people like you who are enjoying it.

      Thanks for the kind words!

  • BrokeMillennial December 13, 2013

    Congrats! He looks like a beautiful baby (far less squishy than most newborns). Hope Aiden takes to him well and that you all have a very Merry Christmas!

  • Brian @ Luke1428 December 13, 2013

    This is awesome Matt! Big congrats! I remember each moment when I saw our children for the first time, glad that they had finally arrived and wondering what they might become. We are reaching the point now where we are beginning to see what they are becoming and it’s pretty awesome to know we had a hand in that. I wouldn’t trade having children for anything in the world. I’m sure you feel that way as well. Congrats again…and enjoy those sleepless nights. 🙂

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 13, 2013

      I’m right there with you. Even during the tough moments I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. The good moments are just too amazing. I hear stories like when you guys went out for a fancy dinner and your little guy ordered a pizza. That kind of thing just makes me laugh but it’s those little moments that are so much fun.

  • Done by Forty December 13, 2013

    That’s so cool, Matt. Congratulations. This is the very best kind of news.

    It’s good to get insights into your thoughts, as I have a lot of worries about being a father. Namely, I feel like I am not ready to be one, as earlier in the week I wore the same shirt for like, three straight days. I should not be caring for a little dude, you know?

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 13, 2013

      Haha. If it makes you feel any better I hadn’t shaved for 5 straight days before this morning, so if personal hygiene is one of the leading factors of good parenting, I might be failing as well.

      In all seriousness, even though I wanted to be a dad since I was a little kid myself, I had a lot of insecurity when it really came time to make the decision. I was hesitant to really starting trying to get pregnant and I think that was mostly just fear of not being up to it. It’s hard to really feel ready, but if it’s something you really want I think it’s best to just go for it and let yourself get used to the idea once it’s real. At least that’s how it worked for me. And from what I know of you I think you’d be a great dad.

  • femmefrugality December 13, 2013

    Oh, congrats! I’m so glad he and momma are healthy and happy! I echo everyone else: I felt every single one of these things when #2 came along. (Even though I was the one that was pregnant, that time it went by a lot faster than #1.) Being a parent can be such an overwhelming emotional feat, but as you highlight, it is one of the most super amazing things ever! So happy for your family!

  • Tonya December 14, 2013

    Congratulations Matt! And such a sweet post too! Hope you don’t have too much of a problem getting lots of sleep!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 14, 2013

      Thanks Tonya! Sleep is a battle, but so far there are signs it might not be quite as big a battle this time around. Fingers crossed!

  • Maria Nedeva December 14, 2013

    Congratulations to you and your wife, Matt. Great to hear all is well and that you are looking forward to sleepless nights and days full of fun. I’ve always suspected that men feel like you do; part of it is that because you are not ‘growing’ the baby you feel powerless. Don’t; all we women need in this is support and understanding…As to loving another child, don’t worry – you’ll hold him and love him like nothing else in the world. Because they are all unique.

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 14, 2013

      Thank you for the kind words and support Maria. I think you’re spot on about providing support and understanding throughout the pregnancy. Without going through it ourselves, we can’t really know what it’s like but we can do everything in our power to make it easier. It’s definitely nice with Nolan here though to be able to take on a hands-on role.

  • MyMoneyDesign December 15, 2013

    Congratulations to you and your family Matt! What a great early Christmas present. I remember when my son was born I had a sea of questions, hopes, doubts, etc that were stewing in my mind. 8 years later, all I can say is that you just work it out as you go along. You never stop wanting the best for your kids and you do everything to get them there. But each day is just a little different than the rest, and unfortunately there is no manual for how to get there. You just do. You just constantly work at it just like you would anything else that is important in your life. You’re going to be fine!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 16, 2013

      Thanks MMD! I’m feeling better by the day as we figure out how to maneuver with two kids. Luckily Nolan is so far at least an incredibly chill baby, which makes it as easy as it could possibly be. But I like what you said: “you just do”. That’s so true with kids and really so much of what’s important in life. If you really want something, you just have to do it even if it scares you.

  • Grayson @ Debt Roundup December 15, 2013

    Sorry for being so behind Matt. Congratulations!. I am very happy for you and your family. I am sure you are trying to soak it all in right now.

    I only have one child now, but having another is in the playbook. I can’t wait until that time comes when our other child gets to play with our first.

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 16, 2013

      Thanks Grayson! It’s been a lot of fun watching them interact already. Well, watching Aiden interact with Nolan. Not too much going on in the other direction yet, haha.

  • Pauline @RFIndependence December 16, 2013

    That is fantastic news Matt, congratulations and welcome to Nolan! I am sure everything is going to be fabulous. A few friends have shared their fears of not loving the second as much or giving a favor treatment but you just love them the same, even if you express it differently. Love the name too!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 18, 2013

      Thanks Pauline! I’m already finding that I love Nolan so much and so far we’ve been able to do a pretty good job of spending time with both of them. It’s definitely been an adjustment, but a fun one!

  • Student Debt Survivor December 18, 2013

    He’s absolutely adorable. Congratulations! I don’t have kids yet, so I don’t really have any advice, but my sisters both of two kids (each) and they’ve seemed to do just fine with the addition of a second child. Everyone will still get love and attention and it will work out just fine. The fact that you’re already thinking about it (and worried everyone gets equal love) tells me you guys are great parents :-).

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 18, 2013

      Thanks! Objectively I think you’re absolutely right about everything working out, and so far it’s already played out that way. But I still get those moments of anxiety. But I think that’s just part of being a parent, haha. As kids we always wondered why our parents worried so much. Well now I know!

  • Cat Alford/ Budget Blonde December 18, 2013

    Soooooo excited and thrilled for your family. Nolan is a little angel! So happy for all of you!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 18, 2013

      Thanks Cat! It’s been a lot of fun so far. And Aiden’s been really sweet to Nolan. Having siblings is really cool!

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar December 21, 2013

    Congratulations! I think kids learn to adjust to having none or many siblings. As long as you love them and make your time with them meaningful. Two boys are going to be tons of fun and energy, and I believe you’ve said you want a big family, so congrats on adding to the mix!

    • Matt @ momanddadmoney December 23, 2013

      Thanks Kim! We’re working towards 4 kids, so we’ll see. So far they’ve been getting along get, which has made it a lot of fun.

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