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Will I ever lover another baby as much?

Yep, you will! But it's normal to worry that you might not feel the same about baby number two ...Having your first baby is so special, how could you feel the same way about another? It's something every mum has asked herself...

“One of my most vivid memories is lying on the bed with my son Walid when he was one and half years. All blonds curls and giggles, he patted my huge bump, saying, ‘Baba!' Enfolding him in a hormonal cuddle, I felt a jolt of sadness it wouldn't be just the two of us anymore. Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled I was having another baby who I'd loved from the moment I saw the blue line on the pregnancy test. But I didn't know how I'd ever adore another baby as much as Walid.”

Nearly all second-time mums feel this – let's call it Second Baby Anxiety Syndrome – to some extent. Mashila Ramen, 35, from London, is 36 weeks pregnant and has a son, Jaden, three and a half years old. “Your first baby is the most overwhelming love of your life,” she says. “After spending all your time with them, it feels very different to think there's another one on the way.”

Mashila who is on maternity leave from her job in banking, also finds it hard imagining feeling that same heady love for another child. “My husband Habib, who'd love to have a daughter, teases me saying she'd put Jaden in his place,” she says. “I know he's joking and he adores Jaden, but in my hormonal state, that makes me tearful, too. ‘We have to love them both the same,' I sniffle. The reality is, it'll probably do Jaden good to have a sibling after spending so long with our undivided attention.”

Being pregnant with your second baby can certainly stir up emotions, agrees social psychologist Dr Sandra Wheatley. “There's probably more going on in your head this time,” she says. It's common to worry that you won't love a second baby as much as your first – or maybe that you'll prefer baby number two.

If you already have a boy, maybe you're hoping for a girl this time, or a boy if you've got a daughter. Thoughts like these are normal, but it helps to talk and get them out in the open.

Dr Wheatley also says it's not just a female thing – dads feel jittery about a new baby, too. “It's one issue that he's likely to have real empathy with,” she says. “Talk to your partner and you'll probably find he's feeling apprehensive as well.”

Of course, when you talk to other mums with more than one child, they know where you're coming from. But when you ask how on earth do they manage to be equally enamoured with their second baby, they invariably answer, ‘You just do'.

But, like lots of things about being a mum – starting with the biggie of becoming one in the first place – it just doesn't click until you've been there yourself.

That's something Abier Walid, 33, mum to Raima, four months, and Aida nearly three yeara old, now realises. “I got so fed-up of people telling me I ‘just would' love Raima every bit as much as Aida,” says Abier from Jeddah. “What if I didn't? I felt guilty for even questioning if I could love another baby as much as he.” But the reality? Yep...she ‘just did'.

“As soon as I stroked Raima's tiny fingers as she lay across my tummy and gazed at her sweet, little face, I immediately felt the same rush of love for her, too,” says Abier. “Just like when Aida was born, I coudn't stop looking at Raima and checking every few minutes she's still breathing. I love cuddling her and watching her different facial expressions. I feel so blessed to have two healthy, beautiful daughters.”

But it's not just a love thing. You're also biologically programmed to bond with your baby. “The process of giving birth releases hormones that set you up to fall in love with your baby,” says Rabiah Amad an antenatal teacher. But forget the guilt trip if you don't feel an instant rush of love when your baby's born – it doesn't always happen straight away, especially if you've had a difficult pregnancy of birth. “Women should try not to beat themselves up,” Dr Wheatley agrees. “There's no exact way you should be feeling.”

Of course, a big part of Second Baby Anxiety Syndrome is change. “We've been a unit of three for so long”, says Mashila Ramen. “The new baby will change our family dynamics. I do worry about it, but, most of all, we're excited and Jaden is looking forward to being a brother. It's the next stage for us.”

“As for me, I did fall in love with my second baby, Finbar – all 4.3 kg of him! And when I had my third, Aleyah, that first moment when I looked into her eyes was just as magical. Love my children equally? No doubt. Get on with them equally all the time? Now, that's different...”

• Do you have similar worries? Log on to a helpful UK site, and share your feelings with other mums in their chatrooms.

What Real Mums Say...
“My big mistake was telling my son, Fouad, straight away that I was expecting. Being asked, ‘How many sleeps?' until the baby would arrive every day of my pregnancy was a real pain. And, by the time Farah was born, the poor little chap had almost lost interest!” -- Suhaila Mohammad, 28, mum to Farah, 2 months, and Fouad, 4

“One minute I was fretting about loving baby number two the same as Rawan then, once Ahmad was born, I felt guilty I was so besotted with my new baby that his sister might feel left out. You can't win!” -- Marian Abdul, 31, mum to Ahmad, 3 months and Rawan, 2

“I spent most of my pregnancy imagining what it would be like having another baby and how it would change things. Then, when Saud was born, it just felt right. Now it feels like he's always been part of our family.” --Rabiah Malik, 27, mum to Saud 5 months and Dana, 3

I've got two, babe...Being pregnant and busy with a lively toddler leaves you little spare time, but try to take some, ‘baby and you' time, says NCT president Gail Werkmeister. “Mums often feel guilty that they don't devote as much attention to their second pregnancies,” says Gail, “First time around, you read every expert book, and think about your baby all the time.”

“But when you're pregnant second time around, you're just too busy with your other child, running a home and maybe going to work as well. Sign up for an antenatal refresher course so you can focus on being pregnant again. You could also have a massage or go for a swim once a week – anything that gives you time to think about your new baby, and time to yourself, too!”

Source: Arabian Woman
Posted: 26/06/2008

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