Having a Second Baby: Preparedness vs Readiness - Is There a Difference?
There are moments in life where we have to take a step of faith and tune out that voice of doubt in our minds. Having a second baby can possibly be one of those moments.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "Preparedness" as a state of being subjected to a special process or treatment.
On the other hand, its definition of "Readiness" is "prompt willingness", and one of the ways it defines "willing" is "Done, borne or accepted by choice or without reluctance".
One can be prepared for having a second baby and yet not be ready.
"So are you planning to have a second baby?"
This question pops up whenever a family member we haven't met in a while engages us in conversation.
I remember before we had Maeleth, our 20 month old daughter (at the time of me writing this post), they would ask us "So are you planning to have a baby?".
I assume that these questions will continue even if we have a second baby: "So, are you planning to have a third baby?". It is really easy to ask these questions when they don't have to bear the responsibility of parenting that hypothetical child, haha.
Yet, whenever they ask the question, my love Amilee and I would discuss about it, and it would go something like this: "You want to have another child?", "Maybe when Mae is more grown up.", "Now we're already so tired. Imagine if there's another baby to take care of..".
To clarify, Amilee is not pregnant! I am writing this blog post because I realised that one can be prepared for having a second baby and yet not be ready at the same time, and would like an outlet to share my thoughts.
Now, we are not against the idea of having a second baby, but we are not planning or trying to conceive at the moment. Our motto is to let God lead us for what He wills to be done in our lives.
After being full-time parents to Maeleth for 20 months and counting, I believe that Amilee and I have the preparedness for having a second baby.
From experience, we should be able to feed, bathe, burp, change diapers, educate, train, etc, a second baby.
We know what we need to prepare, for example: a cot, diapers, newborn rompers (we will probably cut down on the amount of clothes we buy for a newborn), formula milk powder (if Amilee is not breastfeeding for long), etc.
We also have our preferred brands and practices, for example: We like Dr Brown's baby bottles and will skip to the 8 oz. size bottles immediately instead of getting the tiny cute 4 oz. size ones.
We also prefer using Lucas' Papaw Ointment as nappy rash cream because it was one of the only brands that worked for Mae that allowed her to healed from a terrible nappy rash outbreak.
Having been through the process, I feel that the experience we gained will help to make having a second baby easier than the first, in the sense that we won't be so anxious or feel so clueless like when we were brand-new parents.
Although I have the preparedness for having a second baby, I don't feel that I have the readiness at this moment.
Every time I consider this issue, I have several concerns: "I am already so tired right now, if we have a second baby I don't know how we will manage..."
"Will we become very financially-strained and stressed out about it? Will we have to give up our relaxed lifestyle and start to work long and hard just to make ends meet and put bread on the table? Will it strain our marriage and leave no hope for an enjoyable life? Will life become only about the kids without any room for my own interests and passions?"
I kid you not, some of these concerns are ridiculous but I can't help thinking them.
As the definition of readiness is to bear the decision of having a second baby without reluctance, it's clear to see that I'm not there yet.
But... Can one ever have the readiness for having a second baby?
I remember when Amilee was pregnant with Mae - she kept asking me this question: "Are you ready to be a dad or not?". My answer to her was "No, but when the times comes, I'm sure I will be ready".
After reading articles and books about parenthood, attending pre-natal classes, parenting seminars and more, when Mae arrived, I was not ready.
All the head knowledge seemed to be thrown out the window and everything was learned on-the-job. I was making mistakes, fumbling and there was a steep learning curve.
Amilee picked it up easier - She looked after her younger cousins when they were babies and as a woman, she has the gift of a maternal instinct to know intuitively how to take care of a baby.
Fast-forward 20 months to today, I'm confident in taking care of Mae, and can handle most tasks even if I have to do it alone, like recently when Amilee went to Poland for a voice teachers conference for 5 days and I had to take care of Mae alone, just that I don't know how to cook or wash & iron clothes (there I said it, I'm terribly embarrassed about this!).
My awesome mother-in-law helped to cook, wash and iron while Amilee was overseas.
At least for me, I'll never have the readiness for having a second baby.
This is what I realised. I'll never be ready. The only time i'll be ready is when I have a second baby already and have to grow into the role of a full-time dad of two kids.
Which means, it's a leap of faith. I will have to make the decision of having a second baby knowing that I won't have the empowerment to do it right now, and trust that God will supply me with whatever I need once the second baby is here. Phew, talk about great faith.
But when I ask my heart whether it wants a second baby, the answer deep down that rises up is "Yes". But my mind immediately tries to convince me that I'm not ready because of this concern, that concern, blah blah blah.
So I guess it's down to this decision: Do I trust my mind, or do I follow my heart?
I hope you enjoyed reading my post on "Having a Second Baby: Preparedness vs Readiness - Is There a Difference?".
Do you think it's possible to have preparedness and readiness at the same time with regards to having a second baby?
Share your answers with me by leaving a comment below.
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