The Challenges of a Second Child

Challenge: Third-Wheel Syndrome

I was excited when I found out I was pregnant again, but the next minute I was battling some anxiety and guilt. How was Kate going to feel about having a sibling?

As it turned out, she adjusted well. Friends had told me the way your child acts toward other babies is a good indicator of how she'll be with her new sibling, and that rang true. Kate liked babies but was pretty hands-off. That's how she was with Sara at the beginning. She'd pose for pictures with her and even kiss her on the head, but otherwise she'd mostly go about her business.

Happily, even my friends whose big kids weren't thrilled have seen a shift. "For months, Miller would say, 'Can you throw the baby in the garbage, Mommy?' But we recently had a breakthrough," says Katy Burns, of South Orange, New Jersey. "Cecily started cracking up at the goofy faces he makes. That's made him feel a lot better about her."

As I said before, things should get better as the baby gets older. "When Samantha began to sit up and play, then crawl and walk, Charlotte began to warm to her," my neighbor Nerissa Aschoff says. "Now they parade around together."

The silver lining: When your kids start really interacting -- from the way your baby's eyes light up when her sibling appears to when they start giggling together -- every challenge of raising two will feel absolutely, positively worth it.

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