It’s been a big week in baby news. Both Blake Lively and Eva Mendes are reportedly pregnant with their second baby, babies that will become siblings for their daughters James and Esmerelda. Because this is both actresses’ second baby, not first, I do hope that they realise that no one gives as much of a shit about your second baby. Ok, maybe that’s not entirely true, but that’s how it felt for me.
The night I delivered our first child, our hospital room was packed with visitors. Without exaggeration, it was like everyone we knew descended on the hospital at once, so much so that the nursing staff asked ‘guests’ to stagger their time spent in the room. It was absolutely overwhelming, but we were so proud and excited to show off our little girl that we didn’t care.
Two years later when I gave birth to our son, it was a completely different experience. Instead of the crazy flow of visitors, flowers, phone calls and messages, this time around was just a trickle in comparison. The only people that came to the hospital were tight family members and our closest of friends. Even when we got home, there weren’t even half as many visitors – which should have made me feel relieved because visitors can be a bit of a drain when you’ve just given birth – but it left me feeling annoyed. It felt as though our second kid didn’t mean as much as the first and I couldn’t get my head around it because in our eyes, our little boy was equally as perfect, and wanted, and special.
Then, I thought about how many times I had done that exact same thing myself in the past; how I’d rushed down to the hospital when friends had their first child and then really took my sweet arse time to see the second. Even as a parent, I didn’t document half as much of my son’s firsts as I did my daughter’s. Every single thing she did, first poo, first solid food, first night in a cot, first step and first birthday was documented in photos and video. Why didn’t I do the same for my son? Well, I guess it just wasn’t the same, because running around after a toddler while looking after a newborn doesn’t leave you with a heap of time on your hands to be a documentarian.
It’s not that the first child is any more special, I just think a first is a first. In the same way that all firsts are the ones we remember best – first kiss, first time, first job, a first child is the one who gets the most attention in that way. Does it mean your second and subsequent children are any less loved, or celebrated? Absolutely not. It’s just that they’re not the first.
I’m sure that for Blake Lively and Eva Mendes, the births of their second children will be just as big a deal as their first; after all, they’re celebrities and there’s always some publication forking out big bucks for pics of the latest celeb offspring. But for us normal folk, we know our second babies are just as important, and just as loved as our firsts – and as long as they know it, that’s all that really matters.
Here, Claire Hooper talks to Monty about her first pregnancy…
Did you find people reacted the same to your second child as they did your first?