So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

It all started with an increased sense of smell, as crazy as that sounds. That was the first clue that I might be pregnant with my second child. My cycles have always been irregular, so I didn’t notice I was late at first. But that heightened ability to smell had me counting days and buying a box of pregnancy tests.

I took two of them while my husband was at work and my 7-month-old daughter was taking a nap. I wanted to be happy when they were both positive, but I was teetering between denial and terror. I had no plan whatsoever to have a second child so soon. Could I handle this? What would my husband say?

I wish I had done some Pinterest-inspired reveal when he got home that evening, something worthy of such a monumental announcement, but I fidgeted nervously throughout dinner and blurted out the news without preamble. I was greeted with a stunned silence that seemed to stretch on forever. He was freaked out.

Yeah. Me too, buddy.

We were already sleep-deprived new parents with just the one baby. The idea of doubling our responsibilities, and diaper budget, was overwhelming. But as the pregnancy progressed, we grew more and more excited. We had always wanted two children and this one was a boy! It was sooner than planned, but now our family would be complete.

Over the course of my pregnancy, I tried to prepare myself for life with two babies, but I have found it to be an unpredictable journey. There have been some nearly sleepless nights and simultaneous meltdowns between the children (and sometimes me), but my son is the best surprise I’ve ever gotten. Here are a few reasons:

1. My daughter will never remember a time he wasn’t in her life.

She was only 14 months old when he was born and there was no real conflict when I brought this new tiny human into her life. She was curious about him, of course. But now, nearly two years later, he is an essential part of her existence.

2. He looks up to her.

As he grew and became more aware of his surroundings, I noticed that my son’s gaze was often trained on his vivacious big sister. The look in his eyes reflected awe-struck wonder and when he started crawling, he used that newfound mobility to become her shadow. It gave me a glimpse of their life-long close relationship and seeing that was incredibly rewarding.

3. You get through the tough stuff all at once.

The toddler years can be rough. There’s frustration as they struggle to communicate before they have the ability, tantrums over trivial things (or nothing), and the hassle of potty training. When your children are less than two years apart, these phases are back-to-back, which can be difficult. But then it’s all knocked out in one fell swoop and they can move onto the next big thing together.

4. It forced my older child to develop independence.

No matter how much I tried to do it all and juggle the needs of both children, I found that I had to prioritize. The fact is, a newborn is needy. If he’s not asleep, he needs attention, usually in the form of feeding. I tried to entertain my daughter, who had just learned to walk when her brother was born, as much as possible. We even played fetch with a bouncy ball a couple of times while I breastfed, I’m embarrassed to admit. But over time, she learned to entertain herself, demonstrating a creativity in her playing that hadn’t been there before.

There’s no denying that my hands are full these days. Just navigating a double stroller through a crowded store is an ordeal. But looking back at my feelings of trepidation at the beginning of my second pregnancy, I feel a little silly now. I know that God only gives us what we can handle, and this was meant to happen. Now each of my children has a best friend for life and it’s a privilege to watch that bond grow.

You may also like: 

The Benefits of Having Kids Close Together that No One Ever Told Me

A Tribe Called “Siblings”

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!

Courtney Mack

My name is Courtney Mack and I am a stay-at-home with two toddlers. My first child was a preemie and my second was a wonderful surprise. They are both amazing gifts from God. My husband and I have been blessed. 

I Would Relive Every Moment of Sorrow Just To Hold You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, black-and-white photo

As I sat there rocking my child to sleep, I caught my mind wandering to the past. Not my recent past but my before . . . Before my son was born. Before my stressful pregnancy. Before my positive pregnancy test. Before . . . when I was praying every day for a miracle—six years back. Infertility is a messy journey that few (and many at the same time) are chosen to take. It’s lonely and heartbreaking and dark and will make you hate yourself at times. You feel helplessness and anger and despair. RELATED: This is Infertility Your relationships...

Keep Reading

When a Rainbow Baby Meets Mama

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
newborn baby on mother's chest

This week, one year ago, was one of the most difficult weeks of my life. Fast forward to exactly one year later, and here I am cuddling you, my sweet boy. I never truly understood what “rainbow baby” was all about, but I get it now. Sure, I knew what it meant and what it represented. I had read the articles and heard the stories. I had seen the meaningful images and understood the definition. But I never truly and deeply knew what happens when a rainbow baby meets their mama . . . until you. When a rainbow baby...

Keep Reading

How Do You Know it’s Really the Last Baby?

In: Baby, Motherhood
Selfie of pregnant woman standing next to child, color photo

I love being pregnant. I love everything about it. I am, however, one of the lucky ones who has been blessed with stress-free pregnancies. I get the typical morning sickness in the first trimester and the utter exhaustion in the third trimester, but other than that, it’s just pure enjoyment. I know not everyone has that experience, some have horrific pregnancies, but for me they have all been relatively easy. Trust me, I do know how fortunate I am. I’m currently pregnant with my fourth child. The little man is due this summer. From the very beginning when I first...

Keep Reading

It’s Hard on a Mother’s Heart To Watch Her Last Baby Grow Up

In: Baby, Motherhood
Child walking away in grass

My youngest son turned two a few months ago and still has a binky. He actually calls it his “mimi,” and he loves it so much. This morning I  looked at him with a mimi in his mouth and a mimi in his hand before I walked him into daycare and realized something. I am not ready to let go of the baby stage.  Getting rid of the binky would be the last step of the baby stage. He is already in a big boy bed. He doesn’t want to sit in a high chair for meals. He tries to...

Keep Reading

Some Babies Are Held Only in a Mother’s Heart

In: Baby, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Ultrasound of baby

“Whatever may come and whatever may pass, we have faith that our God will bring us to it and through it.” That’s what I wrote in a post after we announced our third pregnancy. It was the first pregnancy we went public with, but it was the third time we had two positive lines on a pregnancy test. You see, we had miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage. We went from surprised optimism to guarded yearning and finally stolen joy. The first baby was nothing more than a what-if before that test. It was a surprise to two people who loved...

Keep Reading

Because There Were Two

In: Baby, Motherhood
Sonogram image of two babies, black-and-white photo

Because there were two, there were gasps and tears and disbelief. There were spreadsheets developed before you even got home from the initial ultrasound appointment and fears and relentless morning sickness and books to read and endless worries and what-ifs. There were extra ultrasounds and extra fears, extra heartburn and floor plans for extra bedrooms, extra back pain and extra cribs, extra strollers and extra car seats. Because there were two, you will always be outnumbered. There are 20 fingers and 20 toes, too much laundry, and never enough hours. There were missing socks and missing pacifiers, dirty bottles and...

Keep Reading

Finding Wonder in the Waiting of Secondary Infertility

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding toddler son, color photo

Secondary infertility is hard. It’s an all-encompassing phenomenon that hyper focuses your brain on a single goal: another baby. The perplexity of secondary infertility is that you’ve done this before. You fertilized an embryo, carried the growing child within your womb, and delivered your bundle. It was the most challenging and yet seemingly effortless event of your life. Looking back, you wonder how you achieved such an amazing feat without assistance. Now, with Clearblue ovulation tests pouring from your pantry, period trackers abounding, basal body flow charts, and the pineapple (so much pineapple) you are unable to do the one...

Keep Reading

What I Wish Someone Would’ve Told Me About Gender Disappointment

In: Baby, Motherhood
Pregnant couple holding boy or girl sign

I was in the corner of my closet hiding behind my wedding dress and every formal I’ve ever owned. It was dark, stuffy, and felt like a good place to hide. I’d just found out I was having a boy, and I was devastated in ways I didn’t think possible and was trying to hide what I was feeling from the world around me.  What kind of mother isn’t completely enamored with her baby-to-be? Did this make me a monster? I should have been happy. After all, I was having a healthy baby. That’s like winning the lottery. Instead, I...

Keep Reading

The Conversation We’re Forgetting To Have About Birth

In: Baby, Marriage, Motherhood
Woman having a baby man holding her hand

My husband lay sleeping, his head resting on a fluffy, down-stuffed pillow in our hotel room. His bag was packed neatly, ESPN was playing quietly in the background, and he had unopened snacks at his disposal on the end table. Our hotel phone rang, and my husband groggily answered, ”Yes? Oh, sorry. Yeah, we’ll keep it down. Sorry.” He hung up and found me miserable and shaky in the shower, the thin shower curtain clinging to my legs.  “Steph, we got a noise complaint. You have to keep it down!” he whispered. This is not how I expected labor to...

Keep Reading

Bathtime Washes Away the Struggles of the Day

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler

It’s 7 p.m., which means bathtime at our house. I close the drain and fill the tub with warm water. I pump Johnson’s baby soap—the water and soap swirl together and form bubbles. The bubbles dance on top of the water, just waiting to cleanse my baby boy. I toss in your foam alphabet letters, Mr. Shark, and Mr. Penguin.  I place you in the bath and lather baby soap in my hands and give you a soapy mohawk. You are barely one and still my baby, but your four fat teeth make you look older. You chew on the...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime

Mother Holding Baby

5 Secrets

for New Moms

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Encouragement for the newborn stage