cover image Second Thoughts: On Having and Being a Second Child

Second Thoughts: On Having and Being a Second Child

Lynn Berger. Holt, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-250-78786-6

Journalist Berger debuts with a gorgeous rumination that combines her thoughts on becoming a mother for the second time with insight into the development of siblings. She considers adages about having a second child, particularly her uneasiness with the notion that “you have your second child for your first,” as well as her own childhood experiences of jealousy toward her younger sister and concerns about falling into the trap of using an easy first child as motivation to have a second. Berger also digs into child development research to debunk myths about only children (their “cognitive, emotional, and social development” is “hardly distinguishable” from other children), sibling rivalry (not normally driven by desire for one’s parents’ attention), and the effects of birth order. Staying away from specific parenting advice, Berger instead mixes her own experience of a second pregnancy (“I spent less time observing his stirrings than I had with his sister. The reason, of course, was that self-same sister”) with ruminations on the effects of repetition (such as her intermingling memories of the two births) and the unfair but unavoidable impulse to compare siblings. Berger’s thoughtful inquiry eloquently illuminates the complexities of second-time parenthood. [em](Apr.) [/em]