Second Thoughts: On Having and Being a Second Child (Paperback)
A lovely, searching meditation on second children—on whether to have one and what it means to be one—that seamlessly weaves pieces of art and culture on the topic with scientific research and personal anecdotes
The decision to have more than one child is at least as consuming as the decision to have a child at all—and yet for all the good books that deliberate on the choice of becoming a parent, there is far less writing on the choice of becoming a parent of two, and all the questions that arise during the process. Is there any truth in the idea of character informed by birth order, or the loneliness of only children? What is the reality of sibling rivalry? What might a parent to one, or two, come to regret?
Lynn Berger is here to fill that gap with the curious, reflective Second Thoughts. Grounded in autobiography and full of considered allusion, careful investigation and generous candor, it’s an exploration specifically dedicated to second children and their particular, too often forgotten lot. Warm and wise, intimate and universal at once, it’s a must read for parents-to-be and want-to-be, parents of one, parents of two or more, and second children themselves.
“[A] powerful examination of what it means to be the second child in the family and how parents treat siblings differently. This is perfect for any parent about to have another child or anyone interested in the effects of birth order.”
—GMA, “Escape into 34 books this April”
“[Berger] shares with readers her comprehensive research alongside her life experiences as a parent of two. From the history of sibling jealousy to ‘only child syndrome’ to the myths of birth order, Berger helps parents navigate the stresses of a growing family. . . . Second Thoughts guides readers through the daunting transition from one child to two with the heartening reminder that love is never finite.”
“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. . . . [Her] inquiry eloquently illuminates the complexities of second-time parenthood.”
"...[Lynn Berger's] inclination to show compassion toward herself and other parents, and to weigh the impact of these decisions on children, make her a companionable guide...Recommended for parents contemplating a second or third child, as well as readers interested in family dynamics."
"Beautifully written, deeply humane, a gem of a book."
—Rutger Bregman, New York Times bestselling author of Humankind: A Hopeful History
“A subtle and captivating tour of a topic we’ve strangely overlooked.”
—Sarah Knott, author of Mother Is a Verb: An Unconventional History
“Fresh, intricate, daring, and wise.”
—Susie Boyt, author of My Judy Garland Life