Before my second child was born, I was a swirl of emotions. After suffering three previous miscarriages, I was impatient and eager to meet our little rainbow baby. But I was also scared. There were a lot of question marks and fears. My transition to motherhood had been very rocky and I was afraid that the transition to being a mom of two would be just as hard (or harder).

But being a mom of two was not what I expected. For one, the adjustment to being a mom of two was far easier than I had anticipated. But there were other reasons as well.

Here's what I wish I had known about having a second child:

1. Your second child may be very different than your first

There are plenty of things that might be the same. Babies cry. Babies need to be fed—often. Babies are a lot of work. But my second baby was shockingly different from my first right from the start. My firstborn was born just a couple days before my due date. My second was born almost three weeks early. Labor with my first baby was long and painful, requiring forceps and an episiotomy. Labor with my second lasted just a few minutes. My first son slept little; my second slept for long stretches of time. My first baby was independent and delighted in the attention of others; my second had major separation anxiety. 

I knew my children would be different, but I didn't realize just how different they would be. While it’s good to be prepared, you might want to hold a loose grip on any expectations and anticipate more than a few surprises.

Related: To the new mama of two: My one piece of advice 

2. Even if your second is very different than your first, your instincts are sharper

That inner mom voice isn’t whispering anymore; it’s talking loud and clear now. You’ve learned so much more with your first child than you think. Though things will be different with your second—perhaps very different—your instincts are well-honed and finely tuned. Listen to them.

3. Your first child will seem even older than they are

My firstborn was three years old when my second son was born. But he seemed like a giant in comparison to my baby. I sometimes caught myself expecting more of my firstborn, thinking that he was capable of things that he wasn’t and forgetting that he was still only a toddler. I would expect him to behave better and grew frustrated with his tantrums and wildness. But in reality, he was behaving in a completely age-appropriate way. It was I who needed to check myself and my expectations for him. 

Related: I’m tired of feeling pressured to have my child meet milestones

4. You might miss being pregnant—especially if this is likely to be your last baby

After my first son was born, I delighted in not being pregnant anymore. I slept on my stomach and enjoyed being able to bend over to tie my shoes. Being pregnant again seemed like something to endure, not enjoy. But after my second child was born, knowing that he was likely my last, I was surprised to realize that I kind of missed being pregnant. Had I known that I would have felt that way, I probably would have spent more time appreciating being pregnant than I did.

5. You are capable and ready

Like most moms, I worried about whether I was capable of caring for a toddler and a baby. I worried that, with my attention divided, I wouldn’t be a good mom to either of my kids. The transition to being a mom of two was hard, for sure, but it was also easier than I expected. In fact, it was even easier than becoming a mom of one. I was surprised to know that I felt more capable, confident, and ready to handle the chaos of newborn life than I was the first time. And you will be too.

Related: Dear new mama of two: It gets easier before you even realize it. Believe me. 

6. The love you feel for your children grows

You might worry about your time, attention, energy and maybe even your love being divided between your two babies. But something amazing happens when your family grows—your love grows too. You’ll watch your firstborn hold the hand of your new baby and your heart will practically explode. Over the years, you’ll see this time and time again and that feeling will never fade. Sure, your time and attention might be divided, but your love multiplies.