Second ThoughtsOn Having and Being a Second Child

‘Ask a person why they want to have a child, and the answer is likely to involve a nebulous tangle of deep longing, curiosity, and something to do with “nature.” Ask why they want another, and the response tends to be rather more straightforward. “You have your first child for yourself,” I was told when big and round and heavily pregnant, “but you have the second one for the first.”’

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?

Second Thoughts is an extended reflection on second children – on whether to have one and what it means to be one – that weaves pieces of art and culture on the topic with scientific research and personal experiences.

Out with Henry Holt on April 20, 2021

ISBN: 9781250787866
Hardcover, 208 pages

Out with September Publishing on April 15th, 2021

ISBN: 9781912836383
Paperback, 224 pages

A subtle and captivating tour of a topic we’ve strangely overlooked.

Sarah Knott, author of Mother Is a Verb: An Unconventional History

Beautifully written, deeply humane, a gem of a book

Rutger Bregman, author of Humankind: A Hopeful History

Fresh, intricate, daring, and wise

Susie Boyt, author of My Judy Garland Life

A gorgeous rumination...Berger’s thoughtful inquiry eloquently illuminates the complexities of second-time parenthood.

Publisher’s Weekly

Second Thoughts guides readers through the daunting transition from one child to two with the heartening reminder that love is never finite.