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Second Thoughts

On Having and Being a Second Child

Lynn Berger

Henry Holt and Co.

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ISBN10: 1250787866
ISBN13: 9781250787866


208 Pages



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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.


Praise for Second Thoughts

"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

"[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."Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads


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About the author

Lynn Berger

Lynn Berger is the Care Correspondent at Dutch journalism platform De Correspondent. She holds a PhD in Communications from Columbia University and lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Credit: Judith van Ijken