I keep writing about how I can’t write anymore and I’ve been trying to read more and write less to get the whole writing thing going again and you know what? It might be working. Maybe.
I recently heardl from an old friend who is pregnant with her second baby. She’s just days away from giving birth and she’s feeling what most of us were probably going through right before we added another member to our brood– “WTF was I thinking and WTH am I going to do?????”
I’ve been mulling my response to this email over and I finally came up with some words. Shocking, I know.
Sometimes writing just sneaks up on you like that.
Here it goes:
On having a second baby.
I have some good news and some bad news.
Bad news first: you are right. Your first child’s life will never be the same.
She is an only child, the light of her parent’s life, the center of the universe and to cut this precious time off feels gut-wrenching. Her world is about to get rocked, turned upside down, and she will never know what hit her. All these feelings you have, the guilt, sadness, and anxiety, are totally normal. Those first few years with a single child are truly magical and you have to grieve the loss of this phase of life.
However, there is some good news: she will never remember how it all went down.
While it feels like you are taking away something from your firstborn, you are actually giving her a gift. The gift of a sibling, her best friend, her partner in crime, her first love, her (sometimes) worst enemy, her confidant, her teacher, her sister. As you know, the bonds between siblings are unbreakable and while her life will be forever changed by the birth of her sister, she will be better for it. And so will you.
As for the issue of loving a second child as much as the first, well……. A mother’s love is a funny thing. It grows and flows and swells and takes on new shapes and forms without ever dividing or waning. Are there times I love one child more than another? Yes. But that can change from child to child, minute by minute, so it’s not even worth measuring.
Sometimes the love I have for my children is so overpowering it feels like a blanket smothering flames. Like it’s going to grab ahold of me and choke me until I succumb to its power. Other times, the love is hiding, cowering in a corner, wondering if it’s safe to emerge from the shadows.
There is no doubt in my mind that the love you will have for your second baby will be just as fierce and absolute as it is for your first. There are times I look at both of my children and my heart swells with so much pride and joy and awe that it’s a wonder I ever managed to live without them. And then one kicks the other in the shins and I get yanked back into the reality of chocolate milk splattered walls, piles of laundry and dirty fingernails. For better and worse, I suppose all the moments that define motherhood are fleeting.
So, my friend, in these last few weeks, here is what I recommend you do:
Relish in these last moments you have with your firstborn: ignore the dishes, play games on the floor, go on walks, take naps together, steal sticky kisses, eat ice cream for dinner, stay up late watching cartoons, hold hands, read books, make pillow forts, finger paint outside, stop worrying, laugh often, and cry when you need to.
You are in for a wild ride, so hold on tight and keep your eyes open because it’s going to be over before you know it. And believe it or not, you will look back on this time with longing because it only gets more complicated from here. Except there will be more sleep, so at least there’s that.
Good luck with everything and I can’t wait to hear how it all goes.
How did you feel right before your second child was born?