Monday, March 18, 2013

Loving a Second Child

It's not the same like the first. At the beginning.Oh I didn't say that just now did I? I can tell I am getting quite a few evil eyes right now. I know. Let me explain.

When you are pregnant with your second baby, you continuously hear about how your heart will grow. "Just wait.... it will happen." You will learn to love another baby {and many more down the road} just as much as your first. It's instant. Love at first sight.

And if I'm being completely honest here? I didn't believe it.

Elliana at this point {when I was pregnant} was my world. As she still is. She is my best friend. My little mini-me. The greatest love out there.Insert every other phrase you can think of to describe a mother's love for her first baby.

So naturally, I couldn't fathom, imagine, or even comprehend how it would be possible for me to look at another child the way I did her. I knew it was possible. I knew with time that I too would be saying the same thing to future mothers. But I just couldn't imagine.

And then Graham was born, and seeing him enter this world, I can say with true one hundred percent certainty that it brought the same magical and instantaneous love that I had felt when Elliana was born just two years prior.

But bringing him home? Making everything real? Having to adjust our schedules, our everyday lives, and then that instant feeling of... wow...this is real, and he? He is ours. That hit me. And I found myself saying....I feel this natural love for my son that I did with Elliana. The bond was there, the attachment, the feeling of being wanted and needed in return. It was there. But something I kept asking myself was... is the love as strong as it is for Elliana?

I was, in that moment, just trying to remember how I felt two years ago when I brought her home. Versus now.

You see, when you bring home your first child, not only do you feel that natural mothering love for them, but there is something more. This fear of losing them. The fear of doing something wrong. The fear of missing a single beat or smile that they make. You constantly check and double check yourself. You worry about their every percentile and every cry. Asking questions. Needing answers. You just have this natural fear of losing this precious gift of life that you have yearned for so long.

And then baby number two comes. And well... you no longer have these fears. You are more confident. Time goes by much faster.  You don't ask as many questions. You don't search for as many answers. You don't worry about every percentile. And those cries? You've already got it all figured out.

Next thing you know... you're just going through the "Steps." You catch yourself saying "been there, done that." And while you are embracing every newborn snuggle, every coo and ahh, their sweet scent and their soft kissable lips... you look beside you to see this other little human that needs you just as much as the newborn. If not more. They wrap their arms around you. They yearn for you. They tell you how much they love you. They giggle at you. The way they say "mama" melts your heart. A heart that in the moment you feel is in the palm of their hands.

And then you look back at your son, and he smiles at you. And that first smile does you in. You text  the husband, you stick the phone in their face for 20 minutes straight trying to get them to do it again just so you can catch it on camera, and of course the video camera comes out and your obnoxious voice is all over it, just so you can get a glimpse of this magical moment to play over and over again. And you laugh. And you clap. And tears roll down your face. And just like that... it happens. 

That moment. When that happens? Is the greatest moment ever. I can tell you this, when he first smiled at me... I knew, right then, that my love for these two children was equal. Because looking at him brought back every memory of Elliana as a baby. Looking at him reminded me everything we have to look forward to. All those firsts. Sitting up. Crawling. Walking. The first time they grab your face and kiss you. Their first words. Their personalities unfolding right before your eyes. Day after day, month after month.

You have all that to look forward to. Knowing all this? Knowing how great those moments are? Remembering the joy your heart felt as you watched your baby grow?

That. That is love.

What this has taught me is that you learn to love your babies more than just the natural mother love. You grow a connection with them. You learn about one another. You figure out what makes them smile, giggle, what they enjoy, what they don't enjoy, and how the two of you can make memories together. This all takes time.

And so I understand all those letters that I would write to Elliana and say... "how is it possible to love you more." Because it is. Because your heart never stops growing for these babies... and the more time you spend with them, the more memories you make, the more kisses and I love yous... the more your love grows.

So it is true. What they say about loving another baby. Your love does grow. Your heart does expand. As impossible as it may sound, I found this to be true, you learn it's possible to love again, and love that much more.

Just give it time.



    I SO remember, sitting there with my husband after our second child was born, and bawling my eyes out...feeling SO BAD that our first child wasn't our sole identity. Our sole attention. I felt GUILTY for a bit at first, so guilty about my first born not being the center of attention...I wondered early on if it was worth it to have a second...

    well...obviously, after a month at most, I KNEW it was worth it. Today, three years later, I couldn't IMAGINE not having two kids. I couldn't IMAGINE my first born not having a brother. It's unimaginable to me but I know what you mean, during those first few's a shock to the system!!

    alas, it all works out in the end :)

    1. You both are such amazing, fun, funny moms!

      Becky, this post brought tears to my eyes for so many reasons!! Thank you so much for writing this post!! :)

  2. I've just had my first, but I know exactly what you mean about their first smile and everything! My little boy is a month and a half, and it just MELTS MY HEART every time he gives a little inch of a smile. I love it. :)

  3. This is such a wonderful share! I was so right there just two years ago! My boys are 11 years apart and just the talk of having a second child put me into shock. My entire pregnancy was spent worrying that I wouldn't be able to love enough, care enough and give enough to a second born. But INSTANTLY it all came together by hearing his first cry. I have the sweetest of memories with both my boys and a love for them that can't even be measured!

  4. This was so sweet! I also had crazy dreams while I was pregnant of not having enough love. The night before I went into the hospital my husband and I both cried over what our oldest would be losing.
    We were such fools! Ha

  5. My dad always said "love doesn't divide it multiplies." How true

  6. Yet another post of yours that is making me teary eyed before 7:30am! The heart's infinite ability to love is amazing.

  7. That's one of my biggest fears about one day having a second child is Levi, my son. not feeling special or loved and it is just so hard for me to imagine loving another as much as him!

  8. Thank you so much for this!! I have been think a lot about this. My pregnancy is almost over and my son will be here before you know it and I've been thinking a lot about this. It's hard to imagine loving another baby as much as I love Giuliana!!! I really needed to read this. ❤

  9. I truly hope I can reread this post in 5-10 years and have it REALLY hit me. :)

    Love your heart, Becky.

  10. My Eli was almost 5 when my Emma arrived. Before she was born this truly was my biggest fear. I knew other people did it, but i was certain I couldn't. Boy was I happy when I heard her sweet cry, held her in my arms, stared into her big eyes, and felt that instant connection. I then knew that I would love her just as I love my Eli. Now we have baby Abe and that fear wasn't there this time. It's so wonderful to be a Momma and to love so deeply! I don't think words can truly describe that love that we have. :)

  11. Becky, I really needed this today. I'm about 11 weeks out from having baby #2 and baby #1 is almost 3 1/2. I've been so worried about this. I love my little boy so much I just cannot imagine loving this girl that's coming as much. So thank you. Even as the tears stream down my face, I know that you're right, I'll just have to give it time.

  12. This is so refreshing to read! This is SUCH a fear of mine. I seriously struggle with the thought of having another someday. I just don't see how it's possible to have that same love again!

  13. Becky- you are 100% right!! Your heart totally doubles with love! I always said when I was pregnant with Kelsey that "my heart will double with love even though my attention to two may be tough" because I can't imagine loving anything more than my girls (and Andrew)but it is a bit challenging when both girls want my attention and there is only one of me- you are doing such an amazing job and these pics of E & G are amazing! Absolutely priceless! xoxox

  14. I have a 15 month old son and we'll be planning for number 2 in the next year. I constantly think to myself how in the world could I love another baby as much as I love my sweet August. This post was just lovely :) Thanks for sharing!

  15. So true!!

  16. Thanks for the great post! I am a couple months away from having my second born and all these thoughts that you talked about have crossed my mind. I have thought "how can I love the same" but then I think that this baby will have more people to love him or her. Exactly what I needed to read today!

  17. This is beautiful. Absolutely "now I'm crying at work" beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  18. Love this post and found at such a perfect time! I am currently 10 weeks pregnant and just anxious to see what life will be like with two little ones.

    I'm a new follower!


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