Becoming a mother was something I’ve always known that I wanted to do. Becoming a mother also made me realize just how much I’ve never really cared for children. Does that seem strange? Sound strange? Surely there are other women, or men, who can relate. I am the oldest of my siblings. My sister is five years and my brother is eight years younger than me. I’ve always felt/had maternal instincts toward/for them. It was and is my instinct to take care of them. To look out for them. To nurture them. To warn them. To help them. I mean. I can still remember the day my parents told me that they were going to give me a baby sister. Yes. Give me a baby sister. I thought they had her for me. But, as far as other children were concerned, I could have always cared less. I never babysat. I never felt the urge to approach or comment on other people’s babies. I just, was never interested.
I was twenty-eight years old when I had my son, and he was literally the first infant I’d ever held. His diaper was the first diaper I’d ever changed. He was the first baby I ever fed a bottle to. He was the first child I ever rocked to sleep. He was my first. My absolute first. Once I had him in my arms – in my life – my love for him seemed all consuming. I don’t believe in “one true loves” or “soul mates” or “love at first sight” …. But becoming a mother. Seeing my baby boy for the first time. A parent’s love for their child. Or at least, my love for my child, was the closest thing I’d ever experienced to all those trite love cliches.
Don’t get me wrong – becoming his mom was not always easy. There were too many sleepless nights to count. Many tears of frustration were shed between the two of us. However, I was completely and utterly enamored by him. I actually would tell him that I only needed him. That he would be my only child. And I meant it all. I could not imagine having another child. I did not want another child. I definitely did not think or envision that I would ever have another child.
Boy, was I so wrong.
A few months before Cooper would turn two years old, I found out that I was pregnant with Sophie. That was a really shocking and unexpected moment for me. Even though Cooper was also not a planned pregnancy, as I said, I had been expecting that pregnancy my entire life.
I love my baby girl so so much. I cannot not – would not – imagine life without her. I am so fortunate to be her mother. I am so lucky to call her mine.
But – When One child becomes Two …. For me at least – your heart breaks a little for your first. Your second baby will never know the difference. Her life will always be one that has included your first child. But your first. He’ll know. It doesn’t matter that he’s only just barely not a baby himself. He will know. And that. That broke my heart.
Anyone that I ever asked, or anyone that volunteered the information, said that going from one child to two was the hardest transition of all. I completely agree.
It is hard to know how to split your time between the two. There are so many times when they both need you at the same time. What do you do? What do you say? I once read a blog post from a mother who was feeling all these same feelings. And she said that the best piece of advice she’d gotten and implemented, was to remember that your first. Your elder child. He or she would be more able to discern that you were putting him or her second to your baby. So, maybe in the beginning – especially when your baby is a newborn – you tend to that toddler’s needs first. You reinforce that you are still there for them. That you still love them even more now. That you still treasure your time with them. That you are still available. I think that is fantastic advice. I’m not saying neglect your baby. But try to fight that instinct to put your newest addition’s needs before your first. Yes, a newborn is fragile. Yes, a newborn baby cannot do anything for themselves. BUT your newborn will not die if you let them cry a few minutes longer while you fix your toddler his or her sippy cup of chocolate milk. Or help your toddler search for the green truck instead of the red one. And, I would also add to remember to incorporate all the shared moments you can. Let that toddler sit on your lap while you feed your newborn. When I would pick up my children after work, I would try to be intentional about greeting them as a unit. That may seem silly, but I just wanted them to know that I saw them both – at the same time.
Being a mother – a parent – is such a messy and complicated job. Especially, when you have more than one little munchkin to call yours. But it is also so beautiful. I am grateful that I…that Cooper.. Have Sophie in our lives. I don’t know if he’ll remember the time when it was just him. I don’t know if he’ll remember all the angst he demonstrated toward her. I’m sure he won’t remember that I had to lock her in the room while she slept – for fear that he may topple her out of her bassinet. I don’t know if he will recall the fear in my voice as I had to scoop her up just before he landed his hands on her. He was only two. And this strange little creature was stealing his Mommy from him. I don’t blame him. I don’t judge him. I would never ever shame him. He was acting in love. He was fighting (sometimes physically) for his love. For his Mommy.
I’ve said this a million times before – and I’ll say it a million more: Love is a choice and an Action. Cooper loves his sister now. I’m pretty sure he didn’t at first. But they are the perfect pair. I am so thankful that I have two babies to love. Two babies to watch grow. Two babies to call my own.
Please, leave us a comment. Share you own stories of growing your family – we love hearing from y’all!
Until next time,