2nd Child Jitters
I am a now mother of two after being a mother of one for what seemed like an eternity.
I gave birth to my first daughter at 19 years old; I was a baby myself. With that being said, my daughter and I grew up together. My shining star, oldest child, is now eight years old, and she means the world to me despite the hardships I faced after her birth. Suffering from postpartum depression, and feeling as though I had been robbed of my youth, made enjoying motherhood rather difficult. At the young age of 19, I looked at my child as a responsibility rather than a blessing. In time, I climbed out of my rut and fell completely in love with my baby in an entirely new way; she became my motivation to be great. I dove, head first, into my career passion and became hungry for success, finding the success I had in only my wildest of dreams. I wanted to make my daughter proud; I wanted to prove my doubters and naysayers wrong.
For several years, what seemed like forever, actually, my life was all about my mini and me. Every move and decision I made, and every thought which crossed my mind, included her. We were a two-(wo)man crew, side by side, experiencing and enjoying life together; a mom and daughter, best friend duo.
To my surprise, when least expected, my soulmate entered my life and we fell deeply in love… and I had no desire to have another child, either. As an only child, the idea of only raising one child did not scare me at all. Well, God certainly has a sense of humor – He makes us realize what we may want now is not what we may want forever because a few years later I wound up pregnant and utterly overjoyed. In fact, this baby was planned! My partner and I prayed for this baby and the idea of completing our family. Reminiscing back to my first pregnancy, I remember not feeling this same sense of happiness.
I began to feel guilty.
I love my first child with my entire soul, and feel indescribably thankful she entered my life when she did because I believe she is the reason our lives are as blessed as they are today, yet I still felt guilty. I felt guilty over my excitement about baby number two. The patience I have now, as a stable adult, seemed unfair because I lacked those qualities with my first.
Countless questions swirled around in my mind.
Is it possible to love another child the same way I love my first?
Will my bond with my second child be the same as the bond with my first child? My first child, after all, stood by me during my hardest of times.
Will I to need to overcompensate to ensure my first child continues to know how important she is?
Is this fair for her? To have her share me?
Will she feel left out?
I started to beat myself up with thoughts and questions full of doubt and distrust.
Now I stand, with an 8-year-old and a 4-month-old daughter, answering my questions with responses full of conviction and positivity. Let’s just say I am a worry wart, and this experience has been a whirlwind of discovery, new firsts, and fun. My oldest child adores her sister and my youngest daughter adores being a little sister. When her big sister walks into the room, a giant smile covers her face and my heart instantly melts. As an old child, I never understood or experienced a sisterly bond. Well, ladies and gentleman, it is real. Very real.
My heart has shocked me with the ability to love both of my daughters, equally and uniquely, while feeling absolutely no guilt. I feel full and at peace knowing my girls will always have each other. This time around, I am patient and gentle with my parenting approaches. I find myself acting “old” – sitting at home with our new baby, playing together all day, while our other daughter is at school, whereas with my first I was in a completely different mind space. I am no longer in a place of guilt because I know I am in a different place in my life. I feel accomplished for my growth and positive introspection. I feel proud of my motherly strides. I feel proud to be raising an exceptionally brilliant 8-year-old daughter and wildly compassionate, joyous 4-month-old baby, too. I am living proof that everyone who worries about birthing a new child will most certainly have room in their heart to love their 2nd child just as much as their first.