My friend Diana is the baby captain in our group of girlfriends. She was the first to have one baby and she is the first to have two babies. She has been my guru, my shoulder and my humorist throughout my pregnancy and throughout Rad’s first year. I love watching her as a mother. She is beautiful at it.
I have been excited to collaborate with Diana on posts for this blog (especially when it comes to crafty ideas – this girl has mad skill in that department) but we are going to start with a post that was Diana’s idea a couple of weeks back – something she has had on her mind for a little while. One of Diana’s greatest characteristics is her poignant honesty. She shares so candidly and purposely. I am thankful for her openness as she shares a story about sharing her love between her two babies, a concern many first-time parents vocalize – How can I love another so infinitely when all the pieces of my heart are already taken up? Ultimately there is no clear answer to this question but in acknowledging it, Diana finds an eloquent unraveling of the emotions caught up in it.
A close friend of mine recently told me she was expecting her second child and she wondered how I did it with two kids. My reply was, “You just do.” I knew she had no idea how this next child would affect her emotionally. And, how this child could make her feel the worst sense of guilt. I tried to explain it to her, and for the first time it all came clear to me. It’s ok to love my children in different ways – after all, they are completely different little people.
I truly feel that in being a mom (whether you have one or more children,) you will always bear a feeling of guilt. Guilty that you are being too selfish, guilty that you are not doing certain things with your child that other moms are doing with theirs, guilty that you didn’t do your best as a mom that day.
But no one ever prepared me for the guilt I would feel with my second child. When my daughter – my first child – was born, she changed my world. She made me a mom and gave me the opportunity to love deeper than I knew I was capable of.
When my son was born, I expected that same sense of bliss that I had felt with my first. But, it wasn’t there. And I felt guilty. It wasn’t that I loved him any less, because he makes my heart feel like it is going to explode numerous times a day. Maybe instead, it was because I was too busy with a toddler to feel it. I don’t know.
What I do know is that I wanted nothing more than for my daughter to not feel left out and to accept this new baby. I felt guilty that she was no longer my everything and that she had to share me. I also felt guilty that we never got our last few days together because her brother came 10 days early. Then I was reminded by a friend that I had given my daughter the best gift a mom can give – a sibling.
And yet, it didn’t stop me from feeling guilty – the guilt just manifested itself in a different way. Because I was becoming aware of all the wonderful little things that I did for and with my daughter that I was not able to do with my son. Mom and tot swimming, music discovery class, numerous sensory and craft activities. Of course, life is so much easier with just one and you have time to do all of those things – one little person to entertain, one little person to make meals for and clean up after. I sometimes find myself getting annoyed that there is this extra work for me to do and less time to do it in. And then, there is that guilty feeling settling right back in.
I am sure my son will never know just how guilty I feel for not having that same love. My love is just a totally different kind of love. It’s as strong and as deep as it is for my daughter, just in a different way.
And so, I made a promise to myself to do the little things with him. To take the time to make him feel special in our own little way. I make sure to take him on my lap and read to him, snuggle him a little longer at night, make sure I hug him when I take him out of his high chair and constantly tell him I love him and how special he is.
After all, no little man will ever love me like he does and I am the one who will teach him how to love others. He rocks my world in so many wonderful ways and I feel so honoured to be his mommy.