It was December 2006. My husband was deployed but on his way back to us in Germany for his R&R. I had just had a sweet little baby boy. We named him Andrew but as soon as I saw him I knew he was my little Drew. Luckily my Mom was there with me. She was able to be with during the birth but after she went back to our apartment to take care of Daniel, our two-year old. The next day she brought him in to see me and the baby. That was the moment I really became the mom of more than one child. My “little” two-year old walked in the room, saw him and got the strangest look on his face. It was like he knew he was going to see me but just didn’t know how to take me holding a newborn. I looked at him wondering how he became a giant overnight. One of the weirdest things about having another baby is that your oldest child or children suddenly becomes really big. His hands look bigger, his feet look bigger, everything.
I admit I don’t remember too much about how he acted the first few weeks of Drew’s life. My husband got there when Drew was 3 days old and we had a wonderful two weeks of R&R together as a new family of four. Then he went back to Iraq. My Mom eventually went back to California and it was just me, a two-year old and a newborn. Two of them, one of me. It was overwhelming at first, especially when we needed to leave the house. I came up with a system. I would get ready first. I would make sure everyone was safe and content and I would get myself ready. Down to my make-up and shoes. Then I made sure the two-year old was completely ready. Then it was the baby’s turn. I tried not to think of everything I had to do to get them all ready, I just focused on one person at a time. This was even more helpful when we added a third baby in 2010. I know it seems like a simple thing, but it really helped keep me sane.
Someone sent me this poem when I was pregnant with baby #2. I try to pass it on to my friends with are having a second baby.
I walk along holding your 2-year-old hand, basking in the glow of our magical relationship. Suddenly I feel a kick from within, as if to remind me that our time alone is limited. And I wonder: how could I ever love another child as I love you?
Then he is born, and I watch you. I watch the pain you feel at having to share me as you’ve never shared me before.
I hear you telling me in your own way, “Please love only me”. And I hear myself telling you in mine, “I can’t”, knowing, in fact, that I never can again.
You cry. I cry with you. I almost see our new baby as an intruder on the precious relationship we once shared. A relationship we can never quite have again.
But then, barely noticing, I find myself attached to that new being, and feeling almost guilty. I’m afraid to let you see me enjoying him, as though I am betraying you.
But then I notice your resentment change, first to curiosity, then to protectiveness, finally to genuine affection.
More days pass, and we are settling into a new routine. The memory of days with just the two of us is fading fast.
But something else is replacing those wonderful times we shared, just we two. There are new times – only now, we are three. I watch the love between you grow, the way you look at each other, touch each other.
I watch how he adores you – as I have for so long. I see how excited you are by each of his new accomplishments. And I begin to realize that I haven’t taken something from you, I’ve given something to you. I notice that I am no longer afraid to share my love openly with both of you.
I find that my love for each of you is as different as you are, but equally strong. And my question is finally answered, to my amazement. Yes, I can love another child as much as I love you – only differently.
And although I realize that you may have to share my time, I now know you’ll never share my love. There’s enough of that for both of you – you each have your own supply.
I love you – both. And I thank you both for blessing my life.
When you become a parent, you go through a BIG change. When you add a second child to your family, you go through another change. It is always good. If you are reading this pregnant with your 2nd child or know you will add to your family again someday, have no fear. Adding another baby to the family is a blessing. It might be rough at first, it might take time to get use to it but it is worth it 🙂
And now my two oldest are 8 and almost 6 and the best of friends!