She, like probably every mom on the cusp of her second baby’s birth, is super worried about how having a second baby will change her relationship with the first. It’s so hard to even fathom how you’ll feel about baby #2 before the birth, so it makes sense that the upcoming change with #1 would be occupying your mind. I told her I was way sadder about it before my second was born than after- once she was here, I was so excited and occupied that the bittersweet feeling quickly subsided. Ceridwen tells me she didn’t feel sad before, but after. And that in a way, feeling the sadness then helped her bond with her oldest because they were sharing the sense of loss. Whenever it happens, mourning for the singular love you feel for an only child is an inevitable (if painful!) part of the process of having more than one.
Since writing my post last night and reading the super-poignant piece she wrote on her own blog, I’ve been poking around online for more on the subject of expanding your family. Ceridwen pointed out that Lisa Belkin’s Motherlode column focused on this just a few days ago…
The column was a question from a mom on the verge of a second baby’s birth. Here’s what Belkin recalled from when she was in the same situation:
I remember, with Polaroid clarity, the moment I said goodbye to Evan as I left for the hospital to deliver Alex. I had the overwhelming feeling that I was about to ruin his life. I tried to remember what I try to remember in all tough parenting situations — that I am giving them something, not taking it away. When I didn’t race to their side with each whimper in the middle of the night I was giving them to ability to soothe themselves. When I went away on business trips, I was giving them the secure knowledge that life with just Daddy was totally cool, and that Mommy always comes back. And when I brought home a baby brother, I gave each of them proof that neither of them were alone in the world, and that neither was the center of the universe.
Then there are dozens of comments from readers with their own reflections and ideas about how to weather the transition. It seems like in many ways the mom has as hard a time adjusting as the kid. But I guess that’s no surprise!
My sister got some great advice from friends after posting about her feelings, but some of the suggestions might have been inadvertently a bit anxiety producing. For example, the sweet idea of supplying a present “from the baby” to the oldest child and vice-versa is lovely. But maybe not so helpful when it’s too late for mom to get to the store before she’s due at the hospital…Luckily, this particular mom’s sister is in town and more than willing to run to the store to stock up for the baby-toddler gift exchange!