Seeing those tiny little lines appear on a pregnancy test is admittedly one of the most life-changing moments a person can have. I will never forget where I was, what my husband and I were doing, and the moments that transpired immediately after I realized that our lives were about to change forever.
The next nine months were a whirlwind of exciting events: that first ultrasound, finding out our baby’s gender, the baby shower, preparing the nursery, and the earth-shattering moment the doctor placed my daughter on my chest and I looked into her big blue eyes for the first time.
But when I once again found myself staring at a positive pregnancy test just 10 short months later, the excitement and anticipation of another pregnancy was quickly replaced with a different, more prominent feeling: How could I ever, in a million years, love another baby as much as I loved my first?
It’s an all-too-common feeling parents everywhere have no-doubt faced, it’s now the subject if a viral of a poem written by Rasha Rushdy, of the blog The Tuna Chronicles, Rushdy’s admission reminds us that while we may not be able to give our second (or third, or seventh) children all of the time and energy we poured into our first, our hearts are capable of so much more than we ever imagined. And she reminds us that every child we add to our family isn’t simply an addition, “but a piece that was missing.”
My secondborn baby, I have to tell you the truth.
One day you’ll probably ask me
About why everything wasn’t
Bright, shiny and
And when you ask me, I will tell you the truth;
The truth about
The caffeine and soft cheese
My lack of a birth plan,
And weekly bump photos;
The fact that I didn’t wait With bated breath For every single milestone.
The difficult truths
Like the fact that You had to cry more
The fact that I,
Was often not the best version of myself.
But dear, sweet, secondborn,
Let me also tell you this.
The truth is,
Before you were born, I doubted the infinity of love
The moment they placed you in my arms,
Cocooned in blankets,
With your button nose and scrunched up lips,
Eyes firmly shut and so new to this world,
It’s as if I grew
A whole new heart
Just for you.
Her words are heartfelt and sincere, managing to articulate an aspect of parenthood so many of us face, but rarely talk about.
“I had a conversation with my mother and my younger sister (I’m the eldest of four ) about how different her baby and toddler years were to mine,” Rushy tells Babble. “It got me thinking about the questions that my then 1-year-old might ask me 20 or 30 years from now, and how I might answer her.”
That conversation is what ultimately inspired Rushdy to write the emotional poem in the first place, and share it with other parents who might relate. And they certainly have.
Rushdy’s poem, which was featured on Love What Matters on July 18, has been shared over 6,000 times. Her sentiments have hit home with parents everywhere who, despite their best efforts, also didn’t have the time to stress and worry about the minuscule details they did the first time around.
Her poem continues:
The truth is,
It was you who taught me
To really believe
That despite the guilt, the worry,
The urgent need to be everything to everyone,
That in fact, I am enough, as I am.
Yes, I was already someone’s mother
When you came into my life But you made me
A better one.
And so, the truth is,
When one day you start to wonder why
Things were different when you came along
Know this, my love: I never knew How much my heart could hold,
Until I held you;
How you weren’t an addition,
But a piece that was missing;
And how now that a year has passed,
After everything we’ve been through,
The love and joy You have brought
Makes me feel
Rushdy tells Babble that while she hoped her daughters would become buddies eventually, she’s in awe of “the way they seem to have known each other their entire lives, and how they seem to already have an exclusive connection that they don’t share with anyone else.”
If there is anything I have learned myself, after six years of parenthood and three amazing kids, it’s that the love we have for our children is a force that cannot be contained, halted, or divided. With each set of brand new blue eyes I have stared into, I have felt my heart expand as each one of my babies settled into the place I was unknowingly holding, just for them.