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Ode to My Second Child

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By Kimara - Posted on 25 October 2012

In parenting, sometimes irrational fears can get the best of us. Here's a story about one of my fears, and the 7 pounder that taught me a lesson worth learning!

I can only image what it must feel like to stand on the moon and look down (up, over?) at the Earth. You’ve always know the Earth existed, you’ve walked upon it every day of your life, but seeing it from this fresh perspective must give you a new and glorious understanding of the scope, complexities and beauty of the planet that we call home. I felt much the same way when I laid eyes upon my first born. Before holding my babe, I thought I knew what love was. I had loved many, been loved by many, and thought I understood the intricacies of love. But much like the Grinch that infamous Christmas morning, when I held her in my arms, my heart increased in size. Seriously, I believe that, because there is no way possible its previous size could accommodate the sheer girth and weight of the love that now consumed me.

Fast forward one year. For the past 365 days my love affair with my daughter evolved, changing from “love at first site” to a complex relationship that enlightened and challenged my sensibilities, intellect, and yes, at times my patience. This love somehow filled a void in me that I never even known existed. She completed me. This love, above all others, was a love worth dying for. Yes, I would literally throw my body on the live grenade to protect her. Love for my child, and her wellbeing, became my new working definition of love. I had now, figuratively, stood on the moon, and got a complete panoramic view of love.   

And, the story could stop here… the story of a young woman that learns about a “mother’s love” and lives happily ever after, but when Michelle was one year old, I conceived my second child. I was filled with joy. Soon, well in nine months, there would be a new being, precious and diminutive, to love. But something insidious happened during the early days of my pregnancy, as I went through the delightful sensation of morning sickness. Despite my desire to nurture, I often had to keep Michelle at arms’ length as I tried to contain the contents of my stomach. Now, I couldn’t pick her up or frolic until the nausea subsided. A thought entered my head, fleeting at first, but growing in size and stature as irrational thoughts of hormonally charged preggoes are prone to do… this second child, the one growing inside of me right now, was somehow going to come between me and my daughter!

I was filled with fear and shame. What if I didn’t love my second child as much as my first? And how could I? At times, my love for Michelle seemed almost all consuming. Of course, I still loved all those other people; my husband, my family, my friends, but this was a different kind of love; a possessive love, a protective love, a consuming love. I couldn’t possibly love another human being as completely.

I discretely broached the subject with experienced moms with multiple children, only to be waved off with, “I love all my children equally.” LIES, I thought… LIES… like telling someone that needs to have a root canal that it isn’t so bad. Of course it’s bad! But since the procedure is imminent, why add to their fears up front? Or, worse yet, maybe they weren’t lying, and there was something innately wrong with me. How was it possible that all these other women had this seemingly endless supply of love, and I had managed to use up all of mine on my first born?

The morning I went into labor, I remember dropping off my sleeping 21 month old at my mother’s. I rocked her in my arms, with tears running down my face. “Oh, I’m so sorry, sweetheart”, I sobbed, “Our lives will never be the same again. You are going to need to share Mommy’s love with someone else.” Secretly, tenderly, and so softly that the words didn’t even reach my ears, I whispered, “But don’t worry. I will always love you best.”

My labor and delivery was an oxymoron of emotions. On one hand, I wanted to deliver my child… to meet him, to know that he was healthy. On the other hand, I was panicking. I wondered if he would sense, from the very start, that I was a terrible mother, unable to love him as completely as he deserved. Eventually, a final push brought my son into the world, and he was placed on my chest… on my heart. My hands gently, protectively cradled his head and bottom.  He was so tiny, so perfect, so totally and completely mine. As his mouth rooted for a nipple, and he began to suckle, the unbelievable happened… I felt my heart expanding again! In that instant, I KNEW, totally and irrevocably, that I was capable of loving this babe, this second child, every bit as much as I did my first. I did not need to share the love I felt for my daughter with my son, he brought his own supply.

Looking back, I feel rather foolish for all of my fears and concerns. If my first born taught me how to love completely, then, in a blink of an eye, my second born taught me that a mother’s love knows no bounds. NEVER would I need to share my love for my daughter with my son (and eventually my second son). Each child comes equipped with their own supply, and, like all those wise mothers before me, I learned that I did, in fact, love them all equally. Adam, like Michelle, would provide his own joys and challenges, but my love for him, my second born, was as strong and consuming as the first. 

Of course, my daughter did need to learn to share me with her brother, and there were times I needed to split my time between them, but I was right about one thing… our lives were never the same again… they were better :)

(So as not to leave out my third born, Drew, not to worry, he taught me about love, too, especially about gracious love, but I’ll leave THAT for another post :)

At one time or another, all parents experience irrational fears about their ability to parent well. Fortunately, our children are very good teachers, and as long as we are attentive students, they have much to teach us :)

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I was almost in tears reading this, because I totally remember feeling the exact same way… how can I possibly love this second child nearly as much. And yet, he totally has my heart! … I do have to admit, it wasn’t quite as instantaneous, but it did happen and i do love him... And I am loving watching them grow! I have three right now, and i love them so much, I just hope that if/when i have more i will be able to give them each the time and love they need! They all need SO much... I hope that i can be an amazing mom for them, because i truly love them sooo much!

Hi Kimara,

Not sure if you remember me but I use to be a regular. Really missed it when you stopped writing. Welcome back! Hope some of the other early readers find their way back!

I have to admit when I was a new mom I was constantly afraid I was going to do something to scare my children forever. Time has taught me to chill, and to realize that children are quite forgiving even when we do mess up.

Again, welcome back and say hi to Michelle for me.

Love,

Lisa

HI Lisa,

Of course I remember you! You guys helped me cut my first teeth in the world of blogging :) I'm so glad you stopped by. Just curious, tho. I can't believe you've been stopping by for the past 2 years, what made you stop by now?

Uh... that's scar not scare although scare is probably accurate, too hehe

Where were you when I was pregnant with my second. We could have discussed this because I was feeling the same way! I talked to my mom about it since none of my friends even had kids. She told me "Nonsense". You love all your kids. Well of course we do, but I thought there was something wrong with me because I didn't think I could.

You did a lovely job of putting my then fears into words. Lovely rezd!

Thanks, Darleen. Let's face it, we all have different fears when it comes to raising our children. Some are founded and some are not BUT they are all REAL to use, and warrant support :)

I remember wanting a girl so bad when I was pregnant. Of course when someone asked I always said I didn;'t care as long as it was healthy. I chose not to find out the sex of the baby, but secretly stashed away some girl clothes because I was certain I would have a girl. Of course the unthinkable happend. I had a boy. I can remember my first feelings of disappointment when they announced You have a boy! Then much the same as you, when they handed him to me to hold, and I gazed at him, I thought to myself, Why in the world would I have wanted anything but a boy! I eventually had my girl, 4 children later, and although each time I wanted a girl, when I held my little men in my arms, I was hopelessly in love . The sex of the baby no longer matter.

This is a lovely, tender post. I've been reading through past articles and they always make me laugh out loud or shed a tear. Love your writing like I love your crafting. You are one talented lady!

Too funny. When I was pregnant with Michelle, I wanted a boy. I had a girl and couldn't image every wanting a boy. When I was pregnant with Adam, I enjoyed having a girl so much, I wanted another. I had a boy. Loved, loved, loved, having a boy. When I was pregnant with Drew, I really didn't care. I was thrilled to have another boy but I would have been thrilled to have a girl :)