When I got pregnant with my second child I was overjoyed. We had been trying for several months and all I could think about was how ready we were to grow our family. Once we got the plus sign, it hit me.
You-know-what (and it rhymes with pit!) is about to get real.
Somehow going from one child to two children is serious business! We were slowly inching towards the point in raising kids where going out to restaurants is not just busy, but unbearable. How will life be with two? Will I be able to do it? Will I be able to do it without losing myself in the process?
What I didn’t realize was just how much love was about to enter our world. I was like the Grinch- when he had that revelation about The Whos, and my heart was about to grow ten times it’s size.
TEN TIMES FRIENDS!
Yes it happens just like people say, and yes, if you are a mama of one, about-to-be-two, it will happen to you too. Not only will your capacity to love grow, but you will also learn buckets about yourself as a mom.
ONE: The first can handle more than you think they can. It is common to worry about what your first child will think when another baby joins the mix. As moms we worry that they will feel replaced or struggle with split attention. But you know what amazed me? These little creatures can handle more than we give them credit for. Toddlers can be prepped for things coming their way (as they should), and they can absorb information much better than we expect. So breathe easy mama, your kiddo will be just fine and even more special, they will have a friend for life.
TWO: You CAN love another baby just as much as your first. But completely differently. Each child fills a different part within you, and you can’t imagine it at the time but it just makes sense when you meet them. I always say that Number One is my heart and Number Two is my soul. I connect with both of these boys on an intense but very different level. Each little one will occupy a very different and unique place in your heart. So get ready, because your heart is about to grow TEN TIMES!
THREE: Grace. This is my mom-mantra, my wife-mantra, my personal-mantra. Trust me friend, it should be your mantra too. I’m convinced that grace is the critical puzzle piece to happiness. Grace for yourself as a mom (yes, your older child will be watching a lot more TV as you navigate the first few weeks and months as a mom of two, and friend, that is OKAY); and, yes, you will have moments where you are overwhelmed and wondering what the heck you got yourself into (that doesn’t mean you made the wrong decision, by the way). Grace for our husbands who are also trying to find their place now as a dad of two, including a new and very tiny baby. And most importantly, grace for ourselves! When the little doubts creep into our minds and tell us we are not enough – we are. Grace. Let it in, my friends!
FOUR: I’m doing okay. Isn’t it funny how we have no idea what we are doing? I mean, this is something that we never realize growing up- we think our parents know it all! So when I became a mom, I never anticipated how insecure parenting could be. But the way my first responded to the baby with gentleness, love, excitement and maturity – I mean I was and am busting at the seams with pride for this kid! I’m all “where did he get this?” And sure, it’s part nature. But it is also my husband and me. Together, we are raising this child (scratch that…CHILDREN!) and I am proud of what we are seeing. It is in that moment, and the moment’s full of gentle, sloppy brother hugs and kisses, that I sigh with relief, and I know, we are doing okay.
And you are too friends. You will do more than okay, and you know what, so will your children.