It has been three weeks since we welcomed our second bundle of joy into our home. It is amazing that despite all of the fears of not being able to love another child, that you really just do. Everyone told me that I would. I was seriously scared that I would not. I talked to many moms of multiple children about it to assure myself that they do and that I would. And I do. I can honestly say that today however, it is definitely a little bit different from the love I feel for our first son. Not in a good way, or a bad way, or even a way I would expect other people to understand. It just feels different. But I do think that I know why.
Everyone always asked me if I thought he was prepared to be a big brother, and my answer almost always was no. We talked to him about the baby. We read books with him about being a big brother. We talked to him about breastfeeding, and that mommy’s boobies were going to feed the baby milk. We constantly talked to him about mommy’s belly, and had him touch it and give it kisses. We talked to him about helping with the new baby. We even told him the baby’s name, which we barely told anyone else. Despite all of the so-called baby preparation my answer always remained the same: is he prepared? Hell no. His world is about to be rocked.
Interestingly, the complete opposite occurred. We are in awe at what a GREAT big brother he has been to his little brother. Sure, when he visited in the hospital he was not overly interested in the baby. But there were fun things at the hospital, like pigeons in the parking lot, balloons in our hospital room, and medical gloves that daddy could blow up into balloons for him to throw and chase around our room. Let’s not forget that he had been staying with his grandparents since we had been in the hospital, and Nonno (grandfather) is his absolute best friend besides daddy. All things were great in his world, and becoming a big brother was just another great thing for him.
He is seriously amazing with the baby. He gets genuinely concerned when he cries. He loves when the baby looks at him, or touches him. He loves helping mommy carry him from the swing to the couch. He loves to lay on the floor or bed next to him and cradle the baby’s head. He loves to kiss him. He always wants to make sure that he is okay, and wants to know what he is looking at. He really is the ideal awesome big brother.
No one told me my toddler would hate me with the birth of our second child. Why didn’t anyone tell me this!? I came home a raging hormonal mess, to my first little love who honestly wanted nothing to do with me. This is probably one of the most heartbreaking situations I have ever experienced. I do not think that anyone can really explain the love they feel for their child. It is different from even your greatest romantic love. It is a connection and a high that only you experience with this little person. And then when they will not come near you, will not let you read them their bedtime stories, give them food, give them a hug or a kiss, and actually run from you when you are trying to talk to them. THAT is heartbreaking. This whole time preparing for birth I thought my toddler would hate the baby, but it was me he was in fact mad at and having the hardest time transitioning with. It makes perfect sense.
My attention, which was always just his, is now being shared with the baby. Of course he is upset by that. Mommy is unable to put chocolate milk in three different cups at his request. Unable to lay in bed just us and watch videos. Unable to go outside and play at any given moment. Unable to paint at the table whenever he wants. Unable to pick him up and carry him around (also because I ended up having a C-section). He is resilient, and he is adjusting, and so am I. But boy, the heartache and tears and guilt I have felt surrounding this have prevented me from loving my second fully and completely. I know some of you reading this may think that sounds insane, but I bet there are more of you that also know what I mean.
So, to anyone who is expecting their second or third or whatever, know that your first child may have a really hard time with accepting a baby into the house. And know that they may have an even harder time dealing with YOU and the changes that occur in your relationship. Day-by-day our relationship is getting back to the new normal, but I would be lying if I said there was not some guilt I still feel for bringing someone else into the house.