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I remember the moment I said goodbye to my (at the time) only child like it was yesterday. The moment I went off to the hospital to make her a big sister.


I remember it clearly even though it was two years ago.

I remember it vividly even though I didn't properly document it with a photo.

I assume I'll remember it forever because it's etched onto my heart.

That night, at forty weeks, six days I went to bed at 10:00 p.m. with some cramping and woke up at midnight with real-life, this-is-happening contractions. In a semi-panic I shook my husband awake to tell him it was baby time.

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I wanted to labor at home for as long as I could, so I took a shower then sat in the bath for a bit. I tried to relax, I tried to practice the breathing techniques I learned in class. I tried to be quiet so I wouldn't wake my sleeping toddler.

I tried not to let my brain wander to where it had been most of the past few weeks—wondering and worrying about life with another child. A child who was not this one and only child I had been getting to know for the past two years. A child who I hadn't memorized every inch of yet, who's face I didn't know, smile I've never seen.

I woke my mother up—who was staying with us, awaiting her granddaughter's arrival—before I showered to let her know we were going to go to the hospital soon. There was a nervous, but excited, energy throughout the house.

All while my soon-to-be-formerly-only-child lay sleeping.

Unaware that her world was about to change forever.

Unfazed by the conflicting nervous-excited energies in the house.

Unafraid of the shift our family was about to go through. The change in dynamics, the attempt at juggling two children, a marriage, a career and a home. Instead, she had been focused almost entirely on how she'll get to hold our baby and play with our baby—the one we'd been non-stop talking about.

I got out of the bath, dried off and with the help of my husband, stepped into my clothes I so carefully laid out weeks before—preparing for this very moment.

My contractions picked up speed and we were about thirty minutes away from the hospital, so we decided it was go time. And I wanted to go—I couldn't wait to meet my baby girl.

But I also felt like I kind of wanted to stay. I kind of didn't want things to change. I kind of wanted to go into my daughter's room and pick her up and hug her and cry and hug her more and cry more.

Because I didn't want to leave my baby. The only baby I had ever known up until this point.

For two years it was just us—me and her. Best buds. Partners in crime.

But now, we were going to add to our crew. And I was truly ecstatic. But so very nervous. Nervous about the unknown. Nervous about whether I could handle it all. Nervous about sharing my heart with two children, not just one. Nervous if I could ever be enough for everyone.

It was the middle of the night, but I knew I had to go into my daughter's room to say goodbye before I left the house.

I tiptoed into her room and stood next to her crib. I watched her chest rise and fall with each breath, admiring her perfect little nose and pursed lips. I couldn't help but cry as I leaned over the side of the crib (partially because my belly was so big, and I was having some pretty intense contractions…) to kiss her softly on her head.

I whispered in her ear, “I'm going to meet your little sister now. I love you, my baby."

She stirred a little but didn't wake, and I tiptoed back to the door, gently closing it behind me.

We got to the hospital without much time to spare. My second child was ready to make her debut. I was in a hospital bed at 4:00 a.m. and my Lucy was born by 6:00 a.m.

The second I held her, my worries disappeared. She was amazing. A true miracle made just for our family. As I looked at her, I thought—Oh Maggie is going to just love you, little one.

And she did. Right away.

Two years later, she still does. They're the best of friends. Playmates, teammates, housemates. They argue over silly toys and they aren't always so nice to each other—but their love is strong and their loyalty is fierce. That's the definition of a sibling, isn't it?

When I was scared of how I could ever love someone the way I loved my (at the time) only child, my first born—I wish I could have told myself two things.

1. Throughout motherhood, you are going to learn—over and over—that you need to trust yourself.

And 2. Part of the magic of motherhood is this hidden love we have within us—deep, powerful, unconditional, endless love. We have love to give in every inch of our bodies. Every nook and cranny. So there has always been enough love for both babies—I just had to trust myself.

I may have said goodbye to life with an only child that night, but I said hello to a whole new chapter of motherhood. A chapter where I have watched my oldest daughter flourish as a big sister and where my second daughter has truly made her place known in our family.

Goodbyes can be hard. But hellos are so beautiful, aren't they?

Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:


Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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