It's not the bio I would have planned for myself as I quickly approach 40. One boy, one bump, no partner. But here we are. I've been a single mom for the last four years—since my son was born. And with no one else around, we've formed an intense bond. Ironically, it took getting pregnant again for me to realize quite how close we are.
In the past, I'd scoff at people who talked about their fears of loving another child as much as their firstborn; ridiculous I thought. Perhaps—being the last of four children myself—I didn't want to acknowledge that my own parents might have had similar thoughts before my arrival. Yet once I was pregnant again (fully planned), I found myself petrified.
How would I cope with a newborn again?
I faced so many struggles first time around, what if it was even worse with a second?
At first, these fears made me start to resent the intensity between my son and I. How would I find the space in my heart and my home for another baby-love? I didn't even have the space to breathe. It was a strange and unpleasant feeling. I was trying to make room for another child in my life—starting with my heart—and I was already failing.
The relationship with my son began to suffer as my patience took a nosedive. Negative voices started to raise their ugly heads.
How will I love another like I love my son?
Will I lose something with my son?
How will our bond survive the arrival of a newborn?
In a flash, I'd become one of them—those people who put their first kid first (at least until the next one is born). In the last four years, my son and I have done everything together: co-sleeping, co-screaming and co-elephant riding.
I used to wish my children were closer in age so they had the unique bond growing up together. Now, as I await the arrival of baby number two, I'm appreciating that it's my firstborn and I who have had the benefit of a unique bond instead.
In the last four years, I haven't had to allow space for another person, and neither has my son. I've been able to make my life center around my child, and he center around me—ignoring the pressure for a routine in the early days so I could socialize in the evenings with him. I still do this to an extent—traveling to see friends regardless of the time we get home. The decisions in our home have only ever had to consider him and me—and I get to choose which order we come in.
How will either of us make room for another?
Will the bed feel cramped?
Will the table seat us all?
Will the garden feel overcrowded?
Ultimately we will be fine because we have to be fine. Yet that doesn't stop me worrying about the transition to reach that point. It's an innocent word—transition—yet it belies the chaos it can contain. We've had transitions before, never for something as huge as a tiny newborn, yet they have—on occasions—been horrendous.
Yet despite these fears, as my due date gets closer, I find myself eager for everything to be ripped apart, ushering in a new start for us all. This baby will break things and remold them in ways so splendid, I can't yet comprehend. This is what the whole journey of pregnancy has been about.
We have had a lot of time alone together, my son and I. Now it is time to see how we can welcome someone else into our nest and share this love which flows from us, and between us. We will carve out space for this child because that space has always been there, waiting in the shadows for the right child to step into it.
Being a parent to two children will show me more ways in which I love my son, not less. My womb already weeps a little when I see him cuddling a friend's baby, I can barely imagine how beautiful it will be to see him do that with my child, his sibling.
The ultimate reward of all of this, a newborn—MY newborn—in my arms, is so exquisite that I barely dare to let myself imagine it, for fear it slips from my grips. Yet I know, when the time comes, regardless of the chaos this baby will bring, our family will be complete.