A few months ago my 2-year-old daughter and I were driving home from dinner with friends, and as we pulled onto our street a lump formed in my throat and big tears began to stream down my face—I realized that tonight was our last night ever just the two of us to do my daughter’s bedtime routine.
Out-of-town relatives were set to arrive, my husband would soon be home from his deployment, and we’d be having our second baby.
The intense emotion hit me out of nowhere.
Am I even ready for a second baby?
I felt guilty about how much was about to change for my daughter. I had no idea how to rationalize or sort through this sudden rush of feelings.
I was already so in love with this healthy, unborn baby girl kicking inside my belly, but I felt like I was mourning the future loss of my season as a mama of one.
Fast forward three months later to today as I once again found myself with a lump in my throat, but this time it was the result of watching my 2.5 year old daughter love on my infant while she sat in her bouncer seat. I had stepped out of the room for a moment, and when I rounded the corner to return I found my older daughter crouched down by my baby wiping spit-up off of her face and making the sweetest baby-talk noises.
My baby was locked on my older girl’s eyes, and the lump in my throat formed before I knew it. I smiled and recalled my emotions from a few months back—I couldn’t begin to imagine then how full my heart would feel watching the two tiny loves of my life interact with each other. It sometimes takes my breath away.
I was so worried then about the unknown and making my daughter “share” my husband and me and the life we’d all built together, but we didn’t know what we didn’t know, and that’s that I had nothing to worry about.
Mama, you’re ready. I know it.
To the mama reading this whose heart is currently twisted about soon going from parenting one kid to two…
It really is true that you’ll never have to split your love between your babies, and it really is true that your love will multiply tenfold as you all get to know your newest little love.
Right now you may catch yourself wondering how it’s possible that you could ever intensely love another little person as much as you love your first (I couldn’t begin to fathom it), but just wait, mama. It’s beautiful and perfect and it happens so effortlessly.
You wonder and worry about how your oldest will respond to sharing your attention, but try to remember that the adjustment period, regardless of how long or short it is, is just a brief season in the grand scheme. (Plus, your oldest may surprise you with how well and how quickly he or she adjusts.)
Like me, you may find yourself in this bizarre phase of mourning all the things you love about this current season of life as a mom to one. You feel like you’ve all finally found a routine that’s comfortable and easy and enjoyable just in time to shake things back up again.
You’ll surely find that “comfortable” routine again eventually, and this time you’ll have the privilege of having another little soul to love and raise and enjoy. I used to watch other moms who had two or more children and wondered if they could have ever at some point empathized with my roller coaster of emotions about adding another baby. I would watch as these mamas so effortlessly moved through the grocery store or a restaurant or the park with two or more little ones, and I would hope (and still hope) that one day I would find my groove just like her. I hoped that someday I would be able to embrace the role of juggling multiple kids as naturally as she seemed to do.
A new season is beginning
If your heart is twisted and you’re finding yourself taken back by your roller coaster of emotions about having your next baby—know that your feelings are relatable, understandable and justified. You may choke up like me when it’s time to give your biggest baby one last hug before you meet your second one, but just remember: this is all a beautiful part of this wild life.
Your heart is about to grow so much more full with love.
A version of this post originally appeared on May 3, 2017. It has been updated.