You might start off wondering how you will ever love another baby as much as you love your first.
You might surprise yourself with the hint of guilt that comes—almost simultaneously with the excitement—when you find out you’re expecting another.
You might feel, as you get closer to the end of your pregnancy, that in addition to the thrill of meeting your unborn baby, you are unexpectedly heartbroken at how your one and only will be the only one no more.
You might think you’re the only terrible mother in the world who feels this way. What if this love, this love they say is infinite, is not? What if this is all I have? What if this is all I am? All I can give?
You might cradle that new baby’s downy head in your hands, and marvel at her perfection. Her 10 fingers, 10 toes. Her feathery lashes fringe the half-moons of her delicate, sleepy eyelids. “It’s true,” you might think to yourself, as you revel in the universe’s confirmation to you that yes, your heart holds more love than you can possibly ever fathom.
You might look over at your older child nearby, the one who used to seem so little, so fragile; the one whose soft, precious head you cradled like this not so long ago, and you might be shocked at how enormous she seems now. How strong. How dangerous.
That’ll make you feel guilty too.
She’s just a baby, too. She used to be my only baby. She still needs me, so very much.
You might wonder what all those other seasoned mothers of more than one meant when they said, “Don’t fret, the instant that baby is here and you see them together, it’ll all be worth it and you’ll forget how worried you were.” You’ll ask yourself if they were lying. Or am I doing it wrong? Because even though it’s been a few weeks, a few months already, you might feel more overwhelmed, more anxious, more inadequate than you’ve ever felt before.
You might doubt that you can do this. Everything is disrupted. Everything just seems… difficult. All the time.
You might wonder how going from one child to two could possibly be this much harder than going from none to one.
You might have that one startling moment, though. Actually, you’ll have a lot of them. You’ll look around you and notice relative peace. Contentment. Joy. “Yes, this is exactly what I wanted,” you might think to yourself. You’ll keep having those moments. Some days, it’ll just feel like the warm glow of mothering success has wrapped itself around you and the moments keep on coming. But on other days—many days—those moments will be scarce, and you’ll hang onto them for dear life.
You might sometimes wonder if you’ll ever really be enough.
You might start to accept that, maybe you won’t ever feel like you are enough, but to them, you are.
More than enough.
And perhaps even if you aren’t feeling like enough on any given day, you might think that maybe they make up for what you’re lacking in that moment, through the love they have for each other.
And they do love each other. They’re little, but they can love. They can love with their whole being, their whole soul.
You might start feeling like you get what “they” all meant.
You might think, “This is wonderful. This is really, really hard sometimes, but it’s wonderful.”
And you know what? The best part is you might find out that we’re all right here behind you, feeling it too.