It’s 6:00 AM and I’m holding my baby close, watching him doze as he nurses. He slept through the night, but I’m thankful for this early-morning wake up. No one else is up, and I get some time with him alone before his big sister wakes up and demands my attention. I think about my second baby, my blonde-headed, curious little guy. I love him just as much as I love his sister. But my time is divided in half. If love is a verb, then I don’t have as much time to love-on him as I did my first baby.
Wisdom From An Experienced Mama
A few years ago, before I was even married, I went on a weekend trip with my mom and some of her friends. We started joking about how the first child is always the favorite. One of my mom’s wise friends spoke up. She said, “It’s not that you love your second child any less. It’s that you don’t have as much time to dote on them.” I couldn’t fully understand what she said before I had experienced the intense, unconditional love of a mother.
Baby boy, I love you so intensely and unconditionally. I pray that you always know that.
When he still woke up every couple of hours at night, I learned how to appreciate the quiet time with him. I was exhausted, but I tried to soak up the feel of him in my arms, remember him gently stroking my hair, or the sound of his little sigh as he drifted back to sleep. During the day, I can feel Miss H’s eyes on me when I go to snuggle my cuddly baby. She often comes to sit on my lap while I nurse or comfort him. I understand- she needs me, too.
Throughout my second pregnancy, I was so worried about Miss H and her transition to Big Sisterhood. I worried that she would feel replaced or ignored. I felt a little sad that I wouldn’t be 100% focused on her. But it never occurred to me that my little guy would be the one who would have less of me.
The other day, while Miss H watched a TV show, I went to change Baby E’s diaper. He was all smiles and chatter, and after he was cleaned up, I swooped him up in my arms and above my head. We both giggled and smiled, and I smothered his face with kisses. I found myself looking at the door, wondering when Miss H would toddle in and want to play, too. When was the last time I gave him my full attention like this? When Miss H was a baby, this happened every time I was with her. But I can temper my mommy guilt by remembering that I worked full time when she was a baby. My second baby probably gets more of my time, even if he gets less of my attention.
To The Soon-to-be Mama of Two
It’s true, having your second baby is different than your first. You can worry less. You’ve been through labor or a c-section already. Those late night feedings don’t seem as exhausting because you can envision the end of this season. You know it goes fast. If you’re wondering if your heart can possibly love another child as much as your precious little one: it can. Motherhood is a reflection of God’s love for us, and his love is unlimited. But remember how you would sit for hours snuggling you little baby as he or she slept? That might not happen, and that’s okay. Your new baby will still feel loved. You’ll get to see love and friendship grow between your children, and that will fill your heart even more.
As Baby E approaches his first birthday, I want to slow down and really enjoy his babyhood. I want to pause and soak in his two-teeth smile, his every coo. I can’t slow down time, but I can slow myself down and enjoy the moments we have.
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