(Disclaimer: I am a worrier by nature, and presently, a hormonal mess. You’ve been warned).
I’m laying next to my little sleeping beauty as she naps. This has become a daily habit of ours for the past several weeks (past 6 weeks to be exact). Ever since the exhaustion of pregnancy set in, I cherish DJ’s sleep time, and usually catch some Z’s myself. This afternoon, though, I can’t seem to shut my mind off.
I’m obsessing over how I’m already messing up my unborn child. While it might sound like cracking the quintessential joke about putting aside money for their therapy later in life – the truth is, I’m actually really worried.
When I was pregnant with DJ – I lived and breathed the pregnancy. Each quiet moment that I had was spent rubbing my belly, talking with her and daydreaming about life with her. I even made a mixed CD of songs that made me think of her, and I played it almost nightly while I sat in the rocker in her room, caressing my baby bump as we listened to 62 minutes of music. My husband and I would lay in bed talking to her, about her, with her. He’d pat my tummy and say hello to her, and tell her how much he already loved her. I am certain that we began putting her nursery together some time within my first trimester. Even working on her baby book became a part of my daily routine. Our lives revolved around the baby we had yet to meet.
This time around, everything is different. Outside of pulling the sexy elastic band of my maternity jeans over my already protruding stomach (I am 12 weeks pregnant), there are some days when the only times I think about our newest edition are the times when my head is in the toilet, puking. Even my husband admitted over breakfast the other morning, “there are moments when I forget.” Yeah, me too – and it feels awful.
I have talked with plenty mothers of multiple children to understand that I’m not alone. It’s very difficult, if not seemingly impossible, to focus on anything other than your toddler if you have one. DJ has just turned two – and she’s a little firecracker. She has an opinion about everything, has non-stop energy, and while she wants to do absolutely everything on her own – I still must be present to chaperone her every move. There is no break to pat my belly.
Even though I am reassured that this is normal – the second pregnancy being nothing like the first in it’s level of intimacy, I can’t help but lay awake wondering if my fetus already feels abandoned? Is she (we don’t know the sex yet, but I refuse to call it an “it,” and my gut says girl) feeling totally alone in there? Is she longing for a bedtime story directed only to her? Is she wondering if the heartbeat that guides the very rhythm of her life, even attached to someone who promises to love her forever? Is she confident that we want her, that we already love her, that we can’t wait to meet her? Gosh, I hope so.
And then, I look at my DJ. She’s been my best buddy for the past 24 months. We do everything together (seriously, right down to peeing). She’s been my sidekick, the center of my universe, my sole concentration. Not only do I struggle with wondering how she will adjust, but I struggle in worrying that she will feel less loved once I am dividing my attention – and that breaks my heart. At the same time, it kind of breaks my heart that our second baby will never ever have the undivided time with us that DJ has had – and that is true of any child that comes after the first.
Before getting pregnant with our second, I was having wine with some girlfriends. One of the women, who has two children, and I were talking and I had mentioned my fear of DJ feeling slighted by introducing another child into the mix. She reassured me that she had once had that same fear, but that then she realized that everything she’d want her first child to learn about being a wonderful person, would inevitably come from having a sibling. Lessons like sharing, having patience, practicing equality yet celebrating individuality, learning to compromise, the value of team work, unity, trust, etc. Whenever I begin to wonder if I should get a bigger coin jar for DJ’s therapy bills, I think back on that conversation and realize that having a brother or sister will only enrich DJ’s life – in ways that I have yet to discover…and I’m excited about that. I’m excited to see her not only as a daughter, a grand daughter, a cousin and friend – but as a big sister. She’s going to be wonderful, I really know that.
When I truly put things into perspective, I can (kind of) stop worrying that the life growing inside of me feels all alone in that great big womb . DJ and I pray for her nightly, for her health, her entrance into this world, her future. We set aside time every night to share our hopes and dreams for her with God. And while I don’t have the “time” to get lost in obsessive thoughts of the color of her bedding – the moments I do spend thinking about her are deliberate and sincere.
What I do know, and trust above all else, is that I will inevitably feel the abundant, instant and unconditional love for her the moment I first meet her, that I did when DJ was first placed against my chest. My heart will expand, and there’ll be room for two. I have total faith that in that very moment, I will know that life was not complete until she joined us – and that somehow, someway – through the jealousy and territorial wars, it will all work out. It just will.
And it will be beautiful.