Saturday, November 24, 2012

Second Child Guilt

I've always known that I wanted at least a couple of kids.  But after Nolin joined our family, another addition was really the farthest thing from my mind.  Nolin made our family seem complete.  Paul & I love her even more than we could have ever even imagined.  We always said that we would never allow our lives to revolve around a child.  Our child would just have to bend to fit our lifestyle.  But once Nolin came along, we quickly ate those words & we are very content with how we have changed our lives.  I recently read a quote that really reflects how Paul & I feel (although it doesn't really reflect how we used to spend our time!),
"There comes a point in your life when fun no longer means clubbing, drinking or being our till 4 am, or thinking about yourself.  Fun means Disney movies, family dinners, bedtime stories, long cuddles, a messy house, sleeping by 10 pm, hearing little voices say, 'I love you.'  Being a parent doesn't change you, it makes you realize that the little people that YOU created deserve the very best of your time."
We have spent a lot of time at home as a family since Nolin was born.  We have left many parties/gatherings early or not even gone at all.  We have greatly reduced the time we spend eating out in public.  I can't even remember the last time I went to see a movie.  But Paul & I have done these things because we want to do these things.  We would rather be home with our little girl.  We would rather be cuddling her while she sleeps or be here if she wakes up crying. 

So needless to say, Nolin has not been without our full attention from her first moments on this earth.  So naturally when we first found out I was expecting again, I was full of so many different emotions - excitement, happiness, nervousness, etc.  But the emotion that I was really not expecting to feel was -- guilt.  Almost immediately I was full of second child guilt.  How on earth was I going to love a second child as much as I love Nolin??  How could I not give all my attention & love to Nolin??  I even worry about having to leave Nolin when I am in labor.  I still have many of these worries now - just five weeks away from Harris' due date.  I don't want Nolin to experience one second of unhappiness.  But I'm afraid that no matter what, Nolin will go through an adjustment period when Harris arrives (as we all will).  But I hope so much that she will grow to love her baby brother just as much as I know we all will.  Everyone keeps telling me that my heart will open & I will have enough love for Nolin & Harris both.  As impossible as this seems, I have to believe that it's true & I look forward to it.

One of my friends sent me to this poem, Loving Two:
"I walk along holding your 2-year-old hand, basking in the glow of our magical relationship. Suddenly I feel a kick from within, as if to remind me that our time alone is limited. And I wonder: how could I ever love another child as I love you?
Then he is born, and I watch you. I watch the pain you feel at having to share me as you’ve never shared me before.
I hear you telling me in your own way, “Please love only me”. And I hear myself telling you in mine, “I can’t”, knowing, in fact, that I never can again.
You cry. I cry with you. I almost see our new baby as an intruder on the precious relationship we once shared. A relationship we can never quite have again.
But then, barely noticing, I find myself attached to that new being, and feeling almost guilty. I’m afraid to let you see me enjoying him, as though I am betraying you.
But then I notice your resentment change, first to curiosity, then to protectiveness, finally to genuine affection.
More days pass, and we are settling into a new routine. The memory of days with just the two of us is fading fast.
But something else is replacing those wonderful times we shared, just we two. There are new times – only now, we are three. I watch the love between you grow, the way you look at each other, touch each other.
I watch how he adores you – as I have for so long. I see how excited you are by each of his new accomplishments. And I begin to realize that I haven’t taken something from you, I’ve given something to you. I notice that I am no longer afraid to share my love openly with both of you.
I find that my love for each of you is as different as you are, but equally strong. And my question is finally answered, to my amazement. Yes, I can love another child as much as I love you – only differently.
And although I realize that you may have to share my time, I now know you’ll never share my love. There’s enough of that for both of you – you each have your own supply.
I love you – both. And I thank you both for blessing my life."  Author Unknown
It is an odd feeling to sadly count down the remaining days of time with only my precious little girl, while also joyfully counting down the days until we get to meet our second blessing.  Just as the tears I am currently crying are of both joy & a bit of sadness.

Although it saddens me a bit still to think about Nolin not receiving every bit of my time & attention, I look forward to seeing my love shared between my two blessings. 


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! My DD is 20 months now and we are discussing having a 2nd child. I was really surprised when I started feeling guilty! I'm not even pregnant yet and it makes worry...