Will I Love My Second Baby the Same?
When you’re expecting your first child, there are so many questions. Will I be a good parent? Will I be able to stay home/work/balance what I want? Will my baby be cute? (Admit it – you wondered it at least once!)
When you’re expecting your second child, there is one question that causes great concern. Will I love this child the same as my first? Today, I’m offering you the definitive answer. No. You won’t love your second child the same.
Your first child makes you a parent. It’s a life-changing transformation that can never be duplicated. Their entry into your world is a catalyst for change like you’ve likely never seen. It’s not often that a single moment transforms everything that you thought you knew and understood about the world.
There is a quote by Vernon Law; “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.” This is what having your first is about. You are constantly worrying about your failures, because just when you start to think you’ve got it figured out, your little one stumps you again.
Your first child throws a Grinch move on your heart – it grows three sizes, and you suddenly realize that love is more than you ever imagined it could be. You’ll celebrate every milestone like it’s the first time any baby has ever accomplished something as miraculous as rolling over or finding her toes.
So, what happens when you have your second?
Your second child makes you real. Remember the Velveteen Rabbit? Only when you’re loved by a child, can you become real.
“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand… once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.” (I hope nobody experiences eyeballs dropping out as an after-effect of childbirth, but hair loss and looking shabby? Spot on.)
That’s not to say that the time with your first wasn’t real. It was very, very real. But adding your second makes the time with your first resonate even more. Now your heart expands beyond even the triple-sizing of the Grinch. But it also moves around, creating spaces much like a Venn diagram, to hold all the new love and old love and intertwined love filling it up.
This time around, though, you don’t have that luxury of focusing all your attention in one place. And that is a good thing. You learn to roll with things, to multitask, and to brush off the failures that used to obsess you and keep moving forward. You learn to embrace the small moments and to enjoy the quiet times.
You’ll learn that your first child isn’t the most perfect being in all of creation. Because that would mean that your second is somehow less than – and that’s not possible. So you begin to realize that perfection isn’t the goal or the focus. You learn to appreciate your children not for their firsts or their achievements, but for who they are: their idiosyncrasies, their strange habits, the things that make them just so – them.
And so you can’t love them the same. Because you’ll love them each as they are – which is exactly as they are supposed to be. And while you’ll have moments where you may wish that one was more like the other, you’ll find that the love you have for each is boundless, and that in finding the balance in your life, finding a way to balance your love isn’t a concern.