My Second Child
“I worry if I will have enough love in my heart for two,” a friend of mine recently admitted when I asked her if she ever wanted a second child. For those who have had the luxury of more than one child, it must seem like a ridiculous statement—but for those that have been the mommy of one (for eight-plus years), it seems completely valid.
In about five weeks, I will become a mother of two—and the very thought is terrifying. For many reasons, some of which include:
- My first one is a genius. What are the odds of birthing two geniuses?
- My first one isn’t a crier. My nerves would never have been able to withstand a crier. In fact while my future baby daddy has the skill of ‘blocking out the crying,’ my ears are sensitive enough to hear the crying from down the block. So much so that every hair on my body stands on alert, begging for Xanax (or earplugs).
- I’ve been a co-parent (Read: part-time parent) for the last five-and-a-half years. How will I adapt to full-time parental duty?
- I love my eight-year-old more than I could ever understand. In my life he was the answer to the question I never formulated. Upon him I have bestowed immeasurable power on my heart. How could anyone ever compete with this kind of deity?
My father used to always tell me, “you don’t even know what you have” (said in sarcastic Russian accident, with the stress on ‘know’), in reference to how good a child my son was. This mantra echoes in my head whenever I visualize who this new life will be and impact it will have on my life.
No point in worrying about what might or might not be; I understand all that and try to have faith in the biology of motherhood. I’ve learned that the worst things in life are the ones you can’t prepare for and that worrying about them neither fixes them or prevents them from happening.
One of the first scenes I imagined when I thought about introducing my first baby to my second was the moment where he walked into the hospital room and saw the new baby for the first time. I play the unwritten scene over and over again in my what-if mind. What kind of look would I be giving to my first baby? To the first soul I birthed into this world? And what will his heart feel like when he learns that his mommy isn’t only his anymore? This is so much bigger than sharing your toys.
Recently my son said he didn’t even want to come to the hospital. Then he corrected himself by saying, “Well it depends on what day of the week it is and if it’s on your day.” While the comment stung like a wet slap in the face, I somehow felt I deserved it. I’ll always be the divorced mother that agreed to joint-custody, a thought that somehow reinvents itself as the idea that I’m a mother that abandoned her son.
“When you have a second baby, your heart doubles rather than halves,” I told my son soon after I told him I was pregnant. The words, as they left my lips, and entered the ether between us, seemed both hopeful and Hallmark.
For now, I wait for the life that will prove it all true.