When I was pregnant with my first baby I felt connected to the little bean as soon as the pregnancy test flashed “Pregnant 3+”. Instantly the maternal instinct took place and I protectively placed my hand on my belly (and it has stayed there ever since).
As the pregnancy went on I would lay on the sofa talking to the growing bump, stroking it, loving it. I was incredibly present during the whole time, I felt it was me and the bean and we were connected like nothing else. There was only us two.
The love you feel for your first child is hard to explain, it is primal, it is selfish. You can’t possibly imagine how you can love anything as much. It is all-consuming.
Almost two years to the day came the second pregnancy test, it was so exciting but this time also familiar. But something was different, the connection wasn’t there. I didn’t have time to just be with the growing bump, I couldn’t just lay down and be pregnant.
I was excited about it, and I’m sure I already loved it – but it wasn’t like the first time. How could there possibly be enough space in my heart for the new baby? I worried about it so much, and I have lost track of how many times I asked my husband how on earth I would be able to love the little sister as much. What if I didn’t love her?
I was worried about my oldest daughter, how would she react to the new arrival, would our relationship be compromised? I worried about the little sister, if she would grow up feeling sidelined by her older, more loved sister.
Then I started what I would consider a sort of mourning process. I was mourning the end of my relationship with my daughter as an only child. I was mourning the title First-Time Mother, and it was almost like I was mourning my first pregnancy. It was all ending, I was about to become a mother of two, and my little baby was about to become a big sister.
At the same time I was happy and excited, this new life growing inside me was different. This one was feisty, she would kick the living hell out of me, and from very early on. I wondered how I wasn’t bruised after her kicks and summersaults. I couldn’t wait to meet her, see her, cuddle her. But I still worried about my feelings. I was terrified of developing PND. But I enjoyed the pregnancy, in fact I would say I loved it. But the concern always lingered in the background.
The day our little sister was born was the happiest day of my life, as was the day my first daughter was born. Two completely different births and two completely different children. I don’t know why I was constantly comparing. Little sister’s birth was incredible, and I can honestly say I enjoyed it. I delivered her myself and when I lifted her up from the water, and held her close to my chest I had exactly the same feeling as I had the first time. My heart was full. It had expanded so much it now had enough room for everyone. I was so relieved.
Fast forward and my oldest is almost two and a half, and my youngest is five months. I cannot even remember what life was like before little sister joined us. I laugh at my worries about the new baby. I look at her and wonder why on earth I ever worried or doubted my love for her, or either of them. I love them equally, and that is a great deal.