Saturday, January 7, 2012

No One Warned Me...

No one warned me of the conflicting emotions I would feel in the final days before welcoming my second daughter to the world. Of course, I am elated. I hesitated to write this post because I do not want to seem in any way ungrateful or unloving. We wanted and planned for this baby just as we wanted and planned for her sister.

But part of me is also sad. I am sad that our days as a threesome are coming to a close. I am sad that every ounce of my parental love and affection will now be split instead of funneled directly and constantly onto one child. I am fearful that I will not be as loving or effective as a parent with two little ones with very different but equally important needs. I am terrified that Alexandra is going to feel sadness, resentment, or any other sort of negative feelings when her sister arrives.

I have wrestled with these emotions off and on for many weeks, but they have really boiled over in the past 24 hours. Tonight when I laid down to put Alexandra to bed, I couldn't help but cry and wonder if it was the last night I would have the luxury of spending 45 minutes beside her--only her, just waiting for her to go to sleep.

Luke, the youngest of five siblings, sees the situation differently. He reminds me of the fun the girls will have together, the games they will play, the beautfy of having a built-in best friend for life. He says that we are giving Alexandra a gift, and I know this is true. This child is a gift to all of us, but my anxiety still swells at unexpected moments. And then guilt follows--I think of all the families who would kill for one child and here I am crying over my family that is expanding. I feel like the poor little rich girl of reproduction.

I know that there are going to be ups and downs. I know that worrying over changes and reactions will not change anything later, and I know that my sadness and fear may not be the best emotional energy expenditures at this juncture. But this place--this clove in our lives when we are on the brink of something extraordinarily new--is just too overwhelming not to face honestly.

I can't control how Alexandra will respond to her sister's arrival. I can't predict all of the small and big ways that things will change. I can, however, promise to do my best and be my best and love my girls--my two precious blessings. And in my heart, I know that one day I will look out the window and watch seven year old Alexandra playing with her sister (and maybe other sibilings!) and know that everything happened the way it should have and that everyone is okay and loved and happy, after all.

Did you deal with competing emotions before welcoming siblings into the mix? I'd love to hear about your experiences!


Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...

I love your honesty. = ) Not to sound cliche, but it really is so refreshing.

I remember feeling very similarly very close to when Damon was born. Even when I was in labor, and I said bye to Dmitri for the last time as an only child, I went into my room and cried!

But, I think that it has been very true for me that "love is multiplied, not divided." I cannot imagine feeling worried about that very much now. Especially knowing how much Dmitri loves having Damon to play with. Don't get me wrong, they have their moments. But the good definitely outweighs the bad, without a doubt.

A friend of mine, who is the oldest of seven, told me when I was pregnant with Damon that the best gift her parents ever gave her were her siblings. I can only hope that my children feel the same way.

I wish you many happy birthing thoughts. I have been thinking of you lately. Sending love your way!