I am 23 weeks and five days away from meeting my next baby, but unlike my first pregnancy, the fears of labor and delivery, breastfeeding and picking the perfect baby name are no longer at the top of my "worry list." Instead my anxiety is focused on how I could possibly love this child as much as I love my first — my dear, sixteen month-old, Penelope.
I felt connected to Penelope the day I saw the word “yes” flash across the digital pee test, and over the next nine months my relationship with my unborn child grew as I wrote to her in my journal and talked to her aloud during my long drives to and from work. I never questioned my ability to love her, since I was already in love with her months before we met.
Once Penelope was born, my world was shaken and shifted in a direction I never expected. My priorities, desires and dreams now all center around my daughter and her happiness. I’ve become lost in her blue-eyed love spell and am finally able to truly grasp the concept of unconditional love and sacrifice.
My current pregnancy, on the other had, hasn’t been a connected love-fest of diary entries and soft sung lullabies. It’s been filled with exhaustion, nausea and complex thoughts that routinely make me doubt my ability to equally love and mother two children simultaneously.
Although embarrassed and a bit ashamed, I hesitantly asked my friend Jessica, a recent mom to two kids under two years old, if she carried the same fear during her second pregnancy. “Of course,” she responded! “What you are feeling is normal. All you know is your love for Penelope, who you think is perfect." She continued, “How could you think any other baby would be better, even your own?” Jessica went on to tell me that I will probably carry my doubt throughout my pregnancy. She said, "But once that new baby is in your arms, you'll feel instant relief and fall in love all over again.” Jessica went on to remind me of one of the main reasons I want to expand our family, saying, "And just wait for your children to connect, watch and respond to one another — that is a whole new love you will all get to experience."
I hung up the phone and took a deep breath. I no longer felt alone and I no longer felt like a bad mother for having those thoughts. Instead I realized my fear of not being able to love my second child like my first was due to my deep desire to give another what I had already given one.
Learn more about Danielle, a newly added guest blogger for The Bump by watching her introductory video here!