Second Baby Guilt

I’ve never really had baby fever.  I’ve never felt an overwhelming need to hold a newborn baby…never cried over a friend who got pregnant before me.  I do remember aching for a child of my own, though…a babe to fill my arms and turn me into this mysterious creature called a “mother”.

When Miles Patrick came along, he filled my arms and my heart more full than I could ever have imagined. Almost two years later, he still does.  Not once since he was born have I felt the need or craving for another baby.  Yet, today another precious life is being formed within my womb.  

Despite not having that aching for another baby, I knew that I wanted another child.  I knew that we needed another child and that Miles needed a sibling.  Let me assure you, this babe that grows within me is very much wanted.  We know that he or she is a wonderful little blessing being knit together to fit perfectly into our family.

Still, I find myself dealing with guilt.  The excitement I feel over this pregnancy just doesn’t match the excitement I had with my first.  I don’t know how many weeks pregnant I am down to the day.  Some days it takes me a minute to even remember how many weeks along I am.  This pregnancy seems to fly by to the point where I wish it would slow down because I just don’t feel ready yet.  I feel guilty because I didn’t, and still don’t, ache for this baby the way I did for Miles.  Does that make me a bad mother, or make this baby any less wanted or cherished? 

A second baby is so different from the first.  I know what to expect so much better.  I dread the sleepless nights and worry about breastfeeding struggles.  I wonder, and for good reason, if I will be able to keep my sanity with a newborn and a toddler to care for. 

Yet, I also know about the good parts.  I know what it’s like to hold your newborn baby for the very first time.  I know the pride you feel when your child takes their first steps, or the way your heart melts when they kiss your cheek for the first time.  I also know without a doubt that each precious coo, each sweet smile, will make up for all the hard realities of motherhood.

A mother should never feel guilty for feeling differently during her second pregnancy.  Knowing what’s coming does not make your love for this child any less.  In truth, I may not ache for a baby to hold, but my heart does ache.

What does my heart ache for?  My heart aches for the day when not just Miles, but another beloved child as well, will wake me up in the morning with tackles and eskimo kisses.  It aches to watch Miles transform into a big brother, and to give his brother or sister one of his sweet, wet kisses.  It aches to see one child on Daddy’s strong shoulders while the other holds his hand beside him.  It aches to sit out in our backyard on a warm spring day and watch my two little ones play with our dogs.  I may not ache for a baby, but I do ache for a child. 

There is no guilt or shame in that.    

And so to this baby due in October I say: “Precious little one, don’t let my dampened enthusiasm make you doubt my love.  Instead, know that, despite knowing how hard and exhausting and draining motherhood really is, I still chose you.  I may have ached for Miles…but I wanted you.

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