One of my biggest concerns about having a second child was that it would change the way I felt about my first. And in the begining it did but not quite in the way I feared. For a start, my firstborn just seemed so….giant. I hadn’t expected that.
What I’d worried about was not having enough love. Or somehow having the intense love I felt for my son being compromised or reduced by the feelings I knew I’d have for a new baby. Fortunately, that didn’t happen but I was certainly a little snappy and impatient with him in the beginning. Poor little guy.
It is not uncommon to hear mothers speak with trepidation about the birth of their second child. It’s not just the hard work, the sleepless nights ahead of them and the prospect of labour that fuels this fear, but many mothers believe with much conviction that they could not love another person as much as they love their first child.
Nature is an amazing thing, and so are babies, and really, so are hormones, because when you see that second baby on the delivery table much of that fear just dissipates. Poof! it’s gone. And you get on with the business of getting to know and falling in love with this little red, wrinkly, screaming beautiful thing.
But where nature is amazing it is also sometimes fierce. It provides for protection of the young and the defenceless. It’s primal, we’re programmed to focus our love and attention on the littlest one to ensure its survival and sometimes we feel a temporary loss of maternal love for the first child, the child we thought no one could compete with.
Rebecca Abrams writes very honestly about this in The Daily Mail
The little girl who walked through the door nervously holding her father’s hand, who scrambled up on to the hospital bed and threw herself on top of me in a wholehearted embrace, was not the child I’d said goodbye to just two days before.
A bizarre metamorphosis had occurred. Crazy and irrational as it sounds, she suddenly seemed huge to me.
No longer a little girl at all, no longer my baby – but an enormous overgrown child I barely recognised.
A week later, I was discharged from hospital and went home to a new life as the mother of two children.
Drained by a difficult pregnancy and labour, I was wholly unprepared for the emotional rollercoaster that lay ahead, caring – or trying to care – for a tetchy baby and a demanding toddler.
I became the kind of mother I never dreamt I’d be; the kind who coos at her baby and, in the next breath, snaps at her bewildered toddler.
Before my second child was born, I’d vaguely worried about whether I would be able to love the baby. The terrible truth was that in those early days with two children, it was not the baby but my daughter whom I had difficulty loving.
Post partum depression or maternal instinct to look after your new born infant? So many mothers suffer silently with this very real shift in love when their second child is born. Did you feel differently to your oldest child when your second was born? And if you haven’t had a child do you remember the feelings of pride or resentment when a sibling was introduced into your family?
How do you fit a new child seamlessly into a family? Can you?