Posted by Beck
Everyone told me that my heart would inexplicably grow to love a second baby the minute he arrived. And they were absolutely right about that. I had my concerns of course, but JP likes to remind me that before LJ was born I actually said that I hoped I would love him as much as I loved our cat, so I have been known to have put ridiculous limits on my heart's capabilities.
The moment A arrived I was simultaneously filled with an unspeakable joy and an unsettling terror. "A beautiful, healthy baby - hooray!" And, "how I am going to explain this to LJ." In only a moment he went from being my entire world to being a co-star. Still important, but now sharing the spotlight. I was ecstatic and terrified about what this meant for my family.
The first few days after coming home were hard on me. I knew I loved A as much as I loved LJ, even from the first moments. My heart had no problems with the love. It was learning how to balance my intense love for both of them that took a bit more time. I knew I loved them both like crazy, but how was I going to handle it when they both needed me so differently? I cried when I came home from the hospital because I knew things were forever changed. I desperately wanted to climb in bed and snuggle with LJ, but I also had a sleepy new baby to hold, nurse and protect. The love was strong, but struggle was instense in those first, hormone-filled days.
I can safely say now, two months out, that the balance issues are still there, but the emotional confusion has subsided. When A is crying and I sit down to rock him to sleep in his room, I have to remind myself that my sweet little big guy is in the other room watching cartoons and needs his mommy too. Having two wee ones is more rewarding and challenging than anything I could have fathomed.
As an only child it was hard for me not to put certain feelings on LJ. Feelings like jealousy or resentment; sadness that he no longer has our undivided attention and love. JP, the oldest of three, put things in perspective for me. He told me that, for him, us not giving LJ a sibling would mean denying him an amazing gift. Having it put that way was a game changer for me. I stopped feeling guilty about my divided time and started viewing it as a new and better reality for LJ. He has less of me, but more of someone else who will stand by his side for a lifetime. A built-in best friend. And that is awesome.
LJ has truly risen to the occasion as a big brother. He has moments where he tells us it's time for Little A to go in his swing now and he looks like a little lost puppy when grandpa holds A for too long, but overall he has done amazingly well. He never acts out against his brother or shows any resentment toward him whatsoever. He greets him in the morning with a "Hi Au-tin, hi Au-tin!" He holds his hand when we're in the car. He rubs his head and gives him kisses. It makes my heart so happy to see. One day we were reading the book If You Give a Pig a Pancake and I said, "look at the little piggy, isn't he cute?" LJ replied, "Au-tin cute too." Heart. Melting.
I'm still trying to figure it all out. Probably always will be. One thing I know for sure is that I love these boys with all my heart and feel pretty blessed to be their mom.
Moms (and dads) of more than one, any tips on maintaining the balance between siblings?