The first words that slipped out of my mouth when I found out I was pregnant for the first time were, “oh sh*t!” I texted my sister a picture of the test just to make sure that it was, in fact, positive. I wasn’t mad or sad or upset; I was just shocked (though in retrospect I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised). My entire life changed in a split second and suddenly it wasn’t just me and my husband anymore. Mixed with that unparalleled excitement of being pregnant and growing our family was startling realization that the freedom of my life being solely mine and the ability to go when and where I wanted with ease was coming to an abrupt end.
I’m glad that I got pregnant when I did, I even was that night as I waited for my husband to come home and the excitement only grew as his eyes lit up like a five-year-old at Christmas. I had been dreaming of having a baby before the new year (my daughter is a December baby) and secretly half-hoping for a positive. But that didn’t dull the initial shock.
Still, “oh sh*t” was not my shining moment.
Excitement and resistance mingled throughout the pregnancy, impatience to meet my sweet baby and become a mom fighting my nerves of the unknown: what did I know about being a mom? What if I wasn’t good at being a parent or worse, didn’t like it? Was I willing to give up the ease and adventures of life without children?
I love my daughter, obviously, and the worry quickly dissipated upon her arrival. Even with its challenges and sacrifices, I instantly loved being a mom, so nine months later when I got my second positive test, there was no “oh sh*t” moment. This time was planned and I was filled with excitement and relief that it happened so easily. But it wasn’t long before doubts began to creep in and I wondered if we had tried too soon. Had we given ourselves enough time as a family of three or rushed too quickly to a family of four?
I began digging my heels in again. I wanted a second baby, yet I was pulling away. Panicking that my time with just my daughter was quickly running out, I worried if I was doing the right thing or upsetting my daughter’s life, whether she would love the baby or feel betrayed. I pictured her standing in a corner with big blue sad eyes, pouting lips, and dejected posture because the new baby had taken mom and dad’s attention. Even as my due date closed in and I was so ready to not be pregnant anymore, I wasn’t ready for two, wasn’t sure I couldn’t handle and balance my attention.
My son is three weeks old today. My daughter loves him and has adjusted so well to life with him. She kisses him, waves to him, points out his nose, toes, and ears, and tries to pick him up (we’re working on not doing that). Occasionally, she will pout when I’m nursing or act to get my attention if I’m talking to him. But I think I’m the one having a harder time with the change. I miss my undivided mommie-daughter time and am not willing to let go of the bond we’ve formed over that last eighteen months. So while I am learning how to divide my attention, I still take time for just my daughter, whether it is snuggling before bedtime or going on a doughnut date (a long-standing weekly tradition we share).
Life with two is an adjustment for all of us, but I wouldn’t trade it for an only child or a bigger age gap. It’s imperfect in its own amazing, lovable way.
That’s what I’ve been learning about change over the years. That while I may never be ready for changes to occur and will always have an adjustment period, more often than not, the risk is worth the reward.
There are many iterations of the same quote floating out there, all with the same message: if we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives. I still have wanderlust, but having a daughter beats any trip I could have taken since that “oh sh*t” moment. My daughter was my entire world, but now my world has grown to welcome my son. I know there will be many more changes in my life, big and small, and while I can’t promise I will ever be really ready for them, I’m trying to dig my heels in a little less and instead embrace the changes as they come.