I didn’t spend a lot of time during my pregnancy writing about the fear that I wouldn’t be able to feel for this baby as I did with the first. Not because it wasn’t one of the foremost fears on my mind–which it was; oh my God, was it ever–but because it just sounded so cliche as far as writing goes.
Is there any more of a repeated refrain with second-time preggos than “how can I ever love this one as much as #1?” No, in case you’re wondering. There is not. Even the tried and true maternity clothes rant is a far, far distant second.
Whenever I was tempted to write about it (although indeed I alluded to it briefly here and there), I instead channeled friends and family talking me down. I imagined the anecdotes dispelling my worries, the heartfelt advice, and the bordering-on-cheesy analogies: Your heart is not a balloon with a limited capacity for love, but an universe of affections with borders that stretch to infinity. (Gag.)
And then I kept my feelings mostly to myself, trying to have faith that everyone was right, that I wouldn’t be the one and only exception to the rule–a new mom looking at this new baby and thinking eh, maybe we can trade her in in a few months for a different model.
My fears stemmed not so much from the fact that I love Thalia beyond belief, but that she is amazing. More than amazing–Spectacular. Magnificent. Of course it’s every parent’s right and obligation to believe this about his or her own child, but I say it with absolute go-ahead-and-hate-me-if-you-want-to conviction. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s intuitive. She’s kind. She makes up songs about her day and loves even the unloveable cat, and choreographs dances to her favorite cartoon theme songs. She exudes extraordinary spirit and sense of self at 22.5 months, and I feel privileged to know her, let alone to mother her.
Now couple this with the constant reminder throughout my pregnancy that “the second baby gets all the traits that the first one didn’t take” — and you can see where I might have been a wee bit nervous about the human being about to shoot down my birth canal.
All the traits the first one didn’t take? Yikes.
I mean Thalia’s not a kleptomaniac or a serial killer…
In other words, I had come to the erroneous conclusion that there were only two options for my children:
Awesome. And shitty.
Like that was it. Black or white. A or B. There was nothing in between, nothing.
It sounds so stupid now: Well, if Thalia is social, this one will hate people. If Thalia smiles all the time, the new one will be bitter and angry, eschewing lollipops and kittens and humanity at large.
I’m pleased to announce that so far as I can tell in Sage’s brief 12 days, I was totally, absolutely, completely wrong.
I’m here to reassure those who need reassuring that there’s a continuum of awesomeness in children that I hadn’t considered. You can be both awesome and a terrible sleeper as Thalia was, and you can be awesome and a spitter-upper like Sage. You can be awesomely social like Thalia, or awesomely observant like Sage.
My children are not the same. Not even. But they’re not opposites either.
And the heart? It seems to be a wide, expansive universe with borders that stretch to infinity, capable of holding all the love in existence.
Huge congrats to the beautiful Mrs. Q on her new daughter after one of the most insane birth stories ever (and so well told by Fairly Oddmother). Sage can’t wait to meet her new playmate–or at least lie around in close proximity to her as they simultaneously stare off into space.