Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pregnancy: Do two really double the love?

I'm sitting outside soaking up the warm spring sun. I should be inside sleeping cuddled up next to Gabe while he naps because I'm dead tired, but I've been thinking about how these moments are soon going to give way to new ones. Come September, our way of life is going to change so drastically. I can feel it the way some people can feel a storm brewing on a day as sunny as today. And maybe, come September, the new winds won't bring stormy weather, but they surely will bring different weather. And life as we know it will certainly change.
As I sit here with the sun warming my face and breeze cooling my arms, I'm reminded of my short, two-week visit to Slovenia four years ago. While we were there, we explored the landscape during every free moment. My friend and I had found a beautiful place along the river in Ljublijana where we had coffee and lunch when we first arrived. The sun shone that day much like it's shining right now -- brightly, warmly, giving off massive energy. The river weaved over rocks and glistened under the early spring sun. As we dangled our toes over the brick-paved streets while we sat perched in iron-backed chairs sipping coffee and steamed milk, we were overwhelmed with the loveliness of the old, charming city and mountain-background that day. We soaked up the moments, much like I'm doing right now in my solo days with Gabe, so that in case we never returned we could recall the scene in our heads. That place made quite an impression on us -- so much that we decided to revisit it on one of the last days of our trip. Of course, that day was overcast and chilled. The river didn't sparkle quite like it did the first time we visited. The city didn't look as magnificent under the grey skies. We couldn't even see the mountains. Our memory of the place proved to be much more beautiful than the actual place on the day we returned.
From the moment we found out I was pregnant with Gabe, I had an insatiable love for the little baby inside me. I took comfort while pregnant in knowing that he was always with me, tucked safely inside my womb, and I loved knowing that we both lived in the same body. I loved the adventure we were embarking on -- preparing for our first baby. And when Gabe was born, I doubt I'd ever been so smitten with a person ever before. He was perfect, and we bonded quickly. And for the first six or so months of his life, we did 99.9 percent of our daily activities together whether I liked it or not. Of course, he has grown older, so we no longer have to do quite everything together but the dynamics of our relationship haven't really changed much. Yes, at 19 months he can be away from me longer. But while he's away, I find myself missing him. It's strange not to gather him from his car seat at every stop. It's odd not to share my food with him while dining without him. It's erie to not talk to him while I'm driving when he's out on a play date with someone else. This strong bond we've formed has really impressed my heart. The kind of time we've spent together really has intertwined us. All of our heartstrings are still so interwoven and tangled that I cannot imagine how the process of unwinding them will go as he grows even older. I love this journey I've been on for the past 27 months. I love this place called mommyhood where Gabe is my little boy, and I am his mama. I've loved this place so much, in fact, five months ago, I decided I wanted to do it again.
So here I am 14 weeks pregnant with baby number two. And so far, it's a lot like the second time my friend and I visited that fabulously beautiful place by the river in Ljubljana. At 14 weeks pregnant with number two, I'm still focused on the first journey -- the one with Gabe -- rather than this second journey -- the one with the new baby. It's a stark contrast to how I felt at 14 weeks pregnant with Gabe. By the second trimester when I was pregnant with Gabe, I was in love with him. I was bonded. He was my baby. And Gabe still is my baby, which has left me little time to even think about this new baby. I wonder to myself if this lack of early pregnancy bonding is somehow going to alter my bond with the second. I wonder if I'll be able to develop such an immense attachment with the second baby if we don't have the same kind of one-on-one time Gabe and I had from infancy through the present. This pregnancy feels so different, I cannot help but question if the bonding will be as drastically different. Of course, I know I'll love the baby as most mothers do. But will it be so strong as my love for Gabe? Will my bond with Gabe be challenged by the new baby? Mostly, I wonder if the first journey to the place of mommyhood is going to be so much more beautiful than the second journey there. Come September, will I feel the same way I felt when I made my second visit to the lovely place by the river in Ljubljana?
I can't answer these questions; rather I can only pray that the Lord knows what I need, and He then takes my heart to where it needs to be at the right time. I know no one else can hush all of the thoughts wandering through my brain. I cannot help but wonder about what September will bring. Perhaps I'll be sitting by the river recalling the beauty from my memory. Or perhaps I'll be venturing through an entirely new beautiful and magnificent country that will be so different yet equally as lovely I won't even be able to compare it to the other one.

Have you been there? What was it like for you?

6 comments:

  1. I could write you at least ten paragraphs on this very subject! I'll try to keep it short.

    My pregnancy with Paige was so different than with Fynn. With Fynn I still had energy, I had all the time in the world to ponder about the little life growing within. But with Paige, I was exhausted. I had a toddler to chase around. I was tired. All. The. Time. And I found myself not thinking about being pregnant as much as I had with Fynn. And I felt guilty.

    But the moment Paige was born, I had the same bond with her that I did with Fynn (only different, as she's a totally different person). The love I feel for her is just as strong.

    With the second, you cherish the alone time more. Maybe that's why now I don't mind nursing her as many times at night as she wants - that's our time together. It's hard to describe.

    And with Fynn, all I keep thinking is that we're not depriving him of anything by adding another member to our family. We're giving him so much by having a sister. At first it's tough to remember that, the transition time can be very rough, but it's all worth it.

    You'll surprise and amaze yourself by how wonderful a mom of two you'll be!

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  2. Briefly, because I'm brain dead....sometimes I feel guilty for how much I love my second. I adore her so much and then look at my first and hope he doesn't see it and feel jealous.

    Sometimes I miss those days with just him and feel sad that he gets less of me than he used to.

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  3. Ovely words of bonding.
    I think what you're feeling is what most women feel on their 2nd. It's natural and even more so when you had such a strong bond with your first.
    But women who have triplets, adopted, or ave 5+ kids, all seem to manage limitless love for them all.
    I think us women have that gift.
    Also, the fact that you are mindful about it all indicats that both children wll have their needs met, and compromises will become part of familyhood.

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  4. I have been sick essentially from day 1 on my pregnancy and as you know I'm now at 32 weeks. I was so sick the first few months that that's all I could think about. I wans't thinking about bonding or possible baby names or painting a nursery or baby stollers or any of those fun things. I was just so miserable that it consumed every second of my day. The only relief I had was when I was sleeping.

    Only recently in my last 3 months of pregnancy have I felt well enough to begin enjoying this experience somewhat and bonding with the little guy inside me. If I compared my self to my cousin who is only 14 weeks and already has all her baby paraphanalia picked out-I would feel guilty. I don't have so much as a crib chosen yet. But that is just me. I'm "last minute mary". Doesn't mean I'm not excited or will love the boy any less.

    My point is that you feel how you feel. Period. We are all different. Just acknowledge your feelings and know it will all turn out ok in the end.

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  5. I'd listen to Corinne - her blog makes two seem like heaven. Seriously.

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  6. My situation is different in that my older son is 5 yrs older. He started school that year and really wasn't my baby anymore. God knows, God gives and He will make sure you are all you need to be for both your little one's. They will also have and be so much more for the bond they will have with each other.

    Thanks for the blog visit. I should clarify, however, that my DH has only once in our marriage given me a party and that was 12 years ago. I was being sarcastic in a way to explain my needy behavior this time around. He's usually out of town so the last time anyone did anything for me was 5 years ago before my mother got cancer.

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There's nothing better than good conversation ... but not while talking to myself. Will you play a part in this discussion?

AND will you pretty please have your email linked to your account or leave it for me so I can respond?

Thanks for taking the time to make these thoughts into conversation.

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