I was incredibly focused on their relationship, the transition for Haley, and the fact that the second time around was going to be a boy. A boy! Coming from a family with lots of girls, the boy thing was completely new to me, and I was consumed with all things blue and what a contrast they were to the sea of pink we were currently in. I completely glossed over the transition from a family of three to a family of four. My thought was "I'm a good mom and I can handle it".
I stay at home with my kids and have been lucky enough since weeks before Haley was born. She and I had a great, close relationship, and I was wholly unprepared for what adding another into the mix would feel like. I planned for the transition for her, we talked about having a brother, and how he would be tiny and need lots of Mommy's attention. We talked about how you need to be gentle, and speak softly, but she was only 17 months (walking for only 3 months!).
The day Kale arrived was mostly uneventful, we had a planned c-section so I just hung out till it was my turn. But in those "stewing hours" I began to freak out a little... What had I done to Haley? It would no longer be the two of us/the three of us. There would be this newcomer. Would he fit in? How would he fit in? Oh my gosh, it's too late to take this back, we're stuck here, and I've completely destroyed my precious girl. I even remember thinking that there was no possible way that I was going to love him as much as her, my heart just wasn't big enough. Funny how those hormones work isn't it?
So. Here are 10 things that I wish I had been told, right then, in those moments:
1. Yes, no matter how much you love #1, you will love #2 equally. But maybe not right at first in the same way. Remember when #1 was born and you loved them right away? That love has evolved into the kind where you know them inside and out. You have to get to know #2, but you'll get there. You'll still love them right away and you won't even realize when it changes to the inside out kind. I promise.
2. You haven't destroyed your relationship with #1 by bringing in #2. You've strengthened it. And it's okay that they no longer get 100% of your attention during the day, they're going to be better people because of it. I promise.
3. By making them the older sibling, you haven't forced them to grow up before they're ready. They're still the same kid you had before #2. I promise.
4. It's okay to put #2 down and snuggle up with #1 in the hospital bed, and when they'd rather play with with whatever cool medical stuff they can find in the hospital room, it doesn't mean they're taking anything out on you. I promise.
5. You're going to have a split second when you're going to wonder about #2 and if they'll be as great as #1. They will be. I promise.
6. When you're feeding #2 and #1 does something terrible, they're not trying to tell you you're a bad parent. They're testing your boundaries. This might sound totally rational now, but the thought will cross your mind. You're a great parent. I promise.
7. There will come times when you'll have to choose between the two and #1 will get the short end of the stick. It's okay. You can make it up to them later. They won't hold it against you, and they'll still turn into good people. I promise.
8. It's okay to call your friends and freak out a little. Call one that already has two kids. She understands. I promise.
9. Trust your "Mommy Sense". You know what you're doing this time around. I promise.
10. Everything's going to be fine. There's a happy ending. You'll sleep again someday. I promise.