I can vividly remember sitting in my car, 40 weeks pregnant with my second child, looking at my first child and crying my eyes out. What had I done? I loved my first born so much, how could I possibly love another child even half as much? Did I have enough to give to another child?
What I didn’t realise was that I was in pre-labour, and this hormonal outpouring of emotion was the start of an amazing labour and birth. Little did I know that less than twelve hours later I would be holding my second daughter in my arms and instantly falling in love all over again!
On reflection, I started thinking…is this normal? I desperately wanted my second child, she was a planned pregnancy and I knew that our family wasn’t complete after the birth of my first child. But at that very lonely moment, sitting in my car looking at my first born, I started to doubt my decision.
Luckily, bringing home the most beautiful baby girl, second time around was amazing. Gone was the self-doubt and never-ending guilt about my parenting decisions that had completely consumed me the first time I brought a baby home. I indulged in the mess and chaos that my home had become, feeling no need to pretend to be a perfect first-time parent. I was now the mum of a busy toddler, and a newborn. Routine and schedules were revolving around my toddler, and my newborn had to fit in…and she did. I didn’t have her feeding times on a spreadsheet, I demand fed her and she napped when her sister did. This all said, it didn’t mean I wasn’t completely sleep deprived, sporting super greasy hair most days and rarely able to put together a decent meal, but I was happy, and my heart was bursting with love for both my girls.
I went on to have a third child, who to be quite honest, was lucky to see his cot for a proper sleep in his first twelve months of life. I am going to credit his chaotic and crazy start to life with two toddler sisters, for making him super adaptable and easy-going. But by the time he entered our lives, I never doubted that I would be able to love him. I fell pregnant with him very quickly, and this meant I was going to have three children in five years, but I also knew the minute he was born my family was complete. What I realised in having him, was that he taught my daughters how to love. In giving my girls another sibling, they quickly learnt the true meaning of empathy. That being said, he really does annoy his sisters most of the time these days, and the smells and sounds he produces are a constant source of disgust amongst us all. However, watch out any child who tries to pick on him in the playground. There is no fury like that of two older sisters whose brother has come to them in tears!
In addition to my three children, my house is always full of children who are not my own, and I have an amazing love for them too. My nieces and nephews I adore, and many of my children’s friends I treat just like my own..with an open heart.
Our household is now in the throws of puberty, and my newborn doubts and toddler tantrums seem a lifetime ago. I can honestly say, that some days I don’t like my children, but not a day goes past that I don’t absolutely and wholeheartedly love each of them. If you are considering adding to your family, but wonder what it will be like, I can’t answer that. But what I can say, is that mothering has no limits. It catches you by surprise every day, and just when you think you can’t give any more, you can.