I talked about my readiness to have another baby in this post– how I was so nervous about the idea of sharing my time, love and patience with another child. Piper has been the most incredible gift and has taught me so much about myself and life, I couldn’t imagine anyone else could move me in the same way. Like most everyone says, after that second baby arrives you feel complete in a whole new way and your heart just expands. It is true, but it’s also been a lot harder than I thought. And it doesn’t happen over night, at least for me it didn’t. Really, I’ve struggled for the first 5 months of Flora’s life. I’m finally seeing the light and feel like a fog has been lifted. We’ve been through a lot – but even though I’m feeling much better personally I’ve been carrying a lot of guilt about Flora’s experience as a baby.
Yes, I know she won’t remember any of this time period but I feel so guilty about the simple concept that Piper’s first year was the best of my entire life, full of the most incredible highs (and lows, too) and a joy I never knew existed. And looking back at Flora’s I just think, wow that was so, so tough. I haven’t taken her to any baby classes or had any play dates with other babies. I’ve been in survival mode trying to keep her sister happy and a lot of times Flora’s just along for the ride. My emotions are all over the place!
It goes beyond the hand me down clothes and baby gear, the fact that we didn’t have a shower for Flora. Beyond the superficial. Beyond the fact that I have to strap her into her swing and let her cry for a few minutes while I tend to her sister. I know that this is “normal” and that moms who have multiple children all must experience at least some of these feelings. I know that I don’t love Flora any less. I know that she’s completed our family and brought us all a new joy. But it doesn’t help the sinking feeling I get when I’m rocking her or putting her to bed at night. I never want her to think she comes second.
I’ve decided to do a few things to try and make myself feel better about these feelings. Set up one on one time with Flora and ignore my to-do lists and take her to a class at the library or just play with her in her room for 15 minutes without being distracted. Make a list of developmental baby activities I can begin to do with her now that she’s getting older. Set aside 5 minutes to read quietly after every feeding. And set aside 5 minutes before bed to read from my favorite baby book to see what growth & changes are happening to her. These are tiny, small changes but I hope they help me have less guilt about this special, sweet second baby of mine.
Image by Lauren Swann