I remember lying in bed with my almost 2-year-old boy beside me. I remember the way he needed to sleep with his hand curled tight into my hair, his sweet little boy breath on my face. I remember I was eight months pregnant and in that moment, with the two of us so much each other's person, I could not fathom how this new person could break into our club. I said nothing to anyone, it was this shameful fear that was just for me. I thought I was alone in it. Which is why this mom's worry about loving her second baby "enough" in an emotional post on Instagram struck me so hard. I came out the other end knowing something different, but I was so alone before all that knowing came.
The Instagram page Birth Becomes Her, which is run by Jennifer Mason and Monet Nicole has is all about sharing powerful stories and photos of women at their most powerful, and also their most vulnerable. As they welcome their new little person into their lives. The stories and photos shared on the site are moving and beautiful and sweet and hard, just like giving birth. And in one of their most recent posts, a woman photographer named Maggie Williams shared the story of her fear of not being able to find enough love to offer both of her children once her new baby arrived.
This mom shared the story of her worry that her "immense love" for her first born would somehow be diminished in an emotional Instagram post:
As I was preparing to welcome my second child into my life, my biggest worry was "could I love another child as much as my first born son?" My love for my first was so immense that I couldn't fathom my heart being able to generate enough love for two beings. I was anxious that my love would be divided among the two babies and was wrecked with guilt for potentially taking love away from my sweet boy.
This is actually an incredibly common fear for moms expecting their second child, even if when you are going through it yourself you can't imagine anyone else feeling this way. As though you are going to lose something and gain something and you won't quite know what to do with either thing and no one is going to be able to help you.
But, as this mom learned when she gave birth to her daughter, you will find your way. Your family will find their way together.
My love was magnified. It grew. Doubling. Tripling. Quadrupling. It never stopped growing. There wasn't a moment in which there wasn't enough love for both children. And the surprising blessing that I had never considered while pregnant was that, upon her birth, my son gained one more person who loves him unconditionally: his sister.
Grateful moms took to her Instagram post to say, "Thank you for this," and "I needed this." Because this is the truest thing you get to know about growing a family; it's not just about you and your baby, it's about your babies together. I saw this in my sons, when my new baby was born and his big brother would sometimes cry with all of the heaviness of loving him. When I had two more babies and we became us. All of the different ways of being us.
It's scary and beautiful and mysterious and sweet. And if you are getting ready to have another baby, trust yourself. All of it will come.