Thursday, February 5, 2009

faces only a mother could love

Before there were two, I wondered how I could possibly love another child.

Malachi was a no-brainer. It had been nine years, since I had been a mother to a newborn, and he was a boy. Both the difference in age and gender from my firstborn assured me I'd adore him as much as I do my eldest. As expected, once he came I fell promptly in love. Head over heels. A smitten kitten. Totally enamoured was I with my new son in all his glorious babyness.

And at the height of my rapture, just over 4 months into this courtship, a little thunderbolt (known as the BFP in some circles I frequent) sent me tumbling from cloud nine back down to earth where I was dished a big face-full of reality.

I was pregnant.

Unexpectedly to say the least. Furthermore, I knew (and I mean KNEW) down deep in the bottom of whatever part of a mother's body manufactures intuition, that I would have another boy. I knew this before I was even pregnant with Malachi, that children, once they came, would be of the male persuasion, and that there would be 2 in succession. Perhaps it was just that the thought of any girl having to follow up her sister's goody-two-shoes-perfect-princess act was unthinkable. Whatever it was... I knew we were having another boy. And sure enough the ultrasound confirmed what was truth in my own mind. Thyra and Malachi were going to have a baby brother. We were going to be parents to another son.

That's when the fear started to creep in. And the guilt.

I had a girl. The Daughter. The very best kind of daughter who still amazes me every day with her awesomeness.

I had a boy. First Son. A wonderful, snuggly baby boy who truly filled me up with unspeakable joy.

What the heck could this surprise addition do for us that hadn't been crossed off the list already by his older siblings?

I wondered how I would love him. How my heart could possibly stretch anymore to accomodate another little soul. I worried about how growing up playing second fiddle to his barely older brother would affect him in his adulthood. I envisioned hours of therapy and tell-all books (Second son: A Chronicle of Emotional Neglect) which would prove necessary for his wounded psyche to heal.

Everytime I realized at the end of a busy day, in which First Son occupied every waking moment, that I hadn't even thought about my gestating infant I was wracked with guilt.

The endless hours poring over fetal development timelines, and pregnancy books, counting down until obstetrical visits and researching designer baby gear were a thing of the past. The methodical counting of First Son's days in utero (of the "I-am -23-weeks-4-days-11 hours- pregnant sort) were totally abandoned this go-round. I fell terribly behind on scheduled lab appointments, forgot to count fetal movements, and went to bed most days (once the telltale nausea eased it's death grip in the 2nd trimester), forgetting I was even the grower of new life.

Eeep. What kind of mother could I possibly be to Second Son if I was this negligent already?

All of this guilt and fear for nothing.

Second Son finally made his way into the world and drove away every worry and doubt I'd had. I was in love again. And it was just as blissful this time as it had ever been.

But then I discovered the biggest fallacy of parenthood.


Sure maybe if your heart can be portioned up like pie the pieces work out equally. A third for you, a third for you, and a third for you. Perhaps what I'm trying to say though is that the pieces come served on different plates. Maybe one piece is warmed up, and one comes a la mode or with a dollop of whipped cream.

Are ya following me here?

I would not trade any of my children for the other. My heart belongs to them all equally, but I do not love them in the same way.... because they are not the same children. They have different personalities and different insecurities and different talents and different struggles. They are cute and strange and wearisome in their own bizarre and wondrous ways.

And what I have discovered is that a mother's love is like breastmilk. It miraculously changes to suit the specific needs of your child at that moment in time. The love I am serving up to First Son as he somehow manages to turn dinnertime into yet another comedic variety-hour, is not the same love I am serving up to Second Son as he giggles shyly at me nuzzling his neck. The parts of myself that I recognize in one of my children is totally absent, for better or for worse, in the other. I relate to them differently, I appreciate them in different ways, and I love them with every fibre of my being.

But I don't love them the same. And I am totally ok with that.

1 comment:

letisha said...

ok have such a talent with words! I think you should write a book...maybe a children's book and make millions! hee hee, seriously!

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