Her Bad Mother

Monday, April 21, 2008

Seconds

In four weeks, give or take some days, I will give birth. To a baby. Another one.

At this point in my first pregnancy, I was totally prepared for the arrival of the baby and for any and all potential natural disasters and had already moved on to alphabetizing the boxes of teas in the tea cupboard. I had purchased and assembled (okay, had husband assemble) a stroller (carefully selected after extensive research) and a crib (examined and re-examined and re-examined again for possible defects and potential baby-head-mangling gaps.) I had outfitted the crib in organic cotton linens and stocked the dresser with impossibly tiny onesies and receiving blankets and diapers and diaper ointment and baby jammies and wee socks and booties and even some of those creepy little fingerless cotton mittens that I never did use. I had stocked the bookshelves with baby books, and put pictures up on the walls, and put little stuffed toys on the daybed. If that baby came early, I was ready. If that baby came late, I was ready. If a tornado hit and shut down the city and we were suddenly faced with an extreme diaper cream shortage? I was ready. If the ice caps melted and the streets flooded and we were suddenly forced to float south on a crib made bouyant by a thousand Pampers Swaddlers and some teething rings? I. WAS. READY.

This time? I am not ready. Not even close.

I have one new onesie for this child - one - and that was a gift. I haven't even gone through Wonderbaby's baby things - the stuff that I didn't give away in the weeks and months during which I was convinced that I would never go through that new child thing again, HELL NO - to see if there is, by chance, one or two onesies or pajama sets that are not a) pink, or b) irretrievably shit-stained. The bassinet is in storage, as is the infant car seat. The BabyBjorn was given away, loooong ago, after Wonderbaby rejected it. And the nursery? Looks like this:


Those are bins of laundry - washed, yes, but unfolded, because who has time for that? - in the foreground. And a vacuum cleaner. And while there are books and magazines on the bookshelf, they're all old New Yorker magazines, Penguin Classics paperbacks and Martin Amis novels. Not a single work of Margaret Wise Brown to be found.

I tell myself that it doesn't mean anything, my inattention to the details of preparing for the arrival of this child. I tell myself that I'm slacking because I learned from the last one that all the organic cotton onesies and stocks of diaper cream in the world can't prepare you for the onslaught of mess and noise and love that a baby brings. I tell myself that what's different this time is that I know that money can't buy me baby-love. Or peace, or quiet, or security from fear. I tell myself that I'm not nesting, that I'm not feathering the nest, because I know that the feathers don't matter. That only my love, and his father's love, and his sister's love matter.

But still I worry. Isn't there a fine line between acknowledging what doesn't matter, and not caring? Mightn't I be perched on the slippery slope of devoting less care and attention to this child? This second child?

When I first found out that I was pregnant this time around, I was gripped - along with the joy - with fear and anxiety and ambivalence. I worried that while I was providing Wonderbaby with a wonderful, wonderful gift in a new sibling, I might also be depriving her of me - my love, my devotion, my attention, all of these things, undivided. I don't worry about that anymore. She has been and will always will be given enough love and attention and adoration to last lifetimes. Now, instead, I worry that I am bringing her brother into a life where everything that he is offered - love, attention, adoration, onesies - is divided. Handed down. Seconds. Even if what he is being handed down - even if what is divided - is in quantities that can only be measured by infinities, doesn't it matter that these are still seconds? That whatever he has - kisses, hugs, baby socks - will have been had by his sister, literally or figuratively, first?

That my love for him - although perhaps more the sweeter for coming from a calmer, more mature place - will not be my first, most intense love?

I will love him - DO love him - to the height and depth and breadth my soul can reach, etc. There will be no gaps or shortages in that love; there will be no further distance that that love could travel, no greater height that love could climb. It is, and will be, complete.

But it will always be the love that came second.

Does that matter?

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80 Comments:

Blogger daysgoby said...

It will not matter. You could not give him the love you are giving him without having WonderBaby first - you would be no less of a mother, but a different one entirely.

5:45 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I think the second child difficulty, when you are as in love with your first as you are, as I am, is that you are careful not to measure against the first. I think that would, WILL be hard, but it's something I'm conscious of, that trying to let each be who they will be.

And of course, as I said, I worry too, that loving a boy will be harder for me, take longer, maybe never gel as solidly as my boundless Pumpkinpie love. Still, I am trying to figure out how not to let that show to either of them, and hopefully, it will work itself out, because I could never give pumpkinpie that stick to beat her sibling with- and we now that some day, in some fight, it would come out, no matter how nice she is normally!

Perhaps the nice thing about the boy thing is that not everything can be handed down or compared as easily, after all.

5:45 PM  
Blogger jen said...

ah, but see that's just it. that's it right there:

He's got his sister's love too.

So already, it's more than last time. Much more.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

One of the wonderful things about people (and babies/kids) is that they're all different. He will not have seconds in most things. He'll have his own; demand his own. You'll love him the way you can love only him. Not second, but the first and only him.

5:54 PM  
Blogger the dragonfly said...

I wonder about this too. I'm not pregnant and, since my husband is in Iraq, I won't be for awhile...but still I wonder what it will be like to have another. And how could I possibly love another baby as much as I love my Little Mister? I will, of course, but it amazes me that that is possible.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

This idea always shocks me: as the oldest child of two girls, it always seemed to me that the baby, my sister, got the lion's share of everything. More attention, more love (because she was smalleer and cuter and more demanding), more rules relaxed for her, more of the privileges hard won by ME.

Huh.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I echo your feelings exactly...as our second child is due Aug 4th. Very poignant...

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Momily said...

My son is 2.5 years old and my daughter is 2 WEEKS old and so far the majority of my crying fits and weepy spells have to do with my son feeling neglected and overshadowed . . . which I thought I would have totally under control and really don't. The little bundle has mader her presence known, gets her fair share of attention and mostly comes first - even if she is relegated to wearing a lot of hand-me-downs.

6:42 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

Dude, I'm thirds and can barely fathom that my parents found enough to go around. Seriously though, that untapped unknown ocean of love inside of your family is incredibly deep, so deep badboybaby will need a boat to stay afloat.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

If it makes you feel even remotely better, my parents were rather unprepared for my arrival and didn't even have a crib until the next week. When my brother was born my mother had a crib for him (mine) but was literally in the middle of purchasing my new bed when she went into labor. Therefore my parents skipped right over loving me and straight onto loving my brother. So no worries! You all will be fine!

In all seriousness, I do believe that because I know you and I know that you're going to be just as wonderful a mother and loving and caring as you were the first time around.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

In a word ?

No.

I worried for a long time that my youngest would just look like my oldest in his clothes. Especially since they are close in size (Stewie just started wearing pyjamas that Linus wore last fall). To be honest, I see no similarities. They walk different, they look different, they ARE different, and I am not reminded of the older one at all. It's as if the hand me downs are completely new clothes.

And I do think that in some ways, as Mimi implied, that the second actually gets more - rules relaxed sooner, etc.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Tina said...

"Does that matter?"

Not a bit. As Heather said, above, he is so much more than your second child. He is a unique individual and you will love him for himself.

I had the same worries as mine came along. Turns out what I should have been worried about was what would happen when they reached ages where they were capable of conspiring together against their dad and me.

THAT'S what you should be worried about.

Hehehe...

7:24 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I'm a second child. And I think it does matter, but not in a negative way. My parents were broken in on my older sister, more down to earth and practical by the time they got to me and my younger sister -and these people really needed grounding (still my dad made then the more occasional attempt to teach me Greek as a child, so yes, grounding is important for him) And it matters in other ways. My sister is the person who made them parents. She shaped their identity in a way that I never will. On the other hand, I got her and nothing could ever replace that for me (and I think my younger sister feels that for me too). I made her an older sister, a claim I have all my own for all the ways that shaped her from age 3 til now - and that my younger sister jumped in on when she was 7. So you see, it matters in that each of us has our unique spot, each of us has our unique ways of being shaped and shaping others. This boy will be the baby of your family, the younger brother with three who adore him right from the start. There is something magical about that, I think.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Lady M said...

I have had so many of those same thoughts. It seemed cruel to deprive Q (now three years old) of being the center of our universe. On the other hand, he'll be a better human being, knowing that he isn't the center of the universe! My second son is six days old, and I see that there is plenty of love, so much love. And like a commenter wrote earlier, I'm just worried about when the boys are old enough to conspire together.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Maternal Mirth said...

Her Bad Barrett-Browning ... love it :) Why is it women are always scared about the love (or potential fear of the lack of) for any child born after the numero uno spot? (Complete side note: Notice men don't worry about that? Or anything involving love for that matter??)

Worry not, HBM, it doesn't matter what love came 1st. It's love, 2nd hand or not. Love does not wear, it's as fresh as the heart that doles it out. And my guess is, you gots a great FRESH heart. Eeew, now I sound like Hannibal Lector. But you're pick'in up what I am throw'in down, right?

Best of luck and lots of 2nd hand love :)

7:29 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

As my mother's 4th and last child, I can say I never felt short-handed in the love category. Of course maybe that was because I was the baby. My sister might feel differently. With my own, my son was first, and my daughter second. And, god help me, there are times I worry that I love my daughter more (she's six months old now). I attribute that to her baby-ness. -- My husband doesn't feel less loved because he was not the first... or second for that matter. I know it matters to some men, and it might annoy him every once in a while that I wasn't a blushing bride, but come on.

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Christy said...

I am due to have #3 in 5 weeks, and we are completely not prepared. Crib given away a few years ago, moses basket not yet delivered, baby's room not close to being ready, no baby carrier, no nursing bras...Material stuff aside, I do remember that when #2 was born my love was just as intense as with my first. And, I absolutely couldn't imagine our family without her. Now, at ages 4 and 7, #2 has my undivided attention while #1 is at school.

7:40 PM  
Blogger poopsy said...

I had similar anxiety about what my second would be taking away from my first. It's almost laughable to me now. They bring such joy to each other. And I can barely keep myself from just devouring my son. No shortage of love here!

7:48 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

No. It does not. Mamalove is mamalove.

8:10 PM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

Nope.

I swear.

(And not just because you'll be too tired to concern yourself with comparisons.)

8:18 PM  
Anonymous beth - total mom haircut said...

My second is now eight months old. This is something I thought about so much before he was born. Now I can tell you that he will also get a special kind of love that your first didn't get. My second son is my baby baby. My relationship and love for him are unique, just like what I have with my first is unique.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

I thought that I was less enthusiastic about my second baby because who could I possibly love more than my first child, this person who MADE me a mother? And then I had him and found myself sobbing with overwhelmed love in the deivery room, my BOY.
The DETAILS of motherhood, however, are substantially less interesting the first time around. Baby onesies are only interesting with the first baby.

8:29 PM  
OpenID mamasnest said...

I hear the transition from one to two is the toughest. Filled with exactly what you've described here and more. I'm not there yet, but will be, hopefully, someday. I don't think it's fair to yourself to say it's the love that came second, because it's your love first, just applied to a different little human. Don't know if that makes any sense... the whole love doesn't divide bit? ok. I'm done.

PS. I could totally swim in your writing. Loving it. :)

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Motherhood Uncensored said...

He'll be too tired being chased around by WB to care :)

8:44 PM  
Blogger Read Teach Sew said...

You love the first so much you feel like there isn't possibly room to love more, but when the second comes you can almost feel your heart doubling. More than doubling.

It will be enough.

Beautiful post.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Jenifer said...

I thought the exact same thing...right up until Rosebud was born and then it just vanished. It will never be the first, this is true, but you realize in an instant that it just doesn't matter.

As for onesies - a quick trip to the 24 hour superstore with a jug of baby soap for good measure will take care of all that.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Chicken said...

I've been wondering this myself as we prepare for the birth of our second child, also a son.

It keeps me awake at night.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

I went through the same thing with the arrival of my second boy. He's 7 months now. I had a moment of panic too, about two weeks before he was born because I hadn't even bought newborn diapers for him yet.

More importantly, I worried that I would not love him the same, as much, as my first son.

But he's here now, and he is so different from my first. We have our own routines, our own songs, and not everything is seconds or hand-me-downs.

It may take some time to develop the rhythm, but your son will be his own entity for you with his own set of firsts.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous pgoodness said...

I felt the same way as you. I was petrified as I got closer because I suddenly admitted that I couldn't imagine loving another little boy as much as the one I already had.

And then I had him. And I had time with him alone in the hospital. Just me and him, time to bond. Which is really what I felt what I was missing while pregnant and chasing a toddler around.

The comparisons are always there, and the guilt about things I did with my first and not my second or vice versa. But mandy above me is right - the second is so different, and there is a rhythm and feeling completely independent from the first, but it's all good.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

MU - I actually do find that very comforting. Not least because it means that WB is chasing something/someone other than me.

9:18 PM  
Blogger B. Durbin said...

About as far away from my first, and people keep asking me if the baby's room is ready. Room? We don't have a room. Heck, we don't have room, period. We're in an apartment with no external storage and people keep giving us enormous pieces of baby furniture.

Much appreciated, that, but it does feel as though we're getting squeezed out of the space.

*sigh* I am getting kind of sick of living in an area that is underserved by rentals. We're in one of the best deals going and it still isn't close to what we're going to need. I just pray we can find something better before the kid gets mobile, because kid-proofing this apartment would be, in a word, impossible.

9:26 PM  
Blogger MommyTime said...

I worried and fretted just like this over my second. The first day after her delivery (when I was still in the hospital) was lovely and bonding and intimate. Back home, with a 2+ yr old running around, I found the new baby was such a WONDERFUL sleeper that her older brother was still not as good as she was. And I fretted that I paid him more attention because he was more demanding. And that I didn't love her as much. Truth? In those early days, I probably did NOT love her in the same concrete kind of ways that I loved him. She was small and snuggly and sweet -- but she didn't DO anything, whereas he could sing and was trying to learn to play the harmonica and could tell me that he loved me. And yet, as we grew into a family -- which took some time, and many adjustments -- we became a unit of four that adores each other. Not all the same, but all equally, if that makes sense. And she does not get "seconds" because she is her own person, and she does things her older brother never did, and some things sooner than he did, and so on.

You will find this too, I imagine, that the anxiety about not having enough NEW to give the second child will dissolve as you find that the second child is himself NEW. And when he does things for his first time, they will be new again because they are new for him. And your pride and love and enthusiasm will not seem practiced or like sorry seconds. It will be all his in those moments.

And the fact that you worry about this means that no matter how long it takes for you all to adjust to being a bigger family, ultimately both of your children will know they are equally, deeply loved.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Bea said...

After Pie was born I felt a bit guilty about how obsessively I compared the two: how much they weighed, how much they cried, how different the experience was for me. It wears off after awhile, though - once the Pie outgrew her baby phase she became HERSELF, and comparisons became increasingly unnecessary.

(What is that lovely yellow colour on the walls?)

10:07 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

(Bea... it is a lovely yellow, isn't it? It's *citron*. It's the one thing we've done to that room since we moved in. LOVE.)

10:10 PM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

Yeah, you just don't love the second one as much. That's what all the moms say.

(snort)

10:11 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

Sometimes I stop and stare at my baby, #4, and I wonder how a heart can hold so much Love. It doesn't feel like a Love that is 4th, a Love tried out by the other three. It all feels new and wonderful and overwhelming just like it did each time before.

My first child got everything new and way before he needed it, my second came to us at 7weeks old and oh was he so sick. He needed so much extra time and attention, the love for him was too intense to handel at times and I know he felt it, even though that poor boy has never worn a new outfit in his life (poor child of hand-me-downs). My Third, my first girl, I Love her in a new way, a way I couldn't and will never be able to Love the boys, I know her--I was her. And I already told you about the 4th...

Try not to waste your energy on worrying about things that can't come true--no Love is second-hand.

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*surface from long months of lurking*
Not a mother, but I wonder if it doesn't work a bit like partner-love. It's always a different flavor, but no less intense for having been experienced with someone else.

11:34 PM  
Blogger Two Hands Full said...

Today my second did something and my older son exclaimed at how proud he was, and hugged his little brother. Some days the sound of them laughing with each other is the best sound in the world. And now, no matter how bad I screw it up or what they lose in life, they will always have each other.

For me, the joy of watching them love each other surpasses even those gasps of beauty with my first born child, when it was just us. And my youngest has grown all his life under the mantle of his brother's affection.

The first time you see your little girl, settled in a cushy spot with a pile of newborn brother in her arms and her feet sticking out the end, her tender hands in his face: that will change everything forever, even if the mundane takes you over for a while again.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Two Hands Full said...

I read your post an hour ago and I have been crying ever since. It inspired this post, which I hope you will read because it is a kind of love poem over the very thing you are about to do, from the perspective of someone who has lost the chance to do it. It is, maybe, a grieving celebration of the very thing you fear.

http://twohandsfull.blogspot.com/2008/04/womb.html

1:44 AM  
Blogger nomotherearth said...

Hey - we assembled the bassinette and got the carseat out of storage AFTER my water broke. It's all good. It all works out. You know that the baby doesn't really need much else but you at first - all the stuff is just an added bonus.

You think you can't love any child as much as your first, but you can. In fact, I'm finding that I'm loving this baby stage way more than I did the first time around. He nurses without my taking pills! He plays with toys! He chooses to be on his tummy without screaming! Quite the miracles.

And the way that he looks at his brother ALREADY - at just under six months - proves that he doesn't mind being second at all.

1:56 AM  
Blogger Sass E-mum said...

Remember the first child - how you were astonished at how much love you had to give. You'll be astonished all over again - perhaps not with the same accompanying shock - but you will get the realisation that there is so much love and none of it is second hand.

Your love will be the real deal every time.

2:10 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

No.

No.

I hate it when people say, "You'll see." But really? You'll see. They'll put that baby boy in your arms, you will look down at the new person you made, who needs you, to whom you are the entire Universe - and you'll see. You will forget you ever thought you might not be able to make your love stretch that far. It will overflow by leaps and bounds what you thought you could muster.
Honest. I felt the same way. And then I held my second baby and never worried about that again.

3:03 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

As the Mom of a girl and a boy, I can tell you that the love for your second, is just as intense, magical and overwhelming. I also worried before the birth of my son, would I love him as intensely as my daughter, as soon as you hold and kiss him, you know you worried for nothing. And the love your daughter will feel for him as well as their interaction with each other, is so amazing and beautiful. I wish you a quick and easy delivery.

8:52 AM  
Blogger the mad momma said...

oh i wrote the EXACT same things last year when i had my second. right down to the unprepared nursery and the fear that she would be the love that came second. but she manages fine in her brother's little shorts and teest and stained onesies... they're softer and more comfortable. and i love her in a way i cant find the words to describe. she's just incredible.

9:00 AM  
Blogger verybadcat said...

I dig it. I'm scared to have more than one kid, because it was always glaringly obvious to me that my sister is my Mom's favorite, and I'm my Dad's favorite, and that's really, really hard. Especially as a kid.

Here's the thing, though. WB came first. She'll do everything first. She'll *leave* first. Sprout will do everything after she's done it, but if he's your last, you'll have all your lasts with him- last baby bath, last 1st birthday party, etc. etc.

I think the most important thing is not to compare. Don't compare the experience- WB will take some of the attention from Sprout, but in return, Sprout gets a big sister. I'm a big sister, and I happen to think we're worth the sacrifice. What hurt the most was when one parent would compare us in a negative light. "Why can't you be calmer, like your sister?" "Why aren't you more athletic like your sister?" I'm sure that it was unintentional, but it left both of us with the feeling that we weren't good enough in our own right. That there was a polar opposite in the room, ready to reveal all of our weaknesses, which were given a lot more light than our strengths.

I hope Sprout has a happy, easy entrance into the world. I hope WB is as excited and proud as I was when my baby sister was born.

You know, what stops me from completely resigning myself to just one child is this: my parents will die someday, but I'll still have my sister. I will never be alone in the world. WB and Sprout will have their challenges, but they will never be alone in the world. :)

9:02 AM  
OpenID katesaid said...

Regardless of when the love came, chronologically, in your life, it will always be his first love. That's what really matters.

And he's getting that first love less stressed and complicated by worries about putting diapers on backwards or missing a feeding or drinking too much caffeine. You already know how to do the mechanics of keeping a baby alive, so you can focus a bit more on just plain loving him. And you'll find quiet, alone times - often in the middle of the night - to remind him.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Tracey said...

In my opinion? As a mom of 3 and a second child of 3, I think the first child actually gets the short end of the stick. They get the nervous, fretful mom. The one who has nothing better to do than to obsess over them, making them feel as though they really ARE the center of the universe. There is a reason that so many first-borns and singletons are classified as the overachievers and pleasers...

The second child doesn't get the love that came second. It gets the love. Period. I have special memories and relationships with each child, for different reasons. Birth order IS one of those reasons, but it's such a small one, really.

Crossing my fingers for you that you get a typical second child: calmer, more patient, and more secure in the fact that life doesn't always go your way, and that's OK!

9:16 AM  
Blogger marymurtz said...

Erma Bombeck once wrote about how her first child's baby book was full to bursting with every minute detail of his life, photos, locks of hair...and by number three, all that was in the baby book was a yellowed clipping from a newspaper of a recipe for Apple Brown Betty.

I felt like that as a kid--being the 11th of 12, I think I can offer a modicum of insight into this from the kid's point of view. I know my mother was more tired, more overwhelmed when I came along. I know that the love is exponential, though. She loves each of us for who we are, even when she can't remember which of us broke the good china gravy boat and which of us wrecked the car after prom. She can't recall which of us sent her roses when she turned 40 and which sent her the massaging neck roll...but she knows who sells real estate, who has four children, who sucked their thumb.

There's never enough time. There's never going to be enough time for perfection like with that first one. But there will always be enough love. It will be a different journey, a different map, but the love will be there, and this baby will feel your love however you bestow it. AND you will feel it, too. That's the beauty. The love you have is multiplied exponentially, and as you give it, that much and more is returned to you.

Enjoy this time, enjoy this baby. Some day you will look back on the questions you asked and wonder if that was really you thinking those things. My mom guarantees it.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous MJ said...

I keep reading about this difference in love between children and--as the mother of twins--I have to say I don't get it.

Maybe because I loved both my children intensely from the same moment that I don't understand this "first" love. Or, the issue (not what you've written but what others have) that one will love a second child differently. Of course, you will. She/he is a different person. Love is love with children, whether it's first or second (or third or fourth). I can honestly say that after almost 7 years neither one of my children has ever said, "You love my brother/sister more than me."

Generally speaking, I'd say that loving your children is a bit like loving your parents. You've got two of them. They're different; you love them both.

I also suspect--based on the experience of my friends who've had more children over the years--that this is something that is worrying now as your life is about to undergo a change. However, it's something that disappears once the actual child is there. A friend with three children (6, 3, and 1) assures me this is so. Yes, she tries to spend quality time with each child but she doesn't worry about the quality of her love for each child.

There's enough love to go around. And Wonderbaby will never remember her life without her brother (that's the nature of being 2) and her brother will never know a life without her. So, my vote is that it doesn't matter one bit.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

We are in the exact same place, you and I. I have a pile of baby clothes sitting in front of me. The exact place they've been sitting for over a week.

Baby's room? Pssh. Not even close to being done.

My heart? I'd like to say it's ready but I don't think it will be until I"m handed that wee baby. Then, yes, I'll be ready.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I suppose that I'm sensitive to this issue in part because, like verybadcat, I *was*, in my childhood and youth with my sister, very much locked, much of the time, in battles about who Mom or Dad loved more. I was Daddy's girl, and my (younger) sister was Mommy's, and we were both frustrated at different points by that (my parents, I should note, did nothing to cause to cause this, that I could see, it just seemed to fall out that way.)

When I indulge in my secret wish to have a 'mama's boy', I feel guilty for WB. When I wish that WB would be more of a mama's girl, I feel guilty for the boy.

Obviously, I worry too much.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Steph said...

Just saw the Globe article!

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't prepare for my first at all. I just couldn't get excited about baby clothes and all of that stuff. Everywhere. Ugh.

I wonder how my family dynamic will play out when/if we have another? In my husband's family, he's very much a mama's boy- without being that kind of mama's boy- and in mine, I kind of felt/feel like an afterthought- second kid, been there, done that, etc. It all makes me wonder if we should even try for another. But I do want another one day...

10:21 AM  
Anonymous wright said...

As always your post completely moves me. As I sit here thinking about getting pregnant with #2, I ponder all these things. You say them so much more eloquently, and for that I thank you!

10:32 AM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

Mailing address, please. I have three Rubbermaid bins full of sorted, washed, carefully folded boy clothes, organized and labeled by age, from when my son was younger. All saved just-in-case for a second baby.

But I don't have one right now. And you do. And it seems suddenly rather ridiculous to me that these things are just sitting in my basement.

So I could totally send you some stuff, if you're interested.

(I don't suppose customs would hold up a shipment of onesies?)

10:45 AM  
Blogger Mitzi Green said...

does it matter? i don't know, i'm the firstborn. ask my siblings. though they don't seem any worse for wear. my husband is the second (and last), and he was (and is) the favorite. my own firstborn is the STEPchild, and the "difficult" one at that, so i've been as concerned as you, only my concern has been for him, that HE will end up playing sloppy seconds, not this baby that is currently driving me nuts with his hiccups...

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If someone were to cut off one of your fingers, which would hurt the least? You love each one for a different reason in a different way & they are all part of you.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous pkzcass said...

I had a second child so the first would have a sibling. I wasn't even doing it because I necessarily wanted a second child, but I felt my first son should have a sibling. I'm the last of 6, and while I remember my parents being tired and somewhat cranky (after 1 girl and 5 boys, then me -who could blame them?), I never felt that there wasn't enough love to go around. I still got plenty from my parents, and plenty more from my siblings.

So when my second son came along, I wasn't prepared for the whole lotta love that I'd have for HIM as an individual. (It helped that he was a very easy baby, unlike is somewhat difficult older brother.)

I guess the point I'm trying to make is to stop worrying and believe what everyone else has said here...that you will love this baby just as much. And he'll be getting even more with the love of his older sister. My greatest joy was the first time my younger one actually laughed out loud at my older one. It makes your heart swell.

Only four more weeks! I can't wait!

10:59 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Jaelithe, doll, I would totally take you up on that. Hell, if Customs lets J&J KY lube across the border, they gotta let a few onesies, no? xo

11:26 AM  
Blogger caramama said...

As the youngest of three, I never felt any less loved than my siblings. Some of us even love having hand-me-downs because our cool older siblings wore them/had them first!

When I think about first loves, I try to remember that my husband was not my first love yet that does not dimish my love for him at all. I think kids are the same way, except you never fall out of love with any of them. The love just grows.

Besides, your little boy will have the first older sister... something WB did not have!

12:09 PM  
Blogger Don Mills Diva said...

Doesn't matter. Not to him anyway. He will be your first boy, he'll always have a sibling to dote on him, he'll be kicking your ass like rowdy little boys do and neither of you will have time to give these issues a second thought...:-)

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Kelly said...

I'm lazy so haven't read through the 60-some comments before me but one thing I realized after #2 was born. It's not the same. Do you love hubby the way you love WonderBaby? Nope. Not.even.close. Same difference will be had between your WonderBoy and his older sister. I have two boys and don't love them even remotely the same. The same amount, heck yeah, but it's so completely different. THEY'RE so completely different, that I couldn't love them the same.

Perhaps, if you asked me if I love one more than the other, I'd tell the pretty truth and say "no, I love them the same". Perhaps I'd tell you the unpretty truth that I love whomever is being least annoying and most adorable at that very moment. I love THAT ONE most. But then, that particularly unpretty truth is fickle in it's choice. ;)

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

A parent's love, even if it's divided, is the same. I have 5 children and I love all the same. My attention is not equal because the one who needs my attention most will get it. And in time, each one will one wa or another will require my undivided attention.

Good luck to you! Love the last allusion to Browning's "How Do I Love Thee"

12:51 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

I have the same unpretty truth as Kelly! There are times where there is a preference. But it's never the same one.

When Mayhem was born he had one new outfit & all his brother's baby clothes. (They are 15 months apart) He had no bed, he had no room, he had his brother's boppy, his brother's sling, his brother's bouncy chair, his brother's toys and even his diapers were initially the ones his brother had outgrown before using. He was 3 before he ever experienced my sole undivided attention for more than than occasional hour here and there. Yet despite that, it has never occurred to him he is second in anything but age

1:33 PM  
Blogger Little Monkies said...

My sweet babygirl couldn't be any more loved even though she's the second. I don't know if having one of each gender makes a difference, but oh, I EAT her UP!

I agree with Kelly on this one too. It's usually the one that is annoying me least that gets the doe eyes.

It will be fine. The fit will be found.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Syko said...

Who cares when the love comes? It's still love, and as long as it is there, it doesn't matter if it's a little more today or a little less.

I found with my three that I love them all to an infinite degree. There is no limit, no ending. I just love them with all my being. Some days I like one or the other better, but I never feel less love for anyone. Ever. There's no limit on the amount of love you can have. If you had twenty kids, you'd love them all to that eternal degree.

As for the nesting - you are tireder! Your body is older, you have a toddler, this pregnancy is bound to make you feel more tired. And also, now you know that the STUFF doesn't matter. The baby doesn't care if he's in organic cotton onesies or in a diaper and shirt from Goodwill's Thrift Store. All the baby needs is enough food going in, and lots of love. I imagine you will be handling that.

I am getting so excited about the Sprout, Her Bad Brother, and can hardly wait to see a picture of him (other than the spooky in utero one).

1:41 PM  
Blogger Laural Dawn said...

For me it's been the weirdest thing.
I don't know how to explain it except that when Chloe was born I felt like I loved both her and Matthew more than I had ever felt love before.
BTW, I did the same thing - I gave everything away because I was never having another baby. I kept a few things that I loved, but really not much.
It's just a good excuse to go shopping.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Godless Sunday said...

OMG! Good luck. How exciting!
You will make a lovely 2x mom.

I know PRECISELY how you feel. I was not nearly as prepared for the second as the first!

3:16 PM  
Blogger kgirl said...

Nope, won't matter. It's a different love, but holy hell, it's just as fierce.

And we still don't even have a nursery for our second. She's 5 months today. Whoops.

3:38 PM  
Blogger ├╝berburber said...

I just have to tell you, I love love love your blog. Can't remember how I found you but I stop by from time to time. You really tell it. Like it is. It takes me back to so many of the feelings I was having during that hazy schmazy time of my first infant/second pregnancy. Wow. Well, my dear fellow blogger and mom, you won't believe how you will have access to all this new (well, it's always been there) love when he comes. Good luck to you. I'll stay tuned!

4:53 PM  
Blogger ├╝berburber said...

oh, and the nice thing is that he's a BOY so if it helps you, you can call it "boy love" and "girl love". The boy love's gonna rock your world...there's nothin' like it!

4:55 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

uberburber: thank you! (*blushes*)

4:57 PM  
Anonymous roz said...

The wonderful thing about love is it's immeasurable. It just comes and comes from some bottomless bucket. You don't love your husband any less than you did before WB, right? Nor your other family. It'll just be as unique as your love for every other person in your life.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Oh darling. I could have written this only so many months ago. Except for the part about having a nursery, because what we had was a used co-sleeper in our own bedroom. Voila! Nursery!

First love is first love. Nothing can take that away. But second love isn't lesser love. You'll see...

10:05 PM  
Blogger The Estrogen Files said...

Second baby but not second love. It's so amazing how the heart expands in places like this.

The love for baby2 is no less than it was for baby1. Maybe not more love, but more mature love.

Me, I'm on baby5 and each love is stronger and lovey-er.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

I don't know you, but those words could have come out of my mouth. I worry about all of those things and taking away from my daughter (my second is due in Sept) and how in the world can I possibly love someone as much as I love her. When this baby is born you'll have to confirm to us all that it can be done and that none of it matters, I'm going to need to hear it too.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pregnant with my first child and shockingly, have done next to nothing in preparation.

And this is what I've been socialized to believe in our modern world: I should be reading, attending birthing classes, buying, decorating.

And this is what I've heard or read about. The colour co-ordinated nursery, art commissioned baby paintings, the advanced stroller, clay mouldings of a swollen belly adorning a room, the recommended diapers, the dangers in plastics, the need to breastfeed, how to parent to be a good mother, and this list could go on, exhaustively.

My husband shrugs. "Children are not products, nor art we create and mold. Breathe," he says. "There are no guarantees."

And so, here we are, anticipating an arrival for which we are both dismally unprepared, hoping only the child is born healthy, will experience exhilirating moments of happiness with himself, the world, with others throughout his life, will have a caring and discerning heart, and above all, will forgive us, others, and that oftentimes cruel and difficult world, for the inevitable shortcomings, failures, and disappointments that ambush us all.

Do not worry Catherine. Though he comes second, you know you loved long before you'll ever hold him.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Of course it doesn't matter. If loving your child, the sequal, was wrong then we would have a world of messed up younger children. But thats not the case at all.

I'm the second of three and I've never felt for one day that my brother or sister recieved any more or less love than me. That unconditional love thing fills in all the holes and crevices for all of your children.

It's not like you can have 10 first borns!

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

catherine no need to worry your heart will expand and grow with so much love that it will be overflowing.LAVANDULA

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Rebecca F. said...

I don't have time to read all the comments but I just wanted to say that with a new baby sometimes comes a little resentment for baby # 1. I know it sounds odd but perfectly normal that while you are trying to love and care for new baby and yourself, you may find it hard to capture the feelings for baby # 1. I'm typing as fast as I can and am not very explaining it very well but if it happens, it is normal and it WILL PASS.

Best of luck.

Rebecca F.

10:39 AM  

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