An Open Letter to My First Baby
This letter has been a very long time in the making – 38 weeks, to be exact. But, to be honest, I really wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to verbalize, let alone write down, the feelings I have towards you.
I have watched you over the last almost-10 months and wondered how you were fairing in that sweet little head of yours. In the beginning, I saw you try to grasp the concept of “another baby” joining our family. I knew it was way too existential for you but you were (somewhat) excited anyway, mostly because we were.
Then, as the Hyperemesis kicked in for me, I watched your excitement turn to fear and worry about me. That broke my heart. Seeing your little face so concerned as mommy puked into bucket and had IV after IV placed at home for 5 months straight – it made me seriously wonder maybe this was a bad idea, this whole second baby thing. After all, I have to think about you first and foremost, not the hypothetical baby in my belly. And right then, you were struggling. But, even that became your somewhat new normal and you adapted. You learned how to help me get things I needed when I couldn’t do it myself, and I learned that there is a such thing as too much Frozen.
Side note – I will forever equate Frozen with the feeling of being nauseous. But, that is my burden, not yours.
As time moved on, I saw you beginning to react to my growing belly, the reality of a baby growing every day. I took the advice of others and incorporated you as much as I could – I brought you to every ultrasound and doctor’s appointment, let you help me pick decorations for the nursery, had you help me open gifts at my baby sprinkle, encouraged you to feel the baby move in my belly. All the while, I could see the little gears working in your head, wondering where this baby will leave you once the baby powder settles. I will never forget the comments you made, like, “Once I’m a big sister, Mommy and Daddy won’t be able to hold me anymore.” Or, “I’m not your baby. I’m a big girl.” Or my least favorite, “I don’t like you. I only like Daddy.”
Luckily for you, your momma is a therapist, and knows this is all part of the process. I also know what the not-so-hidden message is behind those words.
You are afraid you are being replaced.
You see, my little pumpkin head, NOTHING could be further from the truth. Truth be told, I have worried for months that I wouldn’t love the second baby as much as you. And, in some respects I still do. I wonder how I could possibly love another as much as you, since my love for you is so…indescribable. Consuming. Infinite. Boundless. Heavy. Amazing. These words do not even fully capture the essence of how a mother feels about her children. But nonetheless, how can I feel this way about two kids? Is it even possible?
You are my first baby, and will always be my baby. It wouldn’t matter if I gave you one sibling, or the entire cast of Eight is Enough – you will always be my first and will always be special. After all, you are the one who taught me how to be a mommy.
You are the one who taught me that although pregnancy is awful, you get such an amazing blessing at the end that it makes it all worth it.
You are the one who taught me that the love I have for your Daddy and our house and barn-full of animals will NEVER compare to the love I have for my babies.
You are the one who taught me that shit (literally) happens and you have to roll with it. Remember the exploding diaper in the airport incident? Yeah, me too.
You are the one who taught me that being awake when the rest of the world is asleep can be the best time of the day.
You are the one who taught me that Christmas really is a magical time, especially when seen through a child’s eyes. You also taught me that I need to stay on my Elf on a Shelf game, because you will promptly call me out if he hasn’t moved overnight.
You are the one who taught me that you don’t know fear and helplessness until you are up with a sick infant in the middle of the night.
You are the one who taught me to strive to be the best version of myself, because you need me to be.
You are the one who taught me that parenting is HARD. Like, feeling-completely-inept-as-my-3-year-old-toddler-calls-my-bluff-and-I-have-no-idea-where-to-go-from-here-and-I-kinda-wish-I-could-go-to-work-where-my-job-is-clear-cut HARD.
You are the one who taught me to tap into my momma bear and fight the good fight for you, because NOBODY puts my baby in the corner. (Also? You taught me that pop culture references from the early 90’s are completely lost on you.)
You are the one who taught me that even the best antidepressants and therapists can’t beat the mood-elevating qualities of the laugh of a child.
You are the one who taught me that my life would never have been complete without you.
You are the one who taught me that no matter how many times I tell you how much I love you and that you will never, ever be pushed aside or demoted, you will not feel at peace until we are all home and you see for yourself. So, until then, we will spend lots of time together, I will do my absolute best to make you feel as special as I know you are, and we will cherish the time we have as just the two of us.
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