When I was pregnant with Maya, a lot of friends gave me startlingly similar advice – or maybe it was more of a warning?
They gently cautioned that at some point, perhaps during the pregnancy or soon after baby arrived, I’d panic that I wouldn’t be able to love another little one as much as I loved Lila. As I heard this repeated from so many people, I started to wonder what it really meant. It sounded dreadful but also made sense.
Oddly enough, I never seemed to have this feeling set in – at least not in a way that was palpable.
I haven’t felt concern that I can’t love these two magical humans enough – heck, it feels amazing to have any one or thing to love this way – but I do have an awareness that I’m able to love them very differently right now.
A newborn relies on you for everything. Everything. You monitor every sneeze, poop color and potential rash. You google all the things because you have this overflowing desire to protect and nurture her. You’re needed all the time by someone who doesn’t yet know she needs you.
Love for your older child is different, but just as strong and deep-rooted, because you know her so completely. And she knows you. And shows her love right back to you.
So, I don’t worry about not having enough love, but I do worry about time. About the logistics of life with two kids, and what that means for all of us. It already feels like there’s no time and endless to-do lists, and I’m not even back to work right now.
If you’ve lived it, you know the newborn stage is sort of all hands on deck. Schedules may or may not happen. Meals are eaten cold and while standing. And days and nights are a continuous blend of fatigue.
All the while, the days drag on but also pass alarmingly quickly. You spend your days alone with your baby, watching a miraculous little human grow and change. Long hours of rocking and bouncing that prompt you to question your own existence.
So yeah, time. The simple things are what I miss the most right now. Being able to do bedtime with Lila every night. Having time (and energy?) for actual conversations with Jim (that don’t have to do with burping or bills). I miss having time for spontaneous outings with the family.
Yet I feel guilty for wanting anything other than the exact moments I’m living, because I know how fleeting this stage is. I know one day I’ll want to be needed this way by two girls who are far too independent.
And as the countdown to returning to work starts, I feel a deep sadness. Not that I won’t be home full time – I don’t believe that’s the best fit for me – but because this time is too short. We won’t be ready to have a 180 transition out of our calm cocoon into fulltime hustle and bustle.
Soon, days and weeks and months are going to pass by in a stressful frenzy. There will be not be a balance, and there will be more asked of me in different roles than I am confident I can (or want to) handle.
I worry that I’ll miss too much with my kiddos while working, while recognizing that I’ll miss too much of myself if I don’t.
When I think about life right now, I’m happy I don’t worry about a lack of love, but wish I had a magic button to just have more time.