So, we’re at about 36 hours before Baby #3 arrives (it’s a C-section so I can be that precise). I feel like I should have all sorts of profound reflections to write down and share but there isn’t a lot profound rattling around in my brain right now.
People keep asking if we’re excited. Well, yes, of course. But truth be told I feel much more calm and relaxed than either of the other times. With John, he was our first and as the first it was pretty much all I thought about in my free time. I had no idea what to expect or what it would really be or feel like to be a Mommy. Maternity leave with him was this very intense one on one time where I just focused on him all the time.
With David, I was excited but also felt a little sad that the very close twosome that John and I had become was about to end forever. I knew it was a good thing, but it still was hard to know what it would be like and there was a part of me that felt like I was doing something terrible to John. (I’m an only child so the whole sibling thing was a bit of a mystery.) It was hard to think of David as more than “John’s sibling” before he was born. Of course as soon as he came into the world he was his own little individual person with a personality all of his own. He was no longer “the sibling” but just himself. I remember sheepishly asking H. soon after David was born if he had worried that he wouldn’t love him as much as John. I confess I did worry about that, it was just hard to imagine loving someone else like I loved John. H. (the youngest of 4 siblings) looked at me and just said “No” in a voice which implied I was bonkers. After David was born I realized that it isn’t a matter of loving him as much as John or even in the same way. Love multiplies instead of having to be divided. It was a matter of loving David for being David just as I love John for being John. When we were talking about this once, H. put it beautifully. He said that with each child the amount of love in the house grows exponentially. Not only do we love them, but they love us back and they love each other.
This time, I don’t have the first time parent worries and fears. And I don’t have all the angst about introducing a sibling into the mix. I have been told my many people that the third baby is really hard, that it will rock our world, that we’re going from man-to-man to zone defense. All those things. But I just feel much calmer and laid-back this time around. I think part of it is realizing that I don’t really know what it will be like to have a third child. I know that I don’t really have control over who this person will be or how he (or she) will fit into the family and change it. But I’m much more ok with that this time. Plus, in my free time I’m just as likely to be thinking about John’s soccer practice or David’s potty-training or planning for school as I am to be thinking about the baby.
It strikes me as I’m writing this post that these dynamics will likely be reflected in our parenting for years to come. John will always have more attention surrounding the things he does first because it will be the first for us too. The first time we do school, the first time we have a child playing T-ball, the first time we have a child drive, the first time we have a child go to college. But he’ll also have to deal with parents that are learning the ropes with him. David and the new baby will never have the intensity and exclusive focus that John has had but they will also benefit from parents that are a lot smarter and less uptight.
None of this is super profound, I know I’m pretty much describing what all birth-order books say. But it’s interesting to me to think about in terms of understanding our family.
And it’s good to know in advance what issues they will all be dealing with in therapy one day.