SIBLINGS, THE GIFT THAT KEEPS GIVING [GUEST POST]
this week’s contributor is from courtney, of parent tango, a she says/he says blog about marriage, family, and parenting. in this post she writes about the transition of being a mother of one to multiples, and the beauty of it.
I know several women who are pregnant with their second child. All of them have expressed trepidation over how they will ever be able to love the second child as much as they love the first. I can relate. The mother of four and an only child myself, I am here to tell you, you can love all of your children hugely. And you’re doing a good thing by given them another person to share their young life with.
As an only child, I went along obliviously happy as a lark, not realizing how fortunate I was to benefit from the perks of having my parents’ full attention and the opportunities that went along with that. But when I was 10, my parents told me they had had another baby, born prematurely, two years after I was born. He lived only an hour. Besides the heartache of my parents which I couldn’t even wrap my young brain around, I was suddenly so sad for myself. I went from being contentedly solo in the world to feeling the absence of a sibling I had never known to miss.
From then on, whenever my parents were particularly annoying (they grew increasingly annoying as I entered my teen years, naturally), I wished my brother had been there to commiserate with. I felt lonely for the first time ever and wished he had been there to hang around with. I was changed. And it changed what I thought about having my own children someday.
I married a man who had wanted to have four children since he was a young child. I wasn’t so sure about that number, since four people sounded like a crowd to me! As life and my husband’s fear of a vasectomy would have it, we did indeed have four. For the most part, our kids are friends and certainly devote a lot of time to talking about how incredibly annoying their parents are. It must be great for them.
Sometimes I look at them and remember when I was like my pregnant friend, unable to imagine how I could possibly, ever, love another child as much as I loved my first child. So in the wee hours of the morning, before heading to the hospital in labor I whispered to my sleeping two-year-old, “I’m sorry.” Yes, I apologized to my first child for giving birth to my second! It seems so unfair to the second child and it was so untrue. I wasn’t sorry I was having him. And I wasn’t sorry I’d given her a sibling. Of course, I adored him heart and soul immediately. And my first child loved him too when she wasn’t hating him.
I often watch my children interact (with some envy) and see how their relationships with each other morph and change over the years. They all have different relationships and roles with each other. Most of the time, they probably don’t consider each other much of a gift. But they are, providing playmates, confidants, and exercises in all sorts of life skills.
So I take back the apology I made to my daughter 20 years ago. I had more than enough love to go around. And I gave them each other.
this is so beautifully written and i appreciate the honesty in it. i am a bit nervous about introducing another child into the mix bc i am having so much fun with miss ramona and am a little worried how a little squish is going to change our dynamic! however, i know that what these two siblings will do for each other will be immense. thanks, courtney!