By Guest Blogger Julie Fritz
In the spring of 2016 my husband was ready to add another child to our family. I was not so sure. My son was about to turn two and things were good. He was sleeping all night, I had been done nursing for about 8 months, and I had finally reached my pre-pregnancy weight. I felt like me again. Not to mention, we were happy. I just wasn’t sure I could handle the stress of trying to get pregnant and then the changes that would come by adding another person to our family.
Getting pregnant with our first child went fairly smooth compared to what others go through. It took about 6 months, but that was a rough 6 months for me emotionally. You’re trying, then you’re trying not to try, it’s all very frustrating. Then there is the first year and all the exhaustion, bottle cleaning, pumping and all that goes with that. I was so overwhelmed with the idea of doing it all again, while simultaneously caring for a 2 year old. I doubted myself and wasn’t sure I could handle it.
My biggest fear about adding to our family was not that I would not be able to love a second child like I loved my first. I know lots of people feel that way, but I had seen lots of friends add to their family and their love just grew as their family grew. My fear was that by loving a second child, it would affect the love I had for my first child. I feared how it would change the relationship I had with him. I didn’t want to hurt him by sharing my love with another child. That really scared me. And guilt began to set in. How would this decision, that he was not a part of, change his world? What if he resented me? What if he didn’t like the baby? What if he regressed in his behavior because he felt less loved?
The thing is, all of these fears are normal. What I was failing to realize is that it was possible for my son to love this new addition to our family. It was also possible that I would be better at parenting two children than I thought. I could have never imagined the amount of love that would fill my heart and our home once our daughter arrived. I think it is much easier to make a list of the what ifs than it is to focus on all the good things that can happen and how change, though always an adjustment, can make things better.
I have to admit, there have been trying times in the last 14 months since our daughter was born. You have to learn to balance the needs of both of your children and sometimes that means someone has to wait. I also really struggled with making sure my son was adjusting to being a sibling. Older children have to learn to be siblings, that takes a little time even if they love it. You have to remember that, and help them grow into it.
Even though there have been tough times, the joys have been amazing. My son has never expressed any resentment about our daughter and there is nothing I have loved more than seeing my children love each other. It is the most beautiful thing I have been blessed enough to experience. I know they will fight, have issues with each other and deal with jealousy. But I also know they will love, protect and care for one another throughout their lives.
In the end, I am so glad we decided to do this. Every family is unique and I think parents know when their family feels complete. It is such a personal decision. My hope is that you would not make this decision out of fear, but that you would let your heart guide you. My husband convinced me that we should try for a second child by asking me this: “If you put fear and doubt aside, what does your heart say?” My heart said yes, and I’m so glad it did.
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