Monday, February 2, 2009

An answer to a question

which Morgan asked of me in the last comments. This is something I struggled with myself and when I figured out the answer, I felt almost a "duh" moment and maybe others may feel the same feeling. Therefore I feel I should try to share it with others in hopes it may help.

Her comment was "... now that Mason is here I still want more children but something inside of me is saying "would it take all the attention off him?".."would it be unfair to Mason to not be my one and only?"..."would he get jealous and not feel as loved?".....I know all of these things sound silly but the love I have for him is SO strong I don't know if I could share it fairly, does that make sense? Did you ever feel that way after your first?"
MANY mothers feel like this when thinking of another child. But this is what I think many don't think about ... Why is #1 so special?

Really. I've heard the argument of waiting for #2 a certain length of time to ensure they get enough mommy alone time, but #2 (and all others) ~never~ get "alone time" with Mommy and Daddy. Somehow I feel this is always skipped when thinking about having more children - whether it's getting alone time or if attention/love would be taken away from the first.

Think of it not as #1 losing out on anything, but what #2 should be gaining. Why would anyone want to ensure #1 gets 2 years sole time with mommy when #2 would NEVER get sole time? Wouldn't you want to have another baby as quickly as possible so #1 wouldn't get special treatment over #2? Think about saying this to your second child ... "We waited a few years to have you because we wanted to be sure Timmy felt special having one on one time with Mommy and Daddy, even though you, Billy, always have had to share our love." See? When you think about it that way, the whole worrying about #1 losing out seems just silly. Anything you'd think #1 was losing out on is saying #2 doesn't get in the first place.

There is a separate worry parents have which can't be thought of this way, which is the whole "How can I love another child as much as I love my first?" And that answer is simply "You will." Love has no end and it will just continue to expand. Your first won't get less love as you make room for your second. In fact, your love for your first will even expand as you get to see your first in another light - as a sibling.

If you don't want to have another baby because you don't want your child to ever have to share your time, I can understand that. I've seen many parents want only one because they want their first to have everything given to them alone (time, attention, resources, etc) without ever having to share. But one thing they would never have to share if there was a sibling is your love. I promise - there is always enough love to go around.


Cate said...

Maybe it's just my dumb femara affecting me somehow but the last part made me cry. I know my parents planned my brother close to me so that I would always know the extra love a little brother would provide and when my baby brother came along it just expanded and I never doubted that they love all of us very much. I can't wait to have another one!

Heather said...

When you have a second child, your love is not divided it is multiplied!!

areyoukiddingme said...

My mother (whose sisters are each 5 years apart) believed that each child should have a companion. That makes me the companion to the accident. It's so flattering to know that...

I know I want my daughter to have a sibling. I knew from the first week I had her that I would want another baby. But she will always be special because she's the first - the experiment. A second child will be less nerve-wracking. There will be less fear. There will not be less love. Maybe the lack of fear will make up for the sharing of attention.

Rachel Inbar said...

Totally agree. I also think that the very best gift you give a child is siblings. I have 2 girls who are 1 year and 11 days apart. Everyone assumes it was not planned, but we prayed to have another right away and when I see them playing together, it's obvious how wonderful it is for them - they each have a built-in friend at home.

We do make an effort to take them out separately, so that they each have one-on-one time with one of us too.

When my first was born (after 4 years of IF) I couldn't help but look at her and think she would probably be an only child... and that thought made me so sad. (Didn't quite work out that way, but that's what I thought then.)

Seriously? - Erin said...

You are so right, and it always made me wonder when people said that. We have friends that waited 4 years to get pregnant again and that child doesn't know how to share anything, I am wondering how it will work out when the new one comes in April.

I am one of two, my mom always said two arms to hold to two children. I wonder if our little man will be an only. That is something we haven't discussed but I thought about it last night when he was moving, will this be the only time I feel that?

I hope the little one is doing well!

Krista said...

Even though my brother and I don't really have a relationship as adults, I'm glad I didn't grow up an only child. I often wonder what family life would be like had my big sister Lori survived.

I want B to know life with a sibling. Even though I'd kind of like a boy, I'd almost rather have another girl so she'd have a sister. My mom and grandmothers are/were very close to their sisters and it was something I always wanted.

Steph said...

Nancy, you are very wise.

My SIL says she hesitates about having more because her 4yo DD would "have to share". Quite frankly, her DD needs to LEARN to share..but I digress.... ;)

And she says, "I just can't love another baby like I love her."

Um. Yes you can.

It's a personal decision whether people want to have more kids, but in the long run they'll look back, and, like you said, they're going to wonder why they placed so much value on #1 having one-on-one attention when none of the other kids will have it.

It's not a punishement to a child to "share" the parents' attention.


Lisa said...

Very well put Nancy! I did not have the option of waiting to have my second since he came 16 minutes after my first. I can honestly say that I could not love either of them any more than I already do. Had they come alone, the first one would not have any more of my love than he does now even though he would not have been sharing it.

It is so wonderful to watch the interaction between siblings. It is precious and honestly helps the love you have for each of them grow even more.

I plan to wait before having a third child. Mainly because I need to feel ready to have another baby when I will have two little boys to hase after. Secondly because I need to prepare myself for the possibility that when it happens, there could be two more!!

Anonymous said...

Well put Nancy.

My kids are 3 years apart, but that timing had nothing to do with the concept of "sharing"--it was just when DH and I were financially and emotionally ready for a second child. It was the right timing for our family.

I grew up an only child. My father wanted another kid when I was around 2, but my mother refused to try again. She said the same things that some other moms say: She didn't want to "share" me. She was afraid another baby would take her attention away from me. Etc. While I recognize that no parent is under an obligation to give their child a sibling, I still really wish I had one. I hated being an only child and I still do. My mother's decision impacts future generations too--my 2 kids have no aunts, uncles, or cousins on my side of the family.


Kaci said...

I never worried about the love, the sharing, the attention - from the time I wanted children, I wanted 2. But then when I got pregnant with the 2nd I worried. Only about the love part - I couldn't imagine loving another baby as much as I loved Matthew. But of course I do. There's definitely enough love to go around.

Mel said...

You make a great point about #2 not ever getting "alone time." I never really thought about it that way before. We haven't quite gotten to the discussion of #2 yet, but I know we are both dreading the whole topic. Not because we don't want a second or anything, just because it again becomes an issue of fertility treatments and money and all the drama that comes with it. It was hard enough when we didn't have a third person in our life... I just wonder what it will be like for us to deal with in addition to a child!

Kimjj514 said...

very well put, Nancy! Your love just grows like you wouldn't think possible. What an amazing feeling to be able to love someone the way we love our children.

Jewels said...

Great Question - Great Answer.

Peeveme said...

HI Nancy, as usual I so agree with you. For me it's a little different. My #2 is from donor eggs (#1 was my eggs). So in addition to all those thoughts parents have when having #2 I have this overlay of the donor thing. So while I can dismiss most of that thinking (how can I love #2 when I love #1 so much, will #1 feel ignored? ect)I need to also consider the donor aspect of the pregnancy. I've been writing a post in my head about it for months. It's just not ready yet.

Rachel said...

I'd LOVE another baby, but it's finances, not timesharing that is standing in the way. By finances I mean infertility treatment, not feeding the little beasts. If things had gone right, my kids wouldn't be 10 years apart. But things didn't go right, becuase that's not the way my life is.
So, I agonize.
You know, it's almost easier to get pregnant 'by accident' because you don't have these decision to agonize over. They're already made. That kid is coming, deal with it.

Sarah R said...

Sometimes I wonder if it's possible for me to make another baby as CUTE as Andrew. Isn't that silly? I just think he's so adorable. I wish he had been twins!

That said, DH goes between, "I'm getting a vasectomy as soon as possible" and "Ask me in 5 years and maybe we can have another. He even tells Andrew he's never getting a sibling (even though Andrew is too little to understand).

Shea said...

I will admit that I struggled with the thought about how I might feel about my second child. I remember even crying during my labor as I looked at my oldest's picture because I did not think that I would be able to love my next child as much as my first! (I thought I was dealing with all of that though because there was only a 15 month difference between them.)

I was completely wrong and I have never thought that way again. I couldn't imagine my life without BOTH of my boys.

the mol said...

We wanted to have our second one soon after our first. It's going to be pretty tricky, with our second coming along smack in the middle of our first's cancer treatments, but we'll make it happen.

We haven't worried for a second about #1 losing out on attention, although we have thought about that issue for #2, with #1 being ill.

I think that our oldest will always be extra-special because of all that he's had to go through. But the next one will be the baby for awhile because we are going to be extra careful about if and when we want a third kid.

JP said...

Nicely stated. I love that last sentence.

Morgan said...

Thank you for taking the time to answer that question because it has been burning a hole in my mind for some time now and your post about having more babies reminded me of that.

I never looked at it the way you said it, #2 NEVER gets alone time with mommy and that is so true but I never thought of it that way, so thank you for opening my eyes to a new perspective, and thanks again for taking the time to answer my question! Now I just have to worry about if I get some sex soon because at the rate we have been going the past year, there is no more babies in the forcast! lol

Jenera said...

What a good way to look at it, I had never thought of that. When we decided how long we were going to wait between kids it was based on my being ready to add another to the mix. I knew Aidan would need a sibling and deserved one.

I was very worried about sharing my love with two kids but I was also concerned about Aidan. It was literally just the two of us and we are close and I was concerned about how it would be for Aidan now that it wasn't just him that my attention was focused on.

I am so glad that I underestimated him because it just reinforces what a great kid I have.

I think no matter what your situation is in regards to fertility, having kids is a huge decision and so many thoughts and worries come up. Being a person that doesn't like kids I amazed at the love that I have for these two little people in my life. It's also a bit scary the amount of love I'm investing in them too.

Kaci said...

I had to laugh at your comment about me inspiring you - if I posted a pic of my flabby ass (and belly and thighs) I don't think you'd feel so inspired! But then again, if I did some comparison shots, maybe you would! LOL

Kelly said...

That's a perfect way to explain the #1 vs #2+.

Gibson Twins said...

In my personal situation, I have a different thought process on waiting for the second pregnancy. My first pregancy was b/g twins. They are two now. I realize that if we are lucky enough to have a third baby, I would ideally like to wait til the twins are in school. When the twins are in school, baby number three will have plenty of one on one time until he/she goes to kindergarten. Not sure if that makes any sense. I agree that siblings are great for eachother, but also that they need that critical early development one on one time. I personally look forward to being able to do the things with one baby that I missed out on because of the hustle and bustle of life with newborn twins.