Love

When my daughter was born, I was slightly wrong-footed by my feelings for her. My very first thoughts were: “Phew! I never have to do that [i.e., labour] again!” My husband and I also repeated that to each other out loud with great relief a few more times as the midwives cleaned the baby up and brought her to us. Second and final child. For sure.

Then she was in my arms and I was: proud, elated, moved, excited and also still kind of high from the entonox.

I also thought: hm, she’s a little wrinkly and very small.

I think in those first few days I loved her just as much as I’d loved my son in his first few days – but then I didn’t have anything to compare it to. When The Toddler arrived to meet his sister the next day, zonked out in his pushchair from all the excitement of a sleepover at a friend’s house and seeing Gran in the morning, I felt overwhelmed with the two whole years’ worth of ever increasing love I had for him – and by comparison our new baby daughter seemed like a stranger. So new, so small, so unfamiliar. She slept and cried and fed. The Toddler giggled and sang and chatted and played and imagined and wept and shouted and ran and cuddled and did Monster Voice.

The Baby was hard and painful work. I loved her, but I loved my toddler.

Now the really tough earliest days are over, I find that my love for her has grown and grown and grown. She is smiling now, and making gurgly happy conversational sounds. She follows objects with her eyes and looks around with keen interest at everything that’s going on around her. She has filled out and looks more and more like a little person. I now find myself looking forward to seeing her smile in the morning, loving spending time alone with her when the Toddler naps, randomly hugging her because she is just so cute.

Right now, I feel on top of the world, not just because I am getting my usual amount of sleep again most nights, but because whereas before I had just one child to delight in, now I have two. I can’t wait to see what they will both be like tomorrow, and next week and in a year’s time and on into the far future.

6 responses

  1. Such a heart-warming post. Just beautiful, I can totally ‘feel’ your love for them. How lovely that you have 2 of different sexes as well. Thanks for linking to #oldiesbutgoodies

  2. Came via Oldies But Goodies and then realised I already ‘knew’ you! Love this post. A pregnant friend of mine recently asked me ‘Is it like everyone says? Do you instantly fall in love with her and wonder how you could ever love anything as much as you love her?’ And I had to respond that no, I loved her, but I didn’t really really love her – she felt a little foreign and strange and like she didn’t quite ‘fit’. Of course 5 weeks on, I really, really, really love her – but it is a process and a journey, and it definitely grows. Thanks for sharing! :0)

    • Yes, it’s a bit weird, because you kind of knew your baby when you were pregnant but also not – both times after giving birth I had that odd moment of recognising but not recognises my baby. They are very familiar and at the same time strangers.

  3. What a beautiful post – which I have come to expect from you lovely lady. I can relate to your comment above too, in that recognition and non-recognition of the baby that you carried for those 9 months. I think I had a different experience when my #2 baby came along. I think those baby hormones kicked in, and at times I felt like I only had eyes for my baby and not so much for #1 child. It was pretty hard; sometimes I had to literally pull myself away from the baby to go and chat to toddler. How awful is that? It wasn’t that I stopped loving #1, just that I had this hormonal infatuation with baby. Anyway, it all settled down eventually, and I adore them both (much like you say in your post) and that just keeps growing and growing. xx

    • Very interesting, I have also heard from friends that they suddenly couldn’t cope with how big their first child was, compared to the tiny baby – but for me it was more the other way round. Now, seven months in, I do sometimes struggle with the fact that the toddler is wild and excitable and up to mischief, while the baby is nothing but lovely and adorable. If I’m not careful I end up cuddling and kissing the baby and shouting at the toddler all the time. I try to make sure I get some time alone with him when she sleeps to make up for my irritability and play games with him or just cuddle up on the sofa with a book or (of course) Numberjacks.

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