I dropped down to my knees on the concrete patio outside our back door, wrapped my arms around Edie's narrow shoulders and said, "You are going to be a big sister." I choked on the last two words, and then started to cry. I wanted to follow them up with an apology, because in that moment it just felt like I was suddenly ripping myself from my child after spending two years offering every bit of my body, my energy, and my love to her. Someone else would suddenly be demanding it of me, and I would no longer belong to Edie alone. How could I explain that? How was that okay? What had I done? I wasn't ready. I wouldn't love this new baby the way I loved Edie. My heart was already at max capacity.
I had just peed on a small piece of plastic behind a bush in our backyard because I didn't want to interrupt Edie's play by making her come inside for me to go to the restroom. That's how important her feelings are to me. And with the appearance of two pink lines, I was suddenly supposed to double that love. Or to split it in half. I wasn't quite sure yet, but neither seemed possible.
I spent most of the first trimester feeling this way. With every sudden break I had to take in the middle of reading a book to my toddler (to go vomit), I felt guilty. It seemed I already belonged to this new baby and she wasn't even here yet. I didn't get a chance to warn Edie--how traumatic this must be for her.
But on a morning at the end of the third month, I woke up and realized the nausea was gone. And so was the guilt, mostly. I felt better physically and suddenly became instantly attached to the new baby inside my womb. I could feel her, already her own little person apart from her big sister but such an important addition to her life and my life, and our family as a whole. I began talking about her more frequently and Edie's excitement grew with each mention of the tiny girl she would get to help me take care of. She became more real and less scary. She became a privilege and a gift and an entire encyclopedia of life lessons and companionship for Edie I never could have taught her otherwise.
I wasn't sure if telling Edie about the baby so early was the right thing to do, but it just kind of happened and I am really glad it did because I think her requests to, "See baby in da belly?" several times a day have really helped ease my worries.
Some days I am still kind of scared out of my mind to have two tiny people relying on me to keep them alive, but for the most part I am really excited. Sisters! What a special relationship I'll get to watch unfold up close. And there a few things making the idea of mothering a toddler and a newborn a little less terrifying, like babywearing, which i'm planning a more extensive post on soon. For now I'm trying to give myself a little grace in not having in all figured out because I know I really have no idea what life will look like in a few months, just like I had no idea what new motherhood would look like the first time around.
I can say I was definitely more afraid upon finding out I was pregnant with number two than when I found out about Edie. Going from one to two feels huge! What about you, mamas of multiple--how did you feel?