When my first born arrived in 2002, I was totally and utterly besotted. I couldn’t believe I could love someone as much as I loved her. To me, she was the meaning of love — and life. But when I thought about having a second child, which was the inevitable thing to do, I didn’t really think about how I would cope with two children. Instead, I wondered how I could possibly ‘share’ the time and attention I gave my daughter. It was upsetting to think how rejected or betrayed she might feel, seeing me give my time, attention and love away to another. The dilemma of loving two.
When I fell pregnant again in 2004, the feelings of guilt and anxiety grew over having to ‘share’ myself between two children. I desperately wanted to feel comfortable knowing it would be just as magical with another baby, but deep down, I was sad at the thought that it would no longer be my daughter and I, sharing every single, special moment together. It would be my daughter, baby and I. I even shed tears thinking about her missing out on what we already had.
My family all lived too far away to visit regularly and being the ‘information technology widow’ that I was (if you have a partner working in I.T. you will know exactly what I am referring to!), the days became exhaustingly long. My daughter and I would often wake together and go to sleep together. She was my best friend, my rock, my little girl. And I was about to bring a brand new person into our special relationship.
I knew I would dearly love my new baby, there was no question about it. But the undivided time I had shared with my daughter for the first two years of her life, it would have to be halved and shared, right?
I finally came across the most beautiful poem, which turned around my thoughts quick smart! I printed out the loving two poem and stuck it to my fridge.
I want to share this beautiful poem with the many mothers out there who are or may soon wonder the exact same thing I did – how will I be able to share my love between two children?
Loving Two Poem
I walk along holding your 2-year-old hand, basking in the glow of our magical relationship. Suddenly I feel a kick from within, as if to remind me that our time alone is limited. And I wonder: how could I ever love another child as I love you?
Then he is born, and I watch you. I watch the pain you feel at having to share me as you’ve never shared me before.
I hear you telling me in your own way, “Please love only me”. And I hear myself telling you in mine, “I can’t”, knowing, in fact, that I never can again.
You cry. I cry with you. I almost see our new baby as an intruder on the precious relationship we once shared. A relationship we can never quite have again.
But then, barely noticing, I find myself attached to that new being, and feeling almost guilty. I’m afraid to let you see me enjoying him, as though I am betraying you.
But then I notice your resentment change, first to curiosity, then to protectiveness, finally to genuine affection.
More days pass, and we are settling into a new routine. The memory of days with just the two of us is fading fast.
But something else is replacing those wonderful times we shared, just we two. There are new times – only now, we are three. I watch the love between you grow, the way you look at each other, touch each other.
I watch how he adores you – as I have for so long. I see how excited you are by each of his new accomplishments. And I begin to realize that I haven’t taken something from you, I’ve given something to you. I notice that I am no longer afraid to share my love openly with both of you.
I find that my love for each of you is as different as you are, but equally strong. And my question is finally answered, to my amazement. Yes, I can love another child as much as I love you – only differently.
And although I realize that you may have to share my time, I now know you’ll never share my love. There’s enough of that for both of you – you each have your own supply.
I love you – both. And I thank you both for blessing my life.
— “Loving Two” poem, author unknown (if you know, please tell us!)
I’ve come to realise that it’s nothing to be ashamed about feeling this way. It’s all just part of the vast parenting ‘unknown’ that we only learn from experience — and we all know that parenting is a skill learnt ‘on the job’. We know what it’s like to have one child, but we just haven’t experienced two yet. When your second child is born, you too will know how true the ending of the loving two poem really is.
On a parting note, know that love doesn’t divide. It multiplies. Remember that special feeling of being head over heels in love with your first — or even your partner? You get that feeling all over again with every single one of your babies. That’s a whole lot of love – just for you!
Today, i’m not loving two, but instead, loving three. And I feel like the luckiest mummy alive.