When Your Family Grows

A few friends are expecting their second baby and are nervous about the changes to come.

Trying to offer something to calm their nerves sent my mind wandering to what happens when your family grows from one child to two (or four, in our case).

I remember sitting with my expanding stomach, listening to my oldest tell me about her day. If she mentioned a class, my mind could recall the color of the folder needed, an event at lunch and I could relay the time it began and how much extra it cost for juice. Life was calm enough that I could take in every detail. I could study her expressions and memorize the thoughts in her eyes.

And with every rumble of the belly quickly covering my lap, I wondered if I could ever be all of this for her again.

Adding to the family would surely take away from her.

I imagined my heart dividing, dreaming the new babies would grasp on to what was hers, leaving her slighted.

As they entered the world I was in awe of the instant love. The same love that took me by surprise so many years before.

Days rolled forward and I loved every one of my children exactly the same and completely different and all at once.

Our time stumbled awkwardly at first, slowly stepping into a rhythm of quieted cries and finished homework.

I felt spread too thin and filled with contentment all in the same breathe.

As I loved one for determination and calm, I loved another for spirit and noise.

My heart never divided as I had feared, only multiplied in ways I could never have imagined.

And in the past four years of forgotten lunch money and pancakes for dinner, sharing bedrooms and matching pajamas

I have learned that one of the greatest things I could give my children

is each other.




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  1. Christine @ Quasi Agitato says

    I was really worried (surprise!) about this too because I’m not a very good mulit-tasker. But the pros blow the cons out of the water.
    Christine @ Quasi Agitato recently posted..What I’ve Been Up To.

  2. says

    Yes. So true.

    I think I knew there would be enough love but I wondered if there would be enough ‘me’ – and some days, there really isn’t. But as we prepare for our third baby (a girl!) in April, I know I will be stretched to the limits again.

    But my heart? I’m not worried about that at all….
    Angie @ The Little Mumma recently posted..News just in….

  3. says

    Jessica, beautiful. Truly.

    So true isn’t it that you wonder and stress about how it is all going to work out when adding another child and then months later you can’t imagine any other way? It just all works out.
    Melanie recently posted..All About The NaNo…

  4. says

    Beautiful words, great description of a mother’s love: ‘Days rolled forward and I loved every one of my children exactly the same and completely different and all at once.’ and ‘My heart never divided as I had feared, only multiplied in ways I could never have imagined.’ Wonderful post. :)

  5. MommaKiss says

    When I was pregnant with my second, I felt so guilty. Like, how the hell could I love another kid/thing/human as much as I love my first child? Then a friend sent me a poem, that just nailed it. I’ve blogged it. I may have to repost it for anyone out there fearing what seems impossible – you don’t share your love, you just have more love to give.
    MommaKiss recently posted..And then…

  6. says

    Perfectly stated! My three children are really spread out (1, 7 and 15 years.) We hope to add one more, much closer in age to our 1 year old so she can have a sibling closer to her age…for all the reasons you stated above!
    CJ recently posted..Birthday Photos!

  7. says

    Yes, this: “Days rolled forward and I loved every one of my children exactly the same and completely different and all at once.”

    I was SO happy when I recently found out that my good friend, who is an only child, is having her second baby. It’s going to be so awesome for her to see the sibling connection through her boys. I think it’s such an amazing thing, both as the child and the parent.

    I’m so excited for these two friends of ours too… what a sweet post!
    Elaine recently posted..Please, Won’t You Run Along With Me?

  8. Nana says

    “I have learned that one of the greatest gifts I could give my children is each other”,
    I love this sentiment and the older mine get, the more I believe it. Lovely post.

  9. says

    This is so perfectly put. I was so nervous when I was pregnant with my second, thinking that it was going to be way too hard with more than one, that I wouldn’t be able to pay as much attention to my oldest any more. But, the love… that was amazing.
    Shell recently posted..Hey, It’s Okay

  10. says

    This is really lovely, and I think that all moms of more-than-one will be able to relate to what you’ve written here. I was so worried when pregnant with my second that I could never love a baby as much as I loved my first. Then I laid eyes on him when the nurse handed him to me right after he was born and thought, “Oh, this is how.”
    Kristen @ Motherese recently posted..Thanks Giving

  11. says

    Beautiful! I had the same concerns before having my second, but with time, I’ve reached the same realization, that the best gift I’m giving them is each other. Adding a baby to the mix can be stressful, but as moms, we make it work.

  12. The Anecdotal Baby says

    Oh Jessica, you always say it with such eloquence. I often wonder this when I look at Lovebug (almost 8 months) and wonder how I could love another as much as I love her. Of course, I know I will, but sometimes it seems unimaginable, and what you say about taking away from one is always the biggest fear. Thank you for this post!
    The Anecdotal Baby recently posted..Thoughts on Jury Duty

  13. says

    This is just lovely and a wonderful message for any parent looking to expand the family :) I had this very same conversation w/a girlfriend who had her baby about two months ago. When I spoke to her then, she was exhausted but content, just settling into a routine. Now I think she’s closer to being on schedule and already she wants another. I think I can understand this.

    XOXO and hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving, love.
    Charlotte recently posted..plus one

  14. says

    What a gorgeous “baby gift” you jut gave to Natalie and KLZ…they are going to be incredible moms the 2nd time around and you are truly wonderful for writing them such a gorgeous love letter to the gift of sibings.

    Kir recently posted..Just Be Enough: A Seasonal Striiv

    • Jessica says

      And even if you are not ready, you will be once the baby comes. When we added our youngest I had no idea how we were going to manage each day but we just did and then pretty soon I couldn\’t imagine things any other way.

    • says

      I couldn’t agree more. I was so afraid of all of that before Nolan was born and now that he is here, I so understand your post. It is hard somedays still to not feel like I am putting one before the other, but then in the next breath Jack will come an give his baby brother a kiss on the head, and it all makes sense.
      Beautiful post!
      Angie recently posted..#iPPP-Thanksgiving Edition

      • Jessica says

        Thanks Angie, I truly underestimated how much I would love seeing my kids interact as siblings. I hope they always stay close.

  15. says

    This is so beautiful, Jessica. Thank you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your encouragement. And I agree–the gift of each other is an amazing thing for each. I just hope I can balance it with the grace and cheer that you do.
    Natalie @MamaTrack recently posted..Letter to a Big Brother


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