As Moms we all have them – moments where we feel guilty for our decisions, our actions, and our thoughts pertaining to motherhood. Most of the time, these guilty feelings are unwarranted. Most of the time, the things we feel guilty about are no big deal. But, we still have them. Always.
I have been thinking about writing this post since the day I found out I was pregnant with Baby #2. On that day? It was so unexpected but, whoa. Mama guilt swept over me in a way I’ve never experienced it before. And I’m not even really sure why. I guess the torrent of emotions and hormones probably played a part. But it was still hard to understand.
We planned for this baby. We prayed for this baby. We hoped for this baby. But when this baby become a reality? I thought, “What the heck have I done?”
I remember being so overjoyed as soon as I saw that positive test. I snapped a picture of it and then I quickly scooped Evalyn up in my arms and excitedly told her that she was going to be a big sister. Of course, her one day shy of 13-months old self had no idea what that meant. But she laughed and hugged me. Because she could tell something happy and exciting was happening.
A few hours passed and it was time for her nap. I changed her diaper, read her stories, and started rocking her and singing to her, as usual. And that’s when it hit me.
Never, ever, ever again will it be just Mommy and Evalyn. Not even once. Not even for a second. From now on, I will always have to share my heart, my body, my time, and my thoughts between her and another child. Even though I knew I still had over 7 months until this child would be born, a piece of myself now belonged to him or her and that was final. There was no reversing that. Never would it be just her and I. Never again. So, as I stood there rocking and singing, tears started gushing. I held her a little longer. I promised her I loved her so much. And I wondered if I’ve done enough, loved her enough in the time that we had – just the two of us.
When naptime was over, I rescued her from her crib and we snuggled in the chair in her room for our normal nursing session. And that’s when another thought hit me – what will I do about nursing? I had always hoped to make it to one year. And that we did. And then after we crossed that milestone, I decided we’d keep going. She still wanted it. I still loved it. I decided I’d let her take the lead and go with the flow. But, now I was pregnant. Would I still want to nurse while pregnant? What if she didn’t wean herself before the baby arrived? I knew I didn’t want to tandem nurse. So, what?
After a few days of consideration I decided I was going to actively start the weaning process. I didn’t want to tandem nurse and I also didn’t want the battle of weaning a toddler at the same time as welcoming a newborn. I wanted to be sure that I would have enough time between her weaning and the new baby arriving that she would hopefully forget about it and not try to revert. So, enter more guilty feelings. Am I being selfish for making these decisions when it was clear she was still content nursing? Maybe. Is that okay? Yes. Does it still make me feel guilty? At times.
These two examples are just a few. I won’t even get into the guilt I’ve felt through this crappy first trimester as I’ve laid myself on the floor and let Evalyn
destroy everything in her path play by herself while I barely manage to keep myself awake. I won’t mention the guilt I have felt when I think about how I will be able to give the newborn enough time, energy and love when I am also chasing a 21 month old toddler around all the time. I won’t mention the guilt I’ve felt when I’ve sat Evalyn in her high chair with her breakfast, turned on Barney and raced back and forth between the toilet and my bed almost every single morning for the past month.
The truth is, I know, know, know in my heart that the benefits of giving Evalyn a sibling are gifts that far outweigh anything that having a sibling may take away from her. Both Evan and I grew up with siblings, we both love our siblings and we both know that we want that for our children. But still, the guilt creeps in because the love a mother has for her children just isn’t always logical.
How is it possible that having two children doesn’t mean I have to split my heart 50/50 between them? How is possible that my heart will have the capacity to expand to provide enough for both? How is it possible that I will be able to be and give 100% to each of them at the same time? It doesn’t make sense. It isn’t logical. But, somehow, it is. These are the mysteries of motherhood.