It’s funny how perceptions and fears can change over the course of a pregnancy.
At first, I was very trepidatious about how on earth I could ever love R as much as I love E. E and I have had so many moments–so much time–that R and I won’t ever be able to have, because E was once an only child, if only for these short months.
But now I’ve grown to connect to R, much more than I did E before she was born. (Because of E, I hasten to add; I was unfond of babies in general before her existence taught me what delightful little creatures they can be. I know much more what to expect with R, and the lessened terror at her impending arrival certainly facilitates greater expectations!) I’m wondering things about R that I didn’t wonder with E, and am much more excited to meet her and all her unique characteristics as opposed to the generalized excitement that accompanied E’s birth.
My fears, then, have changed. I know the relationship between E and me is getting ready to change forever. I know our quiet moments, our shared giggles, and our lonely little cuddles are all getting ready to disappear, forever altered by the arrival of a third to our little tea party. What I fear, then, is that as this precious time with E is transitioning to a different time of sisterhood for her and increased motherness for me, that this intense, unabated, unrivaled love I have for E is going to change as well.
I love E in a way that is unlike the way I love anyone else. It’s fierce and protective, condescending and cautious. Until now, she has been the only person in the world to whom that type of love could apply. Until now, she has been my favorite little girl, the best of her kind–because she was the only, there is no division or sharing.
Yet R is going to be the same. I think I know enough of myself to know that I won’t ever love one “more” or “less,” even from the very beginning. They are equally my responsibility and equally my blessings. And I know, too, that a parent’s love doesn’t lessen because it includes more little bodies–it’s somehow a kind of division that takes nothing away from either side. And yet. My time will be split, forever; the moments of aloneness will fade; and so many things that E and I share will change. I ache a little at that loss even as I rejoice in anticipation of R and all the new joys she will bring to me and S and even, especially, to E. In balance we have no doubt that R is a good thing–a purposeful thing–
But as the weeks draw to a close, I still ache. Even though what we gain is greater, this time has been so precious and heady and wonderful, and it is ending.