Friday, February 02, 2007

Different?

Some days, I find myself having forgotten that I'm pregnant. It takes me by surprise after full half-hour intervals in which I haven't given it any thought: I'll be working on a project or driving to work, and a wave of nausea will hit to remind me--oh, yes, that's right, how wonderful.

So far, these early days of pregnancy have been much easier. Not carrying triplets has meant much less morning sickness, though the exhaustion seems even more pronounced. I chalk that up to the fact that Olivia is still not sleeping through the night, except on rare occasions, and even when she does, I wake up worrying about her. That, I suppose, is the biggest difference: instead of thinking constantly of this pregnancy, the background hum in my head is on the all-Olivia, all-the-time station.

I worry sometimes if this is fair. Olivia has been the recipient of unremitting, obsessive attention from that first positive beta. Vague dreams of Olivia predated that pregnancy by years. Will this one, if we get there, suffer from a lack of attention? The few people we've told say things like, Wow, it'll almost be like having twins! and, Poor Olivia, she's not going to like the competition. And I think to myself--of course Olivia will still get our attention; she's the center of the universe: the question to me is, will the new (maybe) baby get enough? Even my dad, though patently delighted at the prospect of another grandchild, wondered how we'd find the time and energy. Jeff, in a very innocent way, said he didn't know how it would be possible to love another as much as Olivia. And he meant it just that way: the mystery is in the how; he assumes he will.

I was the youngest of three. I never hurt for attention, at least not that I can remember, until after my mother went off her ill-constructed rocker. Jeff is the oldest of three, and I don't see that his younger brothers suffered from a lack of parental involvement. But I do know that there is a special bond between Jeff and his parents, and between my eldest brother and my mother, that is just different.

I don't know why I'm worrying about this now. Who knows where this pregnancy is headed? Early days, very early days. But, well, by now I'm sure it's no mystery that worrying is what I do best.

12 Comments:

Blogger Lindy said...

I had (and still have) many of the same worries, but I must say that the reality has been that I have to stop myself from lavishing more than her share of attention on lil' G much of the time. In so many ways an infant, whose needs are all-consuming and yet essentially basic, is much easier than a toddler or preschooler whose irrational demands can drive you to madness and are often unmeetable. It's very tempting to devote more to fulfilling her needs because she is actually capable of satisfaction, whereas big G often is not.

Different phases, different children, different times will each bring their own challenges and joys. I think you're right that the bond between the first-born and his or her parents is something special, but I think there's also something special about the younger sibling's bond with the parents.

I find that I'm able to enjoy lil' G's babyhood more in some ways because I'm not as nervous about everything. I also find that I'm less apt to rush her into the next stage than I was with big G. I often find myself thinking of her as younger than she really is, which isn't something that I remember thinking with big G.

The second child's babyhood is definitely a different thing. More chaotic and harried, but also richer and more vibrant. The look on lil' G's face each and every time she lays eyes on big G is just priceless.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

I completely understand these worries. I do have one friend who seems to lavish attention on her older one, leaving #2 somewhat out in the cold, and just by watching that, I've made the conscious decision to try to do things differently.

For me, actually, I see having to share focus with another one as a good thing for both me & A--I can see myself as a mother just to 1 being a liiiiitle too involved in his life.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

I worry about my twins getting enough individual attention all the time. Basically, you just do your best and hope for the best.

4:52 PM  
Blogger k said...

I think a good thing to remember is that the love you have to offer your children is not a pie that has to be divvied up, one slice to each, until the pie is gone.

Adding a child doesn't mean less for the first child. Or on the flip side (your question), it doesn't mean keeping as much love for the first child and then carving out a tiny sliver to give to the new baby.

Your love isn't a finite pie.

It's so damn cheesy, I know, but when you add kids, your heart just grows and there is as much for the first as there is for the second, as there would be for a third or a fourth.

I'm so glad you are at a place where you get to ponder these thoughts. These "growing family" thoughts. Congratulations again.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Reesh said...

I'm having these same feelings. I'm 9 weeks pregnant with my second and I totally don't get how I could possibly love another child as much as I love Lily. From what I've come to understand, these feeling are perfectly normal for second pregnancies. My mom had them, my mother in law had them, and a billion other people out there in blog land who have left me wonderful comments of hope. I didn't know how much I would love Lily until they brought her up onto my chest for the first time. I am hopeful that the love hormones will kick in when this next baby arrives.

8:54 PM  
Blogger S. said...

J and I were talking about this last night. We're not expecting #2 right now, but the thought of another one made us stop in our tracks and think.
Thanks for posting this. I'm interested in what others say.

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Ruta said...

This is one of those things you will worry about up until #2 is born. And then it will resolve itself almost magically. :-) I worried incessently before my now-13 month old was born ... he's our third, how would I find the time? How would I love him as much? Well, it just happens on its own. Your heart does grow and before you know it, you will not be able to imagine life without #2. And then you have the added bonus of watching your children develop a relationship with one another...

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Menita said...

Pretty much what the others have said. Before Jack was born I was sure I would never love him as much as I loved Polly. My dilemma was how on earth I was going to act so he'd never suspect. Well...he's 6 months old now and I adore him beyond what I can express. The love just expanded to hold both of them, without my even noticing how it happened.

5:23 AM  
Anonymous elaine said...

In some ways, having them close together may help with the rivalry -- my brother and I are only 18 months apart, and from the moment he was born I was totally in his court. In fact, because I was so close to babyhood myself, I apparently kept pestering my parents to go to him when he cried, pay him more attention, etc.

Also, being close in age has made us pretty good friends throughout our entire lives, aside from a year or so in our teens. So I think that aspect of things will work out fin.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I worry about these things, too since we've decided that we would like to expand our family. (Of course, what we would like and what will happen may be very different). In my family, I was the oldest, but my younger brother was favored (he was, after all, the son). I used to be concerned about similar dynamics repeating themselves in our family, but I also realized I am not my mother, or my father. I have different views on parenting and if it's meant to be, I will be able to put those ideals into practice. Otherwise, we will be happy with our son with bloggwhom we are ecstatic to have in our lives.

Congratulations again on your forthcoming blessing! I wish you all the best for an uneventful pregnancy and a smooth delivery!

6:45 AM  
Blogger HomeFireBlue said...

After suffering infertility for so long, I purposly had all of mine as close together as possible.

Remember that you're not only not dividing up your love (I ADORE the 'it's not a finite pie' explaination), but you are giving Olivia another somebody to lavish love on her. All of mine are super close. They share, they play together, they miss each other when one is gone.

My two girls are 10 months apart and are as different as black and white and yet are inseparable. It's magical.

Don't worry.

-Blue

9:42 AM  
Blogger Dream Mommy said...

As soon as the baby is here, you will find more than enough love to go around.

My family worried about me accepting another foster/adopt baby placement so soon(they are 11 mos apart). They were afraid the older one would get left out. There's plenty of love to go around. I just feeling like I'm feeding one of them constantly!

6:18 AM  

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