I get it now.
A week after giving birth to my second child, I get it now.
They said I would be overwhelmed with a combination of emotions I couldn’t comprehend – I get it now.
That I will feel immense love beyond anything I could ever have imagined, but at the same time feel fear that maybe I’m not going to be able to ever handle both kids on my own.
That I can look at my toddler and marvel at how she seems to have grown up overnight, but at the same time feel like she’s my little baby who still needs so much from me and worry about whether I am going to be enough for her now that my attention is divided.
That I can look at my newborn and almost literally feel my heart explode with a love so mind-blowingly powerful that it totally consumes me, and also feel guilt in knowing that there are some things I was able to do for her older sister which I can’t do for her.
I get it now.
The joy and the excitement of watching your little family grow, and the apprehension and anxiety of the unknown. How exactly are we going to do this? How is this going to look in a week from now? In a month? In a year? In ten years? Will we be okay? Will they be happy? Will they know just how much they are loved?
They said it’ll be easier with the second one – that things will just come naturally and that you’ll get into a rhythm without even realising it. I get it now.
That I can expertly pick up my newborn with one arm and nurse her on the way down in the elevator to preempt a meltdown in the cab. That if she freaks out in a supermarket aisle I can do the same while steering the stroller with the other hand and still manage to decide which brand of cereal to buy, without the fluster and embarrassment I felt as a first-time mother.
That sleep expectations are “managed” this time, and that you and your husband will celebrate three straight hours of sleep as a gift from the heavens because you know that there will be times when you would trade almost anything for that stretch of sleep.
That those small moments of feeling like a little bit of a rockstar, those little boosts of parenting confidence, will make you feel like maybe, just maybe, you’ve got this.
They said my heart will break at how beautifully my older child interacts with her new sibling. I get it now.
She’s still young, and it’s still early, but the fascination on her face as she stares at her baby sister, and the glee in her giggle when the baby looks at her or bats at her, somehow makes me fall in love with her all over again. I see the beginnings of a sisterly relationship in which the two girls will do anything for each other, and will delight in each other’s company and prefer it to anyone else’s. They love each other already. Do they know that? Maybe they do.
They said that the love in your heart multiplies. I get it now. I physically feel it. I look at one child and my heart expands at lightning speed. I look at the other child and it expands even faster. The love that overflows is fierce. It is unrelenting. It is boundless. I look at them both and am in awe of how lucky I am to have been chosen as their mother. I love them. I love that they are mine and that I have the honour of watching them grow together.
My mind races at what lies ahead for them; for us. I think about how almost two years ago, my eldest was as small, as fragile, as new as my youngest, and how quickly that time has gone. I make a promise to myself to savour each moment.
Because I get it now. In a way, I want time to pass so I can see what is to come, but at the same time I want it to slow down, because I’ve seen for myself: when they said it all goes by in the blink of an eye, I get it now.
I get it now.