I remember sitting in my doctor’s office and hearing him say that it was questionable as to whether or not I could have another child. After losing my right ovary and having a huge tumor removed off of my left, the chances did not look good considering the scar tissue and the size of the removed tumor. I was crushed. We hadn’t planned on having another child, at least not right away, but it would have been nice to have had the opportunity. I felt broken. For months after the news, I resigned myself to the idea that Sage was more than enough for me. We were happy and this news should not dampen what we have. We made plans. I was a few short months from following through with my dream of becoming a nurse. I had been to an orientation and everything. Aaron converted the guest room into an art studio for us. Life was progressing.
Then one day I was having circulation issues and pain in my back and legs so I made an appointment with my primary care physician as well as my OB/GYN to get on birth control. I knew that my doctor was going to want an x-ray of my back and since I hadn’t started my period yet (it’s notorious for being a day late or early every month) I figured I’d get a pregnancy test just to be sure so they could do it. I think I knew the minute the idea about the test popped into my head because suddenly I became very emotional and anxious. When I got home, I immediately ran to the bathroom. Sage followed me in there because that’s what he does and Aaron followed me in there because he was just as nervous as I was. So there we were… the three of us in the bathroom, two of us waiting for the results (which didn’t take long) and one of us just wanting to flush the toilet over and over again.
Positive. Shock. Panic. Now what? Cry… really hard… that sounds like a grand idea. So that’s what I did while Aaron stared at the test and said, “Everything is going to be alright” over and over again.
I realize that this is not the ideal reaction a child would wish to have his or her parents feel when finding out their pending arrival, but it’s the honest truth. Does this mean that we will not love or welcome this child like we did Sage? Of course not. It just means that we are just like a million other parents reacting to the biggest surprise in life you can get. This news changes lives and if you feel yourself to be incredibly unprepared to hear it, this is the reaction you get. Tis normal. Isn’t it?
Honestly, at first, I didn’t feel like it was normal. In fact, I felt horrible. I felt horrible for even having an inch of doubt as to whether or not we could do this. There was no doubt in our minds that we WOULD do this but geez we were scared. The guilt was intensified by the comments made by friends and family giving us positive advice like “Just think, a year ago you were told you couldn’t have any kids.” Which, by the way, is a great point. How could we be anything but ecstatic by this news considering what we’d been told. I don’t know, but we felt everything with a little ecstatic thrown in.
I can only speak for myself. I felt terrified that I couldn’t be enough for both children. I was scared that Sage would feel neglected by me. I was extremely mortified that I wouldn’t be able to handle nursing school with a newborn and a toddler. I was nervous that Aaron would lose his mind and the money… could we afford this now in this economy. A million things rolled through my head and a lot of them I haven’t worked through yet. I don’t have the answer to any of those questions.
I do know that I am almost 3 months along and every now and again I feel the baby flutter. I picture Sage being a big brother and I picture our family as a foursome and it makes me very very very happy. I imagine Sage holding hands with his new sibling and being tender and sweet like he is to his 2nd cousins and I think I have nothing to worry about. I think about how underneath the jitters I am so grateful that we have been so blessed with this opportunity. I just hope that I can be the kind of Mom that this baby deserves.
I hear stories of other Mommies having the same anxieties when adding their second child and their feelings of guilt and of cheating on their first child. It makes me feel better to know that I may not be an awful person for doubting my abilities. Ultimately, that is all this is. 9 times out of 10, loving parents of one aren’t really afraid of having another child. It has nothing to do with the newbie. It has everything to do with our fear of being enough and having enough to give to this new child as well as our numero uno bambino. Eventually, we all figure it out though. It usually takes actually giving birth to the 2nd and realizing that we will do whatever it takes to be and have what we need to be amazing at this job of parenting. It is hard though. I never could have imagined how hard it was back in my pre-Sage era, but I am doing it. We are both doing it and we are doing it really really well if I do say so myself.
Some days are still scary for me but I have promised myself to imagine Sage holding hands with his little brother or sister when I get scared and that makes everything warm and fuzzy again. So hang in there ladies baking baby #2. In the wise words of my loving husband (and Bob Marley), “Everything is going to be alright!”