I have tried to write this post for weeks and weeks. It’s such an overwhelming and constantly changing feeling in both my heart and my head, that I’ve found it difficult to capture in words. But with less than a week to go now, I’m running out of time!
For most of my pregnancy, I’ve had people asking me how it feels to be adding a second child to our family. It’s never something I quite know how to answer, as there is such a complex range of emotions and feelings, and just as soon as I can pinpoint it, it changes again. If I had written this post a month ago, I probably know I would have told you that I was scared.
I have spent the majority of these nine months feeling a mixture of excitement, fear, guilt, worry, hope, and other things that have left me confused and sitting up in bed late at night, wheels spinning. When I was pregnant with Cullen, I only really thought about him and what he would be like. And of course I wondered how things would change for me and Casey – how we’d be as parents, how our dynamic would be affected, and how we’d grow and change as a couple through the transition.
I look back at those last few weeks before Cullen arrived as such a special, irreplaceable time in our lives. It’s not that I would want to trade what we have now for those childless days of ignorance. It’s just that it was such a unique time for us – knowing that such big changes were just ahead, but not really understanding what any of that would be like. We lived those last weeks in a mixture of anticipation and nervous excitement.
And now two years have somehow passed, and we find ourselves standing in almost the exact same spot. And yet this time, it is so incredibly different. This time, we have a wiggly, wild creature squirming around between us – showering us with kisses and squeals and making it hard to believe there could possibly be room in our lives and our hearts for more.
And yet, as every parent of two (and three, and more) has assured me – your heart just simply finds the space. That a new sibling arrives, and suddenly once again, you can’t imagine how your world possibly existed prior to that moment.
I have talked quite a bit about how bittersweet the end of this pregnancy has felt for me. Sometimes I worry that I’m dwelling on it and thinking about it too much, but I can’t shake the knowledge that these last few days are just so fleeting. And of course I know there is no real “last” happening – as another little guy will join us and we’ll carry on and push forward and find our new normal.
But it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve spent two solid years of my life in the almost-constant company of one hilarious little person. I’ve embraced my role as a stay-at-home mom and taken it seriously – striving to fill every one of our days with adventure, learning, friends, and fun. There has been no shortage of difficult moments and learning experiences for the both of us, but despite those it has been something I’ve cherished so much.
I feel guilty that a lot of what Cullen is used to is going to change. We will not be able to cruise the town from sun up to sun down the way we’re currently used to, at least not for a while. He is going to have to learn a lot more patience, and I know he will not be happy to share his mama’s arms and space.
But I also feel like it’s okay to feel all of this because I am a second child myself. I have only ever known life with my sister (and eventually another sister), and I can’t imagine it being any other way. I’m sure my mom felt all of these things thirty two years ago, and yet there is no sign of any of that now. We are the family that we were always supposed to be.
I know that the first day and weeks (months?) are going to be tough. We will all be tired and cranky, and unsure of how to navigate our new waters. But we’ve done this before, and I imagine that the second time around it is much easier to accept the difficult beginning – knowing how much good is waiting for us just ahead.
And while right now all I can really see is our immediate transition and the surge back into newborn days, I’m reminding myself to look off into the distance and see Cullen racing down the beach with his little brother tripping along behind him – desperate to keep up. To hear the two of them plotting at the dinner table, joining forces against a dinner of steamed kale and brown rice. To picture myself standing outside their bedroom door, listening to them chatter away in the darkness of their shared bedroom, before eventually giving in to sleep.
And of course, it is not all about how life will change for us, and for Cullen. So much of my thoughts these days are consumed by the reality that any day now, there will be a new little presence in our lives who wasn’t there before. We will wake up in the morning soon knowing a new person all of his own – someone who will teach us, challenge us, and love us in ways that are only his. Someone new to cover in kisses, to watch while he sleeps, and to make me wonder how I ever got this lucky.
It has taken nine long months for me to finally feel comfortable with the fact that our family is going to change. Like I said before, I have spent most of those feeling very scared. But standing at the edge of what is only a matter of days away now, I am ready.
I rub my giant belly and push back and forth with little feet and elbows, and hold my breath waiting for the moment I can finally lay my eyes on the baby that so far is only really known to me. I wait for the moment that I finally see Casey’s hands – only able to feel him from the surface for so long now – reach out for his tiny body. I sit in the glider in his room and I close my eyes and I hope that I can be as much for him as I have tried to be for Cullen.
My mother-in-law always tells me the story of how when she went in to labor with her second son, she cried leaving the house knowing that those were the last moments few moments for just her and Casey. And of course, she loves his brother just as much and it’s hard to imagine life now as anything but four. But I think about this moment for us, and I pray for the strength to get through it.
We are edge of something wonderful, and after many long months of waiting, I am so eager to just get there – to step onto the other side.
We are excited and we are scared. But – I think – we are ready.