Loving Your Second Child as Much as Your First: Is It Possible?
by Lisa Fogarty
When actress Busy Philipps recently commented about how she was unsure she could love her second baby as much as her first, it really hit home. As much as I hate admitting it, my husband and I often talk about how impossible we think it will be to feel the same attachment for our unborn baby as we do for our two-year-old daughter. I mean, we know our little girl really well by now. And she's awesome, most of the time. But who's to say our second baby will be just as wonderful? What if he's...well, what if he ends up being kind of a jerk?
At times I wonder if we would even be concerned about this if our firstborn had more of an attitude or, I don't know, a thing she did that was just unbearable. But she began sleeping through the night at three months. She's always happy -- a fact that eludes every single person who has ever met her parents -- both of whom had horrifying goth phases that lasted way beyond the teen years. She eats almost everything you put in front of her and has been sick, like, three times in her life.
Sure, she has tantrums that make you question what a horrible parent you really must be, and she likes to jump off high pieces of furniture. So it's not all fun and games. But when I see what other children are capable of -- the way some refuse to nap or sleep through the night for years -- I start to get really worried. We are destined to have a child who is inherently moody and unforgiving. It's bound to happen -- it's just a question of when.
And when it does, I'm scared to death I will constantly compare him to my daughter. That I will clutch to the feelings I have for her and use them as a yardstick for how much I love my new baby.
And, of course, I also know the odds are against this happening. They say your love doesn't divide when you have more children, it multiplies. I'll see all of my new baby's positive qualities, just like I see those in my daughter, and his negative qualities won't cause me to subtract love from whatever bank of love I imagine exists within me.
But I'd be lying if I said the thought of how a mom loves a second child as much as the one she already knows inside and out didn't cross my mind from time to time.
Did/do you fear you couldn't/can't love your second child as much as your first?