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My Pregnancy: Growing From Three To Four

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Right now I’m at a pretty magical stage in my pregnancy: my tummy has popped out and I’m feeling our sweet little boy kicking and squirming, but I’m not yet at the size where I’m uncomfortable or having trouble maneuvering in spaces.  I’m feeling good, eating well, and generally enjoying the piece of mind (for me) that the movement in my belly gives me and planning happily for the future.  Alongside the obvious relief of this, however, has been the constant and steadily building ache in my bones that life as we know it is coming to an end.  The Three Amigos who have gone through so much together, so many First-Time-Parent growing pains, celebrations, and tribulations, are going to finally be joined by a fourth little soul who will make our dynamic forever different.  And my heart is aching a little bit. Ok, it’s aching a lot. IMG_1874-6IMG_1870-5IMG_2002-15

 

To say we’re pretty tight is an understatement.  There’s a lot of snuggling in our house.  A lot of kissing and hugging, and group kissing and hugging, and cuddling in the mornings, and cuddling in the evenings, and generally a full-time Cuddle-a-Thon.  I actually asked a close friend of mine the other day, “at what age would you think that I need to stop making out with Marlowe all day?” Of course this is a (slight) exaggeration, but the point is that I have fallen so deeply and acutely in love with my daughter that the idea of loving anybody or anything as much seems like a surefire impossibility.  I feel like all of the care I had for anything else in the world has been concentrated by a hundred, siphoned from any other avenue, and directed through a turbo jet from my heart in to hers at level ten.  Sometimes she says something so sweet or smart or funny or weird that I feel like my rib cage might actually crack open from how big my love for her has swollen.  I’ve barely survived.

 

HOW ON EARTH AM I SUPPOSED TO FEEL THIS WITH ANOTHER BABY?

 

This is the question I keep asking myself and one that actually terrifies me.   Where will the extra love come from in my already Marlowe-dedicated heart?! Am I even capable of this kind of love times two? And most frighteningly: what if I’m not?  I’ve asked a bunch of friends of mine with multiple children about this (SOS texts at brutal hours of night when I’m awake in a panic) and all of them reassure me that you DO love the others just as much.  That somehow you just do, and that each child and each relationship is different but the love is the same.  My Mother-In-Law promises that the love “just comes with the baby”.  I think all of this sounds beautiful of course, but I wonder a lot about how you love a new child right away with the same love that you have for a child you have known and fallen for over a two year period.  How can that be the same?

 

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Something I share pretty openly with friends of mine is how, for me, the crazy love with Marlowe didn’t come right in the beginning.  I felt so attached to her and protective from the moment she was born, but I fell in love with her over time, just like I did with my husband.  It was a gradual process of a few months where a special snuggle, a smile, a giggle, an early morning newborn-staring-contest, a sleepless night we both gracefully survived, would pull at my heartstrings and grow our bond deeper and deeper.  My Mother, actually, had been the one to warn me about the “Great Misconception”:  That many Women, herself included, don’t just fall head over heels in love with their baby the second he or she leaves the womb and enters our arms.  That it’s normal for that love to be a process.  I was so thankful to have that context because I think otherwise I would have expected too much of myself– felt disappointed or guilty, or both.  A new baby is a new person, who enters your family and becomes a cherished part of it forever– but they still have so much to teach us about themselves.  I’m trying to go in to my second round of Motherhood with this in mind– an open heart and no expectation except a desire to drink in my son and who he is, separately from my daughter.  I think watching Marlowe grow and change so much these past months has really driven the point home for me that our son will be just as strong in his ways, just as unique, and just as miraculous.

 

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What I’m working on now is letting go of Three.  Letting go of that little family unit that we cultivated so fiercely, with so much love and so many mistakes– and opening our door for somebody new to teach us.  I cry sometimes when I think about it, even now as I write this.  I’m scared of that change, even as I welcome it and have fought so hard to expand our family.  Change has been especially tough for me since my miscarriage last year, it challenges all the things I have done since to heal.  In the wake of our loss, I battened down the hatches– I held tight to my family, wound my love around them, and we healed from the inside out.  Just as I have had to open my heart during this pregnancy to drive out the fear of loss, I find myself pushing the boundaries again.  Telling myself it’s OK to open the door, to face it with eyes open, to extend my hand to this magical stranger who has flown on angel wings to the very depths of me and snuggles tightly in my womb.  I think, like anything, that this letting go will be a process.  I’m trying to be as honest with myself as possible when I’m feeling scared or emotional about our family changing– I know it’s what helps me to grow.  As I write this, I sit in awe as my son does backflips– dancing and celebrating– and I know for sure that the relationship with his spitfire Sister was written in the stars.

How have you adjusted to your family growing and changing?? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

xo

EAM

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Photographs by Anel Dzafic

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20 Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    Thank you SO much for writing this… it is a topic of conversation for me / us daily right now… as we discuss further expansion of our family. Many days I can not even grasp having more children as I love my daughter so so much – and want to give her every ounce of my love that I have (of course I will save some for my husband too) 🙂 ~ Yet I don’t want her to grow up and be upset if we didn’t make a playmate for her… it is SUCH a hard feeling to grapple with since I haven’t been through it before – and knowing others go through it surely helps (yes… I too have reached out to my friends asking how they did it too)! Love your honesty – and you sharing the emotion you are feeling.

    06.20.16Reply
  2. Allison says:

    I’m expecting my second baby at the end of the year as well!! What your MIL says is true from all that I have asked too. I don’t have a daughter, I have a 4 year old son and one thing I have learned, there’s no bond like that of a son with his mama. Like your daughter has this unexplained love affair with only her daddy, you will have that same special and only yours love with your little man! When he tells you that he wants to marry you because you are his favorite girl- you’ll melt in your puddle 😊
    Each sex of child has their own unique relationships with each parent. But a mother/son love is like no other! And when Marlowe sees her baby brother, they will have their own special little bond too! It will be a wonderful addition when the time comes! Like you said, hold no expectations and just let your heart be open! Love will happen just as naturally as it did for your little girl!

    06.20.16Reply
  3. Katie W says:

    Eva, I have a 1 year old son and the love I have for him is so strong that I get worried about how I will feel when we try for a second child. I ask my mom all the time how is it possible to spread that kind of love to more than one child? She tells me you just do. It is so nice to know that other moms out there feel the same way and I’m not alone. Thanks for sharing. Also we love watching your snaps! Your family is the cutest!!

    06.20.16Reply
  4. Jen says:

    Yes! I have a daughter a few months older than yours, and I’m expecting this summer…twins! This was horrifying news, we wanted 1 not 2 more. Some of my first thoughts was how rough it would be to go from our family of 3 to 5, and how our daughter would have to adjust to 2 new babies (after freaking out about cost of 3 in childcare, still in denial there!)
    I fear I won’t have the time/energy to snuggle and play with her and figure out how to care for 2 newborns at the same time. I’m working on trusting it’ll all be ok while trying to accept the reality too (a fine line!) I do believe that in hindsight we will laugh at our concerns today and be madly grateful and in love with our larger families, but I recognize the fear of the unknown, the transition/loss of how things are today. Thanks for chatting about what I’m sure most parents ponder in between these life changes.

    06.20.16Reply
  5. Heather says:

    Don’t worry you will love the new baby as much as you love your little girl. When I was expecting my second child my dad explained it to me by saying that your love stretches and grows and you will love all your children equally. I found this to be true, my second daughter fitted in to our family straight away and we couldn’t remember what life was like without her.

    06.20.16Reply
  6. Laura says:

    I have three boys and with my first, I did not bond right away. Like you, it took a few weeks to feel completely bonded and “in love” with this new little being. When number two came around, I actually bonded much faster! This was solely because I’d experienced it already and knew what to expect and how amazing it is. My second and third births were much more exciting because I couldn’t wait to love these new babies as much as I’d learned that I could with the first. It’s going to be great! Best of luck!

    06.20.16Reply
  7. Glenda says:

    Your heart expands and the bond between and mother and son is like falling in love again with your little BF. Enjoy! Love the last picture of the 3 of you. Beautiful!

    06.20.16Reply
  8. Julie says:

    remember… Love has no boundaries! Mothers always seem to confront the “love dilemma” while pregnant with their second child- isn’t it wonderful (and very telling) that we don’t wonder if we’ll love the second one more! I had twins after a single birth- I wasn’t so concerned over my capacity for love but the worry over selfishly wanting to still devote as much time to my first love and be the most important person in his life. Maybe I didn’t want to admit that he could and should be able to flourish without my undivided attention! It was lovely to see him excited and sweet with his newborn babies and he was able to become more independent …incremental tiny steps to becoming a self reliant person. Those arms of yours will certainly be able to reach around four humans… and then some. I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts and your daughter is beyond adorable!!

    06.20.16Reply
  9. Tara says:

    All I can say, is DITTO. My second child is due in six weeks and I am seriously struggling with all of the sentiments you echoed. I am feeling mournful/stressed about splitting my time even more with the 2 1/2 year old boy who I absolutely ADORE. I have no advice since I’m in your position, but I feel ya 😉

    06.20.16Reply
    • Dayna says:

      Tara, however did u get a pic on ur profile. Little things that plague me… 🙂

      06.21.16Reply
  10. Anne says:

    Oh thank you for writing this! We are due with our second in six weeks and are feeling the same exact way. Our 4 year old daughter is the center of our world and has been since the moment she was born. It’s really hard for me to imagine loving another baby as much as I love my daughter. Plus, we aren’t finding out the sex so that adds another level of “unknown”. Also knowing that I’ll have to pay attention to two children and not just one (and spend more time with the baby right away) is heartbreaking because I know my daughter will not be happy about this (she is a big time “momma’s girl”). We are just hoping for the best! Good luck to you, too! 🙂

    06.20.16Reply
  11. Jamie says:

    Beautifully written!

    06.20.16Reply
  12. Dayna says:

    I think so many mommas go through this very struggle. Wondering about the unknown, the second baby, will the love stretch, will the first born feel left out, how will this all play out?!?!?!?! I think logically we know as people do it everyday…have other children and somehow, somehow, they survive the craziness and embrace the new dynamic and love the new addition as if they were always apart of the family, but logic doesn’t always hold up when ur a momma! Dealing with all kinds of emotions, and guilt and worries, and HORMONES when ur newly pregnant and expecting said second child. I have been a loyal follower and lover of your blog (and you, and the family) since you came on the scene lol. I remember reading about you expecting again and thinking, hmmmm I love her and Marlowe (and Kyle)..what a sweet family. Cool for them, but we are one and done this way. Our girls are the same age and my worls begins and end with Miss Carrington Savannah. I feel sooo much familiarity when your speaking about Lowie and the happy times AND the struggles. I was crazy happy for you and your news, but sad at the same time that I felt you were messing up the dynamic we had secretly built (cra cra). You know, cool gals, turned wives and mothers of one. ….and then we have recently found out we are expecting baby number two (due in February), im now right on board with the angst, and worries and happiness and fear and joy, lol.
    I adore your writing and look forward to all that’s in store for you (and me)

    Thanks for always being so candid about your life, thoughts, happiness and fears.
    Rock on Sistah!

    06.21.16Reply
  13. Alex says:

    True Story: Hours after I’d given birth to my second daughter, I turned to my husband and said “I don’t want another baby.” AND I HAD JUST GIVEN BIRTH. I just couldn’t imagine loving someone else as much as I loved my first. But then the nurses brought my baby in to my recovery room, and I got to hold her and snuggle with her and let me tell you… it was LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!! I honestly never felt that way before (my first daughter was born prematurely and was in the NICU, so I didn’t have a “normal” bonding experience with her). Long story short… you will absolutely love that baby when you meet him!

    I love your blog and this story really resonated with me! Enjoy being a party of three… being a party of four is just as fun!

    06.21.16Reply
  14. Kerri says:

    What a wonderful post. What a blessing to be so in love with your daughter, there is no doubt you will be with your son as well. Boys are very very sweet.
    I have 4 boys and a girl and all of it is a roller coaster ride. My children are 20,18,16,12 and 6,same father.I remember being so nervous to tell them all about the last baby, afraid they would not want to have another- he is the light in all our lives. Our oldest sons went to colleges close to home just so they could be close to him. Love is all encompassing. Enjoy the ride!!
    Congratulations to you!
    Kerri

    06.21.16Reply
  15. Angie says:

    I’m new to your blog so I’m just now reading this. I know 100% exactly how you feel. I’m older than you with three precious kiddos (11, 9 and 6). I had that same extreme love for my firstborn and our sweet family of three. I talked with friends and family to try and figure out my feelings, after all I’m the oldest of nine children myself. Surely I know the blessing of a sibling or two (and beyond!). I struggled with feeling like I was betraying my oldest…like his world was about to be rocked and he had no idea. I’ll never forget what my friend said, “a sibling is the best thing you could ever give to Isaac…” And then I tried to picture a world for Isaac that DIDN’T include a brother or a sister and it made me sad! Sad to think about holidays without a sibling to roll their eyes at Aunt So and So’s fierce hugs, no late night talks after mom and dad have put them to bed, no sister or brother to help take care of their father and I as we age… I still get weepy looking at old pictures from those early days of our family of three. It still holds a very tender place in my heart…nothing comes close to that. My mom has always said, “there’s just nothing like your first…” I get it and I think that’s true. Yes your love multiplies and yes you have a very special and unique love for each. It’s true! And it’s so good. Take peace in that…and just think of all the special shenanigans and blessed times you get to watch unfold as Marlowe gets to be a big sister! Besides, I bet she’ll be great at giving her little brother all that great sisterly advice like who to date, what to wear on that first date and so on. There’s bittersweet, for sure, but there’s also soooo much good!

    XOXO,
    Angie

    06.26.16Reply
  16. Marale says:

    Eva, beautifully written & spoke to my heart as this is something my husband & I have been talking about. We have a 16-month old daughter and she is everything!

    I am worried that a second baby will never have as much undivided attention as our first did, simply because the first born is unlikely to sit still while you stare at the newborn. But I had some wonderful advice recently – the second (or subsequent) baby won’t get as much of your undivided attention, but they’ll have the love & attention of a sibling, which the first didn’t have. Definitely put my mind at ease.

    Marlowe is a gorgeous wee soul & will make your little boy feel so welcome – good luck with the rest of your pregnancy, looking forward to seeing more of your family adventures on Snapchat 😀

    06.30.16Reply
  17. Cathlene says:

    This is the first time reading your blog but wow did your story resonate! I am pregnant with a little boy due on Christmas Day and my daughter will be two next month. Because of my age we struggled so much trying to get pregnant with both of them and so the thought of a 2nd was a luxury for a while but I never gave up because I wanted my sweet baby girl to have a sibling since I am so close to my little brother. Now that it’s happening I’m worried too. Not so much that I won’t have love for my son but that my daughter and I will lose the special bond we now share. We love each other fiercely and are extremely close (her favorite place in the world is on my lap) and I am afraid of how much I’ll miss that. I guess looking on the bright side — how lucky are we both to have daughters that we love so very much and the blessing of a son on the way as well.

    06.30.16Reply
  18. Rochelle says:

    Awww, don’t overthink it. Based on what you say about the relationship you have with your daughter and husband he will fit right in with all of you. Keep on cuddling!!

    07.03.16Reply
  19. Devon Mendez says:

    We’re expecting our 2nd child as well and if you didn’t take the words right out of the depths of me! I too cry often and feel panicked at the thought of our family changing, my daughter doubting my insane love for her with the welcoming of her new sibling, the changes that will occur in my marriage, and so much more. I do think it’s normal to have these feelings but its so great to be able to read it or hear it from another person to know we are not alone and it will be OK. The feelings ebb and flow, some days are better than others, but I know this is God’s plan and I am excited for what our future holds. While I am an only child and always wished for a sibling, I feel God is blessing me with this gift through my daughter having a sibling.
    I really enjoy your blog and appreciate your witty, fun, and down-to-earth insight into various family topics, keep up the great work!

    07.05.16Reply