A big hello from the world of newly minted double motherhood! Yes, Kidlet has had a little promotion, and now we are venturing into big sisterhood and double motherhood with equal gusto.
But as with all new births, this one too came with unforeseen pangs. Foolish was I to assume that once done makes one a pro. Far from it. If last time was all about ‘learning to fall in love’, this time was surprisingly about ‘learning to fall in love again’ – but hang on – not with the Babybhai but with Kidlet. Yes! Today I talk about the dilemma of falling in love all over again with my firstborn.
If anyone had told me just a day before I took my very pregnant belly to the hospital, that I’d be questioning the depth of my feelings for my firstborn, I would have really scoffed (and barked at them – ‘Are you mad?’). As far as I was concerned, the battle ahead was about learning to love a new one, of creating space in my already full (?) heart for the new little person. So, the moment when my daughter walked in to visit her baby brother at the hospital – I was stunned to feel an emotion that I was wholly unprepared for.
My daughter, my baby, the center of my universe for a whole six years entered the room. And I felt happy, complete yet suddenly broken. I do not know how to explain the contrarian feelings that I felt at that moment. My baby was no longer a baby, she was a child now. And never was it more apparent than when she stood next to her baby brother. As I observed her face, full of excitement but certainly showing shades of resentment and hurt. I felt her pain. And realized that however much I pretend to understand it, it must be so much more difficult for a child to be going through.
And then there were my own feelings, looking at my two children side by side. One suddenly seemed older, bigger next to the other more fragile and young one. I wanted to protect my newborn from his sister’s generous hugs and kisses – what if she accidentally hurt him? And at the same time I felt resentful of my feelings. How could my baby hurt her little brother? Oh! But how come my baby was a baby no more? Why did I suddenly want her to become older and more responsible overnight? I was downright angry at her for not being a baby anymore. I hated myself for feeling that way. I was miserable. Having another child was not supposed to make me feel miserable, was it?
But then the visit got over. I will admit I was relieved to see my daughter go home for the night – it meant that I did not have conflicting emotions to deal with – at least for the that brief time. And later that night in the hospital as I looked at my new baby, I tried to recall how I had felt on the first night I’d spent with my daughter. It had been a mixture of terror and elation. After all, we had been first time parents then – scared of everything – especially of the newborn baby. But she had taught us to love her. She had been our first lesson in learning to love. And she turned out all right. We turned out all right too.
And here we were now, with a new baby in our care. And I will admit again – it was not love at first sight. There is still some fear mixed with the joy. But like our daughter taught us – we know that we will love again. It will come in slow, but it will come in strong. And as for the love and emotion that I feel for my daughter – it will still be there. The tenor of it will change, but the fervor will remain, if not grow. If you know what I mean. Do you? Are you the parent of two or more children too? Have you been through something similar as well? Would love to know and hear your stories.
Nidhi Dorairaj Bruce is a Freelance writer from Mumbai who also manages a parenting website: thechildrensdaily.net . With no formal education in Parenting, she has been getting on-the-job training ever since her daughter, affectionately referred to as ‘the kidlet’, arrived on the scene 5 years ago. You can connect with Nidhi @typewritermom , nidhibruce.com