How Does a Mother’s Love Grow?

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on February 12, 2014 in Anecdote, Family |

A few months ago, my toddler (affectionately known on the Internet as The Boy) woke up from an unusually short nap. He was sitting in his crib kind of wobbling back and forth, like he wasn’t really awake, and sobbing. He had pooped (this is not TMI b/c when you’re a mom to babies or toddlers, poop is a way of life), which was probably the reason why he had awoken so suddenly.

I changed him and sat down in the glider for a few minutes of quiet time, guessing he wasn’t going to go back down. And then he fell asleep right against my chest, something he hadn’t done in probably over a year. It was wonderful to feel his little chest rising up and down on me and to hear his steady breathing. To sit quietly with my always on the move toddler was a treat I hadn’t had much of lately.

Since then, this type of thing has been happening more and more, and though I still love snuggle time with him, it’s not quite as charming as it was that first time because he seems to have regressed on the whole sleeping in his own bed thing. Having sleep problems suddenly at 2-1/2 when he previously has always been a very good sleeper has been difficult to deal with (to say the least).

We’ve had to change over from the crib to the toddler bed because he kept trying to climb out and right now, either Mommy or Daddy has to be in the room in order for him to stay in bed and fall asleep. Not an awesome situation, but it’s the lesser of all the evils we’ve attempted so far. At least this way, there’s generally no crying (for all parties involved) and he settles down pretty quickly. I’ve also been getting a lot of quiet time to read and reflect on my own stories, but still this has been a stressful time for the whole family.

The hardest thing is I know why he has the need for extra comfort and there’s not much I can do to take away his sleep and separation anxiety. A few days before our first nap time in the glider, The Boy had gotten some news: He was going to be a big brother! Though I’m guessing he doesn’t know how this will change his life, I am sure he understands his life is going to change, as will the family dynamic.

He’s a sensitive, intuitive kid. Something I love about him, but it can make big changes like this especially hard on him and on me and his father. So while I was thrilled to learn I was pregnant, I was also anxious on how it was going to impact The Boy. Big changes take time for him to process.

I guess it was naive of me to think the second pregnancy would come with fewer worries. But it’s not a matter or more or fewer, it’s just different worries. I’m more comfortable with my changing body this time around and less anxious about the delivery and how to take care of a newborn.

Instead I worry about how I’ll manage to take care of a toddler and a newborn. I worry about losing all the special time I now have with The Boy, and how the new baby will never have me like The Boy did. Sure, I can spend time individually with each of them, but it won’t ever be the same again. I worry about having to put even more responsibilities on my husband when he already does so much.

And then there are the selfish worries. I already give so much of myself to The Boy, I wonder with another one if I’ll be giving too much of myself away. At what point do I go from being a well-rounded, dynamic person to just a mother? What kind of mother can I be if I’m not in a good, healthy frame of mind? Then there’s the worry about having even less husband/wife time. And the worry that I’m ruining The Boy for life because I’m staying in his room while he falls asleep (at least I don’t have to sit on the floor and hold his hand anymore!). And how am I gonna deal with a second child when right now I’m not even feeling like I’m dealing with having one? Whew!

I’m getting all angsty just writing about this. That’s not to say I’m not very excited about having another child. I grew up in a big family and always knew I wanted more than one child. I think The Boy is going to be a thoughtful big brother, and I’m so excited he’ll have a sibling. I treasure my own sibling relationships and wouldn’t want my children to grow up their own. A big family can mean compromise and fighting and noise, but it can be full of love and fun and adventure.

And, well, it wasn’t my intention to announce my pregnancy on the blog with so much negativity in the post, but I’ve been trying to be more real and honest in my writing, and it seems to be spilling over here as well. As a family, we really are very excited about expanding our ranks. I love being a mom. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.

I know, too, that one day The Boy won’t need his mommy so much and will probably even not want to be around me at all. So beneath the frustration of having to be around him so much, I’ve been trying to appreciate being around him so much.

I’m excited, too, about bringing another human into the world and getting to know him (oh right, I haven’t told you yet…it’s a boy!). I’m excited about seeing what kind of men my two boys will turn out to be. I know they will fight, but I hope they are friends like my siblings and I are friends. I hope they find a passion for a career like I have found in writing and are able to pursue it. I love how The Boy already likes to give his little brother kisses (on my belly) and we talk about how he’s going to teach the baby sign language and “help” change the baby’s diapers.

There’s so much to look forward to. No matter how scary change can be (which for me seems to be harder to deal with as I get older), it’s wonderful and life affirming. And, well, we’re having a baby! So let’s put the worries aside and celebrate!

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  • Meradeth says:

    Yay!! A boy 🙂 That’s so exciting! And the two boys will totally have such an awesome relationship. (And fight like brothers–but, hey, that’s part of the fun…for them…or at least, that what I think when I watch my hubby still enjoy arguing with his 4 brothers.) And I appreciate your honesty here–I can only imagine all the concerns, but you’ll be great. *Hugs!*

  • Tammy Lowe says:

    Congratulations! I am so excited for you. ♥

  • Mary says:

    Congrats, Katie!

    I think all your worries and fears are things we all think about and aren’t always willing to share with the world. Thanks for sharing yours. I think you and your husband are doing a great job, and I’m sure your little men will be a great reflection of the love you have for each other!

  • Loren says:

    This is the kind of wonderful, honest mom post we would have printed out for our clients (parents of toddlers and growing families)to read!
    When I was pregnant with my second, I was terrified I wouldn’t love him as much as my first. One day, one of our senior social workers mentioned this fear of mothers. I was so relieved to hear it was common.
    (And when they put the baby in my arms, the fear was blown away).

    Katie, remember you’re doing all the recommended things, and are such a natural at it!

    BTW, to help children deal with the anxiety of births, transitions, separations, our supervisors recommended parents put together a (personalized) book with relevant pictures, and simple captions.
    (I’m sure you’d do great with that.)

  • Congratulations! This is such a wonderful time in your life, enjoy every minute! I miss my babies and those sweet days. The world feels different now that they’ve grown up. Also, when my now 23 year old was a baby, I spent some time IN HER CRIB with her! Yup. Desperate times and all that. 🙂

  • It all seems so big and overwhelming when we try to anticipate what will happen. I guess that’s why we can only live one day at a time, one moment at a time. Congratulations to you and your husband on your growing family and the added blessings that await you with the addition of a new child.

  • Leona Pence says:

    Congratulations, Katie! Your post made me smile as I thought back to the births of my four children. I believe most mothers have those same fears. We have plenty of love to go around.

    Kids go through phases of insecurity. We solved our daughter’s problem with a stuffed bear that she named Becky, and slept with her arms around it. Becky became her security blanket substitute.

    Loved your post. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • Mirka Breen says:

    This is worthy of a real milk-glass clinking and a huge congratulatory hug.
    The worries come with the territory. They are the first and permanent sign you are a parent. I’ve been there, and am now still there as mine are much older. Worry=Mom.
    The best thing I did for DS is to give him a sister. After the first six months, he would say the same, and still does.

  • J.Q. Rose says:

    Congratulations! 2 boys! Wow you’ll have your hands full. BTW there’s no warranty on these babies. Once they’re here, you cannot return them! (After 3 months, I tried. ha!) Reading this thoughtful post I know you will do just fine. Be assured we’ve all been there in some form or other and experienced the same doubts and questions you share here. Somehow our hearts grow right along with our children so we have enough love to cover every one of them with that unconditional mother’s love. What an exciting adventure you face. Come on in and experience it. Being a mom IS the most important job you can ever have. God bless.

  • Beverly says:

    Congratulations, Katie. Everything will work out. 🙂

  • After having three–I promise it all sorts itself out despite all the worrying we feel we need to do. You’ve got this. Breath and enjoy those cuddles for the wonderful, simple things they are.

  • Thank you all so much for all the encouraging word, support, and congrats. I was all set to share the joyous news of a new baby on the way and then it was like my life came to a grinding halt with so many complications that the last couple of weeks have been a get through each day one at a time kind of time.

    I appreciate being able to have a place to come an be honest. Because my life is wonderful. My job is to take care of my babies, write, and edit other writers’ works. But it’s hard to always put on a happy front when things are feeling hard. So thanks again for listening and sharing. I feel blessed and loved today.

  • Vijaya says:

    Congratulations Katie! I think the worries are all part and parcel of being a mother. And isn’t it funny that our hearts have room for more? Enjoy. I rather miss those days when my kiddos were little.

  • Congratulations, Katie! I’m so excited for you.

  • Leandra says:

    Congrats on the coming addition! I’ve always loved the thought of two brothers making their way side-by-side in the world. =)

  • Congratulations! As everyone else has said, it will all work out perfect. Your post brought me right back to when my son was 2 1/2 and trying out his big bed for the first time. He called out in the night “I’m still a baby!”

  • You are a wonderful lady and mother. Love grows and overflows. Congrats!!! 🙂

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