Friday, August 17, 2018

The Guilt of a Second

I write from the throes of pregnancy at week forty. 

None of my favorite jeans fit, I’m sleeping very little and I find myself hungry all the time. It’s like college all over again, but my beloved Chocolate Shop isn’t right around the corner. 

I have a terrible admission to make. I thought if I tell you – and only you – it’ll be off my chest and perhaps I’ll feel a bit less guilt? We’ll see. 

I feel terribly guilty about having a second child. Our daughter Caroline, who just turned two in July, has soaked up every bit of attention and adoration my husband and I have had to offer for twenty-four months. There is no way a second could capture our hearts in the way she has. It is as though I have little love left to give because my heart is running around the outside of my body, begging to go check cows with her baby doll in tow. 

Is this normal? 

Did anyone else feel like their second child would automatically be getting the short end of the stick right out of the gate? How could I possibly love anything in the way I love our first born?

The second will be introduced to hand-me-down clothes on the day they (gender to be discovered at time of birth) come home from the hospital. 

The second will be swaddled in blankets monogrammed with their big sister’s initials. 

The second will use sippy cups with little teeth marks already along the edges. 

The second will never know a mother without grey hair or dark circles under her eyes. 

The second will be bathed with tattered washcloths, wear bibs with spaghetti stains down the front and strut around in cowboy boots already broken in to fit someone else’s feet. 

The second will read books with missing pages, put together puzzles with bent corners and will never have a plastic kiddie pool to themselves.

The second will be compared to the first, out of habit. Will they walk sooner? Cry longer? Bite harder? I pray daily that they arrive in fewer than twenty-six hours of labor. 

The second will use a pacifier that fell on the barn’s dirt floor and wasn’t boiled afterwards. Or, ever. 

The second will blow out birthday candles that have already been lit and blown out once before.  

The second will never get to name their first heifer without input from the next room over. 

The second will never have their birthdate or initials used in a password sequence.

The second will require a sense of humor, high pain tolerance and fierce independence for survival. 

The second is definitely getting the short end of the stick. 

I told my mom and sister about my feelings of guilt and my perceived inability to ever love a second child in the way I have loved our first. My mom quickly responded to my concern with, “How do you think I felt with three kids?!” 

It should be noted here that I’m child number three. 
And her response actually explains a lot of the last thirty-three years. 


Cyrus Sankey was born August 10, 2018 and when it comes to my fears listed above, 
I think I've had a change of heart.