Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

When you have your first child and they hand you that baby, you think to yourself there is nothing in the world you could love more.

Then, you find out you’re pregnant with your second. Secretly, you think to yourself you and your firstborn have this unbreakable bond and he still may be your favorite, because he was your first, after all.

Then you come home with your new baby and your oldest runs over while holding a foam sword in one hand and hard plastic flute in the other. You stiff arm your firstborn away like you’re Todd Gurley. You feel this innate sense to protect your baby (the new baby of the family) from your oldest. So, the barrier begins.

I find all of this a little amusing as I am also the oldest. I always felt this little bit of a barrier between my mother and me when it came to my younger brother. Why was it always my fault when something broke? Why does she still pour his cereal for him at age 25? Why was it my responsibility to set the example (mind you, I did)? I graduated high school with a 4.0 and went on to graduate college in three years. I did have a great childhood and have an amazing relationship with both my parents to this day, but that always loomed in the back of my mind. Then it all came full circle that day I brought my son home to my almost-3-year-old daughter.

I, of course, love both of my children the same—unconditionally. But, what no one warns you about having your second child is the frustration you will take out on your first. You expect your toddler to now act like an adult as you truly have a baby back in the house. I remember telling my daughter you can get your own snack, you can put on your own shoes, you can find that lost toy. I would snap at her, my patience lacking from only getting a couple of hours of sleep.

I would hear my son cry and immediately think my daughter had done something to accidentally hurt him or wake him (most of the time it was her waking him). I could feel this growing resentment toward her that I hated. She would be hanging off my neck while I had my son on my boob and I just wanted her to leave. I wanted that special time with my son and mostly, I just wanted time to myself.

Finally, one day when she was acting out about something minuscule, I caught myself, and instead of yelling I simply asked her, “What is the matter?” She turned to me with her beautiful blue eyes and said, “I just want you to hold me.” My heart sank. I couldn’t even think about the last time I had held her. Her bedtime routine had been cut down to five minutes of YouTube Kids and a quick prayer goodnight for the past month, all while I rocked my son for what seemed like an eternity to get him to fall asleep.

It was in that moment that, for the first time, I felt like I was failing at being a mom to two souls. I had to take that barrier down that was put up the day I brought my son home. I took her in my tired arms and held her. I could hear my son crying in the distance for his next feeding. My daughter let go and said, “it’s OK mommy, go get him.” I didn’t. I let him cry it out a little longer while I held my first baby.

Now, a year later my daughter is the BEST big sister I could ever ask for. Those first months with a new baby and a toddler do seem to drag on, but somewhere in the midst of the chaos, your older child will see and learn the love you have for both of them. My daughter has stopped my son from choking on random items more times than I can count. She looks out for him, she plays with him, she loves him. It’s not always rainbows (there was that one time she held his head underwater during a bath to teach him how to blow bubbles), but for the most part, they are great together.

I have learned how to break that invisible barrier down. And hey, even if I still snap at my eldest from time to time and expect more from her, there is a reason for it. I’m raising her to be a confident, successful firstborn woman. After all, that’s why they say the oldest is more likely to be president and most astronaut to go into space have been eldest children. I’m a pretty fabulous oldest child myself, too.

You may also like:

Dear Toddler, We’ll Figure Out How to Handle a New Baby Like We Do Everything Else: Together

My Second Baby Taught Me to Mother Without Fear

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Rachael Ramas

Rachael is a writer and chief encouragement officer to her fam of four. She is a Jesus lover, baby hugger and schedule juggler. As a midwestern girl living in a South Florida world, she enjoys transcribing her time raising her fournager daughter and wild man one year old. She doesn’t take herself too seriously but does her kids bedtime.

Dear Exhausted New Parents, It Gets Better

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother kissing newborn on forehead, color photo

I was a new mom to a cranky infant who refused to sleep at night unless I was cradling him tight and pacing the floor with him. I couldn’t put him down in the crib. He wouldn’t last two seconds in the swing. I couldn’t even slow my stride to the point where I could slip into a standing/rocking position without him wailing angrily at me. No. I had to walk, and walk quickly. Nothing else would do. So I paced back and forth in my bedroom with him every night for weeks. I was exhausted—physically, emotionally, and mentally—and it...

Keep Reading

It’s More Than a Crib Once It’s Held Your Babies

In: Baby, Motherhood
White crib in baby's room, black-and-white photo

It’s just a piece of furniture. Maybe. But to a mom who has laid three babies down in it over seven years, it is so much more. It’s everything. I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I didn’t know yet what we were having, but I knew I could start planning the nursery. I didn’t want to paint yet . . . until we knew. So we started looking at furniture, the chair you would be rocked in, the books to adorn your ever-growing collection, the dresser to house the ridiculous amount of...

Keep Reading

Never Forget How Much I Love You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding nursing newborn, black-and-whte photo

I see us here. In our spot. You and me. And I’m overwhelmed with thankfulness. A gratitude that grows because I have what I’ve watched others long for. And even for some who I love, I’ve watched them lose. Two times now, I’ve become a mama. Two healthy pregnancies, two drama-free, full-term deliveries, and two perfect princesses, we’ve welcomed into this world. In utero, they voiced concerns. Yet with every ultrasound and appointment, we got good news. You were perfection. Just two short months after this photo was taken, I found a spot in that very breast nourishing you. I...

Keep Reading

This is the Bittersweet Goodbye to the Baby Years

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Little girl pushing toddler brother in baby swing, color photo

Last August, I had my last baby. Oof. Even typing those words makes my heart ache. There’s something so final, so sad, so unreal about acknowledging the end of having babies. Maybe it’s because I’m the type of person who likes to keep all the doors open. I love possibilities. I hate goodbyes. And this, my friends, feels like a very hard goodbye. When I think about being done having kids, it feels like a goodbye to the baby years. For six years now, all I’ve known is the baby years. And while the baby years can drain me and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes God Sends a Double Rainbow

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
Two sacs as seen in early pregnancy sonogram

I lay on the ultrasound table prepared to hear the worst. While this pregnancy wasn’t totally expected, it was a miracle for me. I knew with the current stress in my life and the symptoms of a miscarriage, I may have to face another heartbreak to my series of heartbreaks over the last two years. I questioned what I did wrong to deserve it all. I prayed I had been stronger in my prior life: to have made better decisions. So I lay there, I held my breath, and I waited as the tech put the cold jelly over my...

Keep Reading

When Your Baby becomes a Big Boy

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler boy smiling with hoodie on

My son recently learned how to climb out of things, so I asked my husband to take the side off the crib to convert it to a toddler bed today. I snapped one last picture of my son in his crib before I hurried off to get him dressed for school. As I got to work, I saw my husband had sent me a text of the transformed crib, and it just about killed me. I know, I know . . . what even changed? It pretty much looks the same. But it’s more than just the side of the...

Keep Reading

I Know This Baby Is Our Last and It’s Bittersweet

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Woman snuggling baby by window

Three is our magic number. It always has been. It feels like the perfect number of kids for us. Everyone who belongs around my dinner table is here. Our family is complete. And yet even though my family is complete, I still find myself grieving that this is our last baby just a little bit as I pack up the teeny, tiny newborn onesies and socks. I’ve folded up swaddle blankets that saw us through the all-nighters of the newborn phase, ready to be passed along to a new baby in someone else’s family. But they won’t be swaddled around...

Keep Reading

I Wasn’t Sure You’d Be Here To Hold

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on her chest in hospital bed

I stood naked in my parents’ bathroom. Even with the tub filling, I could hear my family chattering behind the door. I longed to be with them, not hiding alone with my seven-month round belly, sleep-deprived, and covered in pox-like marks. For three weeks, I’d tried Benadryl, lotions, and other suggested remedies to cure the strange rash spreading over my body. No luck. By Christmas Day, my life had been reduced to survival. Day and night, I tried to resist itching, but gave in, especially in my sleep. At 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m., the feeling of fire ants...

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

My Second, It Only Took a Second To Fall In Love With You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on chest, black and white image

You were the second. The second child who, as a mother, I wondered if I could love as much and as fiercely as my first. It’s true, I’m ashamed to admit. As much as you were so desperately prayed for, I was scared. So, so scared. I was scared I was going to fail you. You were the second. And already so loved. But, you see, your brother was my whole entire world. My everything. He made me a mother and gave me all the firsts. My lap was only so big. My heart was only so big. There was...

Keep Reading