I didn’t exactly go the traditional route.
While my classmates were contemplating where to attend college or what to major in, I waddled across the high school stage in a red graduation gown just 20 days before I found myself in the throes of labor. Now shaking in a hospital gown, I hunched over, holding my boyfriend’s hands while the anesthesiologist guided the epidural’s needle into my back.
Less than five hours later, I held a precious bundle of pink, girly joy in my arms and fell madly in love with being mama to this sweet daughter of mine.
That boyfriend became my husband shortly after and as we navigated life as a new family, bringing another child into the picture never crossed either of our minds.
She was our world, and nothing was missing.
It took five years to come down with baby fever.
While I was thrilled to finally see those two pink lines (we had been trying for almost a year), something in the back of my mind made me wonder if we were making the right choice.
I loved being a mom to an only child.
She was my sidekick. My little best friend.
We did everything together.
From the moment she woke up in the mornings, the entire day was just for us.
While other moms around me were seemingly happy to have babies in quick succession, I had been so content in our little life together.
I wondered and I worried . . . was I throwing at all away?
The new baby came and my only child became a big sister.
I had heard about the instant, overwhelming love other moms felt for their second borns…but it just didn’t happen that way for me.
I loved him, my new precious boy . . . but I knew my daughter. I had known her for six years.
And this squishy little stranger was someone new. I remember holding him up my chest, only a few days old, crying, praying for God to help me bond with him. I loved him and I had the desire to care for him, but I felt ashamed that I didn’t seem to feel the same amount of incredible love for him that I read other moms posting about on social media.
I thought I had made a horrible mistake.
Our family ecosystem had shifted and I was to blame because I was the one who wanted to bring another member into our world.
I felt so ashamed, wondering what was wrong with me. Wishing I had just left well enough alone, leaving our little triangle intact instead of expanding.
But then . . .
I saw my daughter caring for her little brother. I saw her holding his bottles, kissing his head.
We had front row seats to watching her fully grow and mature into her role in our family as a big sister.
We got to know this new boy in our family and he was nothing short of a delight.
We got to know him and we got to know our new life together.
And now, we can’t imagine life without our boy.
Those days of wondering if it would all work out seem like a distant blur.
Our family grew, our home grew, our hearts grew . . .
But not without some growing pains.
I sometimes feel the ache in my belly to be filled with another little life. I smile and think of muslin blankets and pacifiers, wonder how it would be to have the smell of Dreft fill our laundry room again. I wonder how it would feel to wake up in the middle of the night to cries and coos again, to go back to buying diapers.
Only now I never wonder if I could love another child, if our family could shift and bend to welcome the next member properly, because I know without a doubt.
The answer is yes. No second guessing.