Infertility Kids Motherhood

Rough waters on the way to the finish line.

Rough waters on the way to the finish line.
Written by Leah Peterson

The complexities that exist in family dynamics run a deep and vast range in similarity and differences. The change that is coming to our little family this fall, is unlike any I can recall, nor can my husband, or any of our close family. That is, can any one of us relate to the emotions that come when a family transitions from one child to two? Sure, our families made that transition. The difference is that the age gap between siblings is so small, and came at such a young age that we do not remember being an “only.”  By the time this unexpected blessing arrives in late October, our dear daughter will have 7 ½ years under her belt. And while the past few months have been full of joy and anticipation, the last few days have brought about some very different feelings.

I have been feeling better, so have found the energy to tackle the desire to start creating a space for baby. I painted the room, and have been garage sale shopping, and making lists to prepare. It’s been so long since I was pregnant and in this place, that I feel like I am starting over. DD has been right by my side, offering input and being most helpful as she goes through her things and adds them to the piles of what she wants to gift to little sister. It truly warms my heart. Last night as we laundered some clothes, she was studying the little “sayings” that were printed on all the adorable onesies. She came to one, read it, put it down and fled in tears. I picked it up before hollering for her and read it. It said “Daddy’s Girl.”  

Then, I started bawling too.

We have prayed and prayed that our family would grow over the years. As I turned 35, I decided that God was telling me that His answer was that we would remain a one child family. I gave away and sold most of my baby things last year. The little girl whom I love, challenged that daily. She wanted so badly to have a brother or sister to love. Then, this surprise came. To say that we were shocked, is an understatement. At 24 weeks pregnant, I am still working through the range of emotions. Now that we realize our reality will be here soon, the emotions come faster and harder. Hence, the little Peterson family meltdown last evening.


So, how do I proceed? Daddy laughed and comforted her, telling her that he had room in his heart for “2 favorite girls.”  I watched the wheels turning in her head as she tried to process what he was telling her. The truth is that neither he nor I can begin to understand her emotions. We are both firstborn, but cannot recall a memory that exists pre-siblings. We can’t relate to the idea of having to learn to share parents and things. We don’t have memories of special times with our parents or grandparents that were “just us” or what it felt like to not have anyone to fight with at home. And I, do not have any experience yet with learning how to love more than one child. These waters are rough and uncharted.

As we hit the mid-point of summer, I want time to hurry and standstill all at once. I savor the time that will be the last “her and I” as she has always been my shadow. Yet, I am anxious for fall and the new beginnings. It is the most beautiful, terrifying, joyful, uncomfortable, emotional, and thankful place I have ever been in. I don’t know how I would manage it, if not for a wonderfully supportive husband and small group of cheerleaders who know how “hard” things have been these last 10 years.

For now, I resort to praying a lot, doing research and reading about how to care for and nurture both my girls, and letting my husband’s humor carry me through the tough times. I have never worried so much about screwing up this parenting gig, and at the same time being so thankful that I get the chance to do it again.

For those of you who can empathize, I would sincerely appreciate your feedback and ideas. The HVFH family is chock full of wise women who have supported and nurtured one another. And, it’s a place where I have felt like I can share my vulnerable self. For that, I thank you all.

About the author

Leah Peterson

Leah Peterson is a native Nebraskan, living on the ranch her ancestors homesteaded in 1878. She and her husband Matt, met at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and returned to the ranch in 2012 after working and living in Central Nebraska the past 12 years. They are parents to two daughters, Maggie and Lucy. Leah has an undergrad degree from UNL in Communication Studies, and a MA in Leadership from Bellevue University. Aside from her work at the ranch and opportunity to be a stay at home mom, she enjoys writing, photography, community involvement, spending time with friends and family and trying new recipes in her kitchen. Leah published her first children’s book in 2011 titled “An Apple for Dapple” and enjoys traveling throughout the state to share her book with children and raise awareness about the importance Agriculture in Nebraska.


  • I can totally empathize with you! After nearly 9 years of parenting 2 wonderful, beautiful girls we found ourselves with a new little blessing in December, a boy. I recall both my girls having very similar reactions as your little girl. One time in particular was, after the baby shower, when we were going through all the baby’s clothes my 8 year old held up a onsie that said ‘Mommy’s Most Wanted’. The look on her face said it all, I told her that the shirt wasn’t true, that they were all wanted. To this day he has Not worn that onsie and never will, how inconsiderate of someone to purchase that for someone that already has children!!!

    Something that helped my girls was that we repainted each of their rooms and got them a new comforter to match so that they didn’t feel left out. I also made it clear when people would say ‘you’ve got good helpers’ I would say ‘ only if they want to help.’
    The biggest thing was that I told everyone before he was born that no one except Mommy and Daddy would hold the baby until each of the girls got to hold him and I stuck to my guns! (it was good delivery so literally the doctor delivered him set him right on my chest, after I held and fed him, I cleaned him up and put a diaper on him then daddy held him while grandma got the girls and then the girls each held him. It was a wonderful and intimate time for our immediate family. Only after the girls said that were done ogling their new brother did the grandparents and Aunts get to hold him. I really think it helped them bond as siblings. He is now 7 months old and adores his sisters, yes there have been struggles making sure that my 9 and 13 year old still feel special but mostly things are good 🙂

  • We are in a very similar situation. Our son will be 6 1/2 when this baby is born. He’s been asking for a baby brother or sister for years but after several losses, we had just figured we would be an only child family. We were surprised and blessed by this ‘rainbow’ baby. Of course, we’re all thrilled, but it is still taking some getting used to by all of us. Our son is really excited and has all sorts of plans of things he can do for the baby and things he’ll be able to teach him or her. But, he’s also worried about the baby taking too much of our time so we’ve been trying to reassure him that he’ll still get plenty of time with Dad and Mom. I know the transition will be hard for him when the baby arrives, especially since I’m due around the holidays, but I’m also grateful for the age difference as it means we were able to devote so much time to our son when he was a baby and we will be able to do the same for this one.