Growing Pains


I miss the blissful simplicity of my firstborn. I know so many people feel overwhelmed by become a parent for the first time but all I remember (with rose-colored glasses, of course) is how right everything felt. 

I knew I was going to screw up. I knew I wouldn’t get everything right. However, I also knew that I was poring my whole self into this little being and it felt so so good. I could cuddle and fawn over him until my heart was content. It was just me and him, him and me. 

Things seem more complicated before you even get pregnant with the next child. You wonder if you’re doing the right thing. You wonder how you will ever love another child as much as you love the first one. You wonder what the gender will be and what that will mean for your family. All of a sudden there is another world of good and bad possibilities opened up because you have another person to consider now. 

And it doesn’t change. With every pregnancy I’ve wondered if I’m doing the right thing. Can I still be the mother I want to be if I add another child to the mix? What if something goes wrong? What if I’m challenged in ways I can’t imagine? What will that leave for my other children?

Then, the next baby arrives and your worries and fears dissipate in a way. It doesn’t matter anymore whether or not you’re doing the right thing because you are doing it. There’s no worrying about the children that came before because now the idea of another child or the blurry images in an ultrasound picture is HERE.

Your galaxy now contains another planet. 

Now, the growing pains that existed in the logical part of your brain shift to the emotional center of your heart. 

Now, you must find space for another source of boundless, infinite love. Except - with this new one, with another one - you have to make peace with the fact that it is no longer a 1:1 ratio. It isn’t you and him and him and you. It is him… AND him…. AND him.

It feels like trying to watch three sunsets simultaneously. The second you look to the beauty of one you miss the beauty of another. You feel your heart stretching and growing and trying so hard to do it all -  for ALL of them.

When Amos was born, I fought it so hard. I was young. I was full of energy. Plus, they were so little. Surely, if I tried hard enough, I could find a way to meet every need of my two-year-old and my baby. 

I tried and I failed and I made my peace with my new reality.

Now, Felix is here and again I feel my heart stretching. I want to read to Griffin and be outside with Amos and let Felix sleep peacefully on my chest all at the same time. I know I can’t. I don’t fight it. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less when Amos says, “Momma, pick me up! I won’t hurt the baby.” or when I have to send Griffin to Daddy for help with his homework because I’m breastfeeding. 

It is the most poignant of pain. It hurts because I am in the presence of something so big and powerful and wonderful sometimes the beauty of it overwhelms me.

I am the mother of three sons. 

But, my universe has expanded and my heart will as well.