C plays with her dolls and I watch, mesmerized. This child, this amazing little person came from me. She grew in my womb, feeding from what I ate, growing on my love. For months I was the only one who felt her pokes and prods. I rubbed her back through my belly, pushed her feet out of my ribs, holding them tenderly in my hand. When she was born she surprised me, from day one she was so very much her own little person. My chin, M’s eyes, her personality.
To say that it was love at first sight would be a fallacy. I hardly knew her, how could I love her? My love for C has grown day by day until it now oozes out of me. Even when she’s being a brat I can’t help but want to scoop her up, squeeze her silly, and cover her in never ending kisses. She is my daughter, my flesh and blood, and right now, she owns my heart.
In four short months there will be another child in my arms, another babe at my breast, and I am petrified. I’m not scared of having to care for an infant, I’ve done it before and I’m pretty sure M and I can do it again. My deepest, darkest secret, only revealed to a few close friends and the Internet, is that I’m terrified I won’t be able to love this child as much as I love the first.
If you mention this fear to just anyone they will brush it off, tell you that everyone feels that way, that it’s normal. They will tell you that there is no limit to how much love a heart can hold, that having a second child won’t take away any love from the first. The words make sense, but my brain doesn’t buy it. It’s like trying to reason with someone who has a phobia, the logic doesn’t penetrate the fear.
C and I have a special relationship. I understand her like no one else. She is always my first priority, my first thought. I can’t fathom having to share myself between two children. Who will come first? Who will I run to first in an emergency? How will I split myself in half? How is sharing me going to affect C? Will she feel less loved, less cherished?
These questions tear at my head and my heart filling me with fear of what’s to come. It’s my deep, dark secret, the one I can’t share with just anyone.