Dear mom going from 1 child to 2
I have had 3 moms approach me about this topic this week, so I figured it would help to write a blog about it.
I have to admit...I never thought I would only have one child. NOTHING against anyone who decides to just have one child--to each their own, but since I came from a family with 5 kids, I knew I wanted a big family.
Since we had struggled with infertility and miscarriage before we had our daughter Dahlia, and we always wanted to adopt--we decided one month after Dahlia was born to start the process to become foster parents. Every time that we went to a training and took a picture of our daughter--we would hashtag it something like, #imgettingsomesiblings #processtogetnewbestfriends or something ridiculous like that.
When Dahlia was 7 months old, we got our first placement--an almost 2 yr old girl and her older almost 4 year old brother. I never related getting foster kids to less time with Dahlia, that she wouldn't get enough attention, or that she wouldn't want us to foster (though we heard plenty of negative words from others) and I think that was because they weren't babies. I couldn't relate my love of them to her because I had never had toddlers before.
But as I'm sure you can imagine, there were a lot of changes that happened in our family bringing in two toddlers. Whenever we went to our friends or families houses (which is super hard with kiddos so little) people always wanted to help with Dahlia because they already knew her...instead of helping with our foster kids because that felt uncomfortable. We were soooo thankful for any help, but I felt like I was constantly having to give all of my attention to the other two, and I started to miss that one on one time with Dahlia.
One thing I did specifically to make sure that I still had "special" time with Dahlia was that I always nursed her after the other two went to bed, and made sure that we got that one on one, and whenever I felt like I was missing her--I would have Tony take care of the other two so I could just snuggle Dahlia or read to her or whatever. I would also do the same for him if he wanted some one on one time with her. I highly recommend doing this with your spouse if you can.
When Dahlia was 10 months old, we got a call that the bio mom to the other two was in labor, and we were asked if we wanted to take in the newborn. We prayed about it, and felt like God was calling up to take in this tiny baby girl (our now adopted daughter Selah). I definitely was worried about comparing her to Dahlia because she was a baby girl vs. toddler.
I was scared she wouldn't be as beautiful of a baby.
I was scared I wouldn't love her as much.
I was sad that Dahlia wouldn't be my baby girl any more.
I was afraid Dahlia would be jealous....
Were we making the right decision?
I thought about my relationships with my sisters and brother. I would never NOT want another sibling. Siblings are the gift of best friends straight from God. They are the people you play with when you are little, you learn from, you fight with sometimes :P, you support each other, you pray for each other, and even though you drive each other crazy--they are the only people you REALLY understand your childhood.
Some of you reading this might not have the best relationship with your own siblings. You might think that your siblings are not your best friends...but more of your enemies. I highly recommend that you teach your kids from a young age that siblings are a huge gift, that you aren't in competition with each other, but that you always have each other's backs and take care of each other.
Back to the main idea. :P
Let me calm some of your fears--
Selah was just as beautiful.
I love her just as much as her sister. They are so very different, so I love them very differently, but just as much.
Dahlia wasn't my baby girl anymore, but she stepped into that older sister role beautifully and has always loved Selah dearly.
Dahlia didn't seem to struggle with jealousy, but even if she did--kids will be jealous of others at some time or the other so I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be the worst thing ever.
We definitely made the right decision as these two little beauty queens are inseparable.
This was during Dahlia's first birthday photo shoot--she just wanted to hold the "baby"
Just a month later the older two siblings went into kinship care, and we were left with just two little girls. And we soon found out we were pregnant with our son Ace. (I'll save the going from 2-3 kids for another blog) But we have discovered that our kids LOVE each other more than anyone. They look out for each other, they play with each other, and they hate to be apart from each other. I'm sure they will have their fights (we have definitely had some hair pulling) but I wouldn't ever want to go back to just one baby.
By giving them a sibling...we are giving them a chance to be an aunt or uncle someday, someone to cling to through their hardest times, a play mate, someone to stick up for them when the world is against them, and someone to cheer them on when they want to give up.
It's ok to mourn the opportunity to spend all of your time with just one child, but don't let it consume those moments so that you don't enjoy the journey of a bigger family. Every time you have another tiny person enter your family--it takes at least 6 weeks to adjust. Don't judge too quickly during the time when you are exhausted, tired, and can barley function.
What probably shocked me the most though, is that I became a better mother once we had more kids in the house. I "let go" of some of my outrageous fears and paranoia that I had when I was a mother to just Dahlia--because I HAD to. I didn't have the energy to stress out as much. The relationship she had with her dad, grandparents, and family grew because I wasn't such a helicopter mom anymore. I let her spread her wings some, learn more on her own instead of protecting her too much.
I hope this blog encourages you that you made the right decision to have another baby. There will definitely be some hard times when you start to juggle more children, but by all means, you can always reach out to me if you are overwhelmed, stressed out, or not sure you can handle your life with more kids. I promise you can, and I'll help any way I can. But I promise you more than anything...your heart will grow, and you will love baby 2 just as deeply as you did baby 1. Blessings friends!