Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Balancing Act

As I am about to venture within the remaining 10 weeks of my pregnancy, I have become consumed with thoughts about my son. It really worries me to think about how he will react to the new baby. He will point to my belly when I ask him, "Where is your baby sister?". He will even want to kiss my belly sometimes. But he can't possibley understand the inevitable truth about what it means when baby comes out.

For almost 2 years, he has been my only child. Attending to him and raising him has been the only job description I have held since he was born. That is all he knows of how this mother/child relationship works. He has my full on sole attention throughout the day. When he asks for my help, he needn't wait more than a few minutes until I complete my task at hand. He is used to being the only occupant of my lap. The relationship and trust that has been established means everything to him AND I.

How is that going to change when I bring home our daughter?

From his point of view, he will say goodbye to mommy and daddy for a day or two and they will come back with a little noisy, attention hogging baby. Another child. Another little being that will be sharing mommy's lap. Will he resent me? Will he demand ALL of my attention? Will he be completely indifferent? My biggest fear is the first reaction. When he stays by his grandparents for a few days, it takes him a while to be affectionate with me again. He will greet me upon pick up, but than continue on playing as if I weren't there at all. If he begins to resent me for bring home a baby sister, and turns from me only to land within his father's arms - I will be heart broken. Thankful that he finds trust and comfort in his daddy, but saddened that he won't want anything to do with me. How long will that take to go away? We will have family here to help make the initial transition smoother - by giving him the same amount of attention that he is used to receiving (if only as a distraction at first to the new baby). They will also attend to the baby in ways they can, so that I can have free time to play with Jax. But when everyone leaves and it's just him, me and baby sister - will he feel adjusted yet? He will have to learn to wait a whole lot longer for my one on one attention. How do I keep it fair to him and have the baby "wait" while I am busy with him?

Demanding my sole attention and rejecting the baby's presence will be just as hard to deal with. Jackson will be just shy of 2, not yet in control of all his body movements - how hard and rough he can be. He knows what "nice touches and gentle means" but babies are extra sensitive. How do I handle nursing the baby when he wants to sit on my lap? Will I be constantly saying, "You can't sit here now, sweetheart. I have to feed your baby sister, we will play after she's all done." Will he feel like I am constantly rejecting him? Already he is being forced to give up over half his time with me and I couldn't bare to think that I would make him feel even more rejected.
From my point of view, I will be saying goodbye to my son on the eve of delivery after spending all my waking moments with only him - and bring back another child who demands all of my attention in a different way - but the only thing that will give, is my time with my son.

Have any of you had this obsessing thought before your second child arrived? I have been reading up on ways to help "prepare" the older sibling and help get them adjusted easily. But in the end - all those suggestions are for older children (3+) There is little references out there for the older siblings who are only 2.

Please give me your encouraging thoughts and experiences on this topic. I could use some good thoughts!



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8 comments:

TIFFANY said...

My oldest was just under three when we brought home baby #2. I remember having these same worries then (and when we brought home babies 3 and 4).
My best advice is to relax. When the new baby comes, take your cues from Jackson as to what he needs from you. If he wants to help, let him. He can bring you a diaper or blanket for the baby. He can sit next to you while you nurse the baby and turn the pages of the book while you read. In the beginning, it will be a little hard to give him all the attention he wants, but pretty soon you will all get into a routine and you'll be able to carve out some special time for just him.

Melinda said...

I had many of the same fears before having Addie! Many of your fears will be a non-issue, so rest-assured! One piece of advice I will give is if both children need you at the same time...and they will...tend to Jax first and the baby second. It won't hurt the baby to cry for a bit and she won't remember having to wait. It'll avoid a tantrum from Jax and he'll be assured that you're still there for him. Another thing I did with Crista is have her own "baby" ready so she could play mama along with me. When I changed Addie's diaper, she changed her baby's diaper. I can't tell you how many times Crista nursed her baby while I was nursing Addie! I know Jax is a boy, but children don't understand the gender thing yet.

Try not to worry too much about these things. Everyone will find their new place in the family! Children are very resilient!!

Nicolasa said...

While I don't have any children of my own (yet!) your worries sound completely natural to me. I know that you're a great mom, from the way you talk about your son, so I know that you'll find a way to make it work. It might be tricky at the beginning, but you'll all figure out it.

Veronica said...

First of all, try not to beat yourself up. I've been there before and I felt the exact same way. The transition for me was the toughest going from having only one child and going to two. Two to three was definitely way easier even though Audrey was younger than Alyssa was when the next baby came along.

I know you probably know all of this stuff already being that your brother is always such a big help with child rearing and such, but it was my experience that yes, the initial transition can be tough, but it's really not for long. I remember crying a lot before Audrey came worrying about every little detail. When she was born, Alyssa was sad and moped around a bit but she eventually got better and understood that the baby was here to stay and we still loved her.

When Alivia was born, Audrey had just turned two. Thankfully, she loved the baby and at most, she just liked to touch her a lot.

I know it's easy to worry a bunch, but just try not to dwell on it too much. It will work itself out and yes, you will have to have Jackson waiting a bit for you while you help sister at times, but he will adjust and you'll find a groove in no time! You can do it!

Jenilee said...

my girls always adjusted fine and they were under two! my girls are 21 and 19 months apart. I think I had a harder time of it than they did worrying that they were having a hard time! whew! what we put ourselves through! :) lol

Holly said...

I think it's normal to worry. You've gotten some great advice so far. I can't give you any b/c I have none! I'm not sure what to expect either. I'm just gonna go with the flow and see how it goes!

croleyc69 said...

etifyYou have got a lot of great advice and I know just don't worry. I did and things worked out better than I thought. When I had Marie Ridge had just turned 2. I know I just took time for Ridge when Marie was sleeping or had him help me every chance he could or wanted. Then when I had Jennifer Marie turned 2. It all worked out and now with Carly they all love her and they all play together. I think things will be fine.

{{HUGS}}
Caroline

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