My brother and his wife sent me a gift in the mail. I received it today. It made me cry.
I haven’t written much about this because, well, it’s extremely personal and I’m still very much in the process of working through it. I’ve been working on this with my therapist as well. And I’ll be honest, I have often feared being misjudged by people if I were to write about it. It’s about how removed I am from this baby.
It’s not that I don’t want him; we very, very much want this baby. After our loss back in 2009 and all the failed fertility treatments, I very, very much want this baby. I hope I don’t have to convince anyone of that. But when I found out I was pregnant, and pretty much every day since then, I have, for whatever the reason, removed myself from his existence almost entirely. He hasn’t really ever been a him, our baby, a brother. Not yet.
Toby calls this a defense mechanism of sorts. He explains it pretty clearly: that after getting so attached to a previous future child—picturing holidays and school pictures, fits, screams and snuggles—and then losing said child at 12 weeks, well, of course I’m going to mentally remove myself from this one. Who would want to go through that again? Granted, I’m fooling no one. If something had happened or were to happen to this little guy, I’d be crushed beyond words. (This is not something I will further write about because it’s not something I wish to even think about. So enough about that.)
But I think there’s more to it than that. There’s the question: Can I love someone as much as I love my son? Will he be as sweet as Emory? Will he like animals as much? What if he’s mean to Emory? Will he like us? What if he’s not as kind and compassionate as Emory? These are common fears and thoughts for women when it comes to a second pregnancy, or so I am told. Thanks to my therapist, I feel better about the great hesitation I have had when it comes to fully embracing this creature. I feel better about not fully caring. And I do know that once he’s here, all of that will fall away. I know this.
And this shirt. This tiny little shirt! It reminded me of how painfully terrible 2009 was for my family. It reminded me again about how much we wanted this baby. It reminded me of the fact that he’s going to be an individual, that he already is. This shirt made me realize he will soon have a name, a hair color, two eyes, hopefully ten fingers and toes, legs, arms, a silly belly button, a wonderful little butt. He’ll have a mind of his own. He’ll be himself. An individual.
And seeing this message today on a this tiny little shirt—this reminder—made me cry. And I know this is likely to sound weird, but it kind of felt like he was saying this directly to me, his first ever message to me.
“Mom, I was worth the wait.”
He’ll be here soon. And my fear of losing him is falling away. This is becoming real. He is real. He is a boy, a person, a brother. He is my son.
And I suppose my acceptance of him into this world was worth the wait as well. I suppose I needed the wait.
You were worth the wait, Cujo Boudreaux.
I don’t usually comment on blogs. However, I’m a long time follower of yours. I don’t necessarily think there is any words that would make you feel better, but.. I hope you do soon. Stay strong, you will get through it. I’m not entirely sure if you even want to hear that, but.. I’m rootin for you. :)
P.S. AWESOME! name.
Thank you for always being so wonderfully honest, Michele. I have cried with you, in a way, in joy, in sorrow, and I am so happy for you.
I remember being pregnant with my second child and thinking the same thing… “how could I possibly share my love? How could I love another person as much as I love my son?” I was excited but couldn’t wrap my emotions around the whole thing. And as soon as my second was born… I immediately knew where all the extra love was. It was just there. It was right, it was good. She immediately fit right in with our family and my (older) son was such a big part of every step of her life. He helped pick out her clothes, helped change diapers, he was just as much a part of our lives as he had always been. Everything changed the moment my second was born . . . and then again, nothing changed, cause it was just right. It felt natural..like she had always been there.
(not sure how much sense that makes right now, but as soon as Cujo Boudreaux is here, you’ll understand)
I had a miscarriage in my 20th week of pregnancy. Once my cycle started again 3 months after the m/c it took a short 3 months for me to get pregnant again (at 35 I didn’t want to waste any time). When she first emerged at only 4lbs 15oz, and I was certain that something was wrong. It wasn’t until started feeding her that it sunk in that I could finally let my self become attached to this little life.
I don’t think there is anything unusual in what you are feeling. Certainly nothing to feel shame or embarrassment over.
Oh my , I have so much to say about this. You probably won’t remember me, but shortly after your post announcing your pregnancy I left a comment telling you that I had tried for years to be a mom and was in the process of adoption and blah, blah, blah. Three months ago, this beautiful newborn baby boy literally arrived in our lives with a day’s notice. I am a mom. I have a son. For thirty days (the birth mother’s revocation period in NY state) I loved him cautiously . As cautiously as you can love someone who is so instantly in your face and wonderful and needy and soft and warm. Which is to say I loved him whole-heartedly and feared every day that my phone would ring and my life would change and someone would decide they had made a mistake and that no, he wasn’t mine after all. This is what years of loss (infertilty) teach you to do. To build a wall around your heart. Just in case. This is what your miscarriage and subsequent infertilty taught you to do.
I remember when my brother was expecting his second child, 14 years ago. He confided in me that he didn’t think he would ever love him or her (her, she was in the end) as much as he loved his son. Once she was born I don’t think he ever had that thought again. Not for a fleeting moment.
I guess my point is that I think Toby is right. A defense mechanism. Your boy will be born and you will know in an instant that there is so much love in you that your love for him AND E will SPILL OVER. For me, day by day, as I realized my son – MY SON(!!!) – wasn’t going ANYWHERE, the self-defending wall around my heart completley crumbled. He’s mine.
And this little guy is yours. And he is SO WORTH THE WAIT.
Enjoy every precious moment as a mom of one. Soon you will be “mother of two” and Emory will be BIG BROTHER! I hope he gets an awesome t-shirt of his own!
I felt the VERY same way about my second son. I KNEW I wanted him, but I simply couldn’t imagine loving another creature as much as I love my first child. He was born and my husband snapped pictures of him immediately and showed to me (it was a c-section) and I made the usual comments of how beautiful he was, but he didn’t feel like he was mine yet. Then a few minutes later, after all the bits were sewn up, they handed him to me and it was instant. It was like, “hello you little stinker. I owe you for the merciless rib-kicking but holy crap I love you.” Been lost ever since.
It’s a horrible thing to anticipate and the wondering and anxiety won’t go away until that baby is looking into your face through little Mr. Magoo eyes. Then you’ll KNOW for sure. You’ll love him and be as great to him as you are with Em.
Man, I’m glad it didn’t say “I Was Worth The Weight” like I wanted it to. That wouldn’t have been nearly as touching. Funnier, but not as touching.
And of course it was Melissa who picked it out.
I’ve been thinking similar thoughts since I found out I’m having another girl. I’ve been half-thinking “but I already HAVE a girl! How can I love another one as passionately?”
Another thought; I don’t think it’s weird/bad/unhealthy for you to be a bit removed from your new baby at all. I’m Jewish and Jews don’t count babies as people until they are born. We don’t have baby showers, decorate the room or name the baby until after birth (traditionally we’re not supposed to, at least). My daughter came home from the hospital to an empty room. I thought of her often during the pregnancy, but I was also trying to keep the process low-key, if that makes sense. Anyway, she was born and we loved her passionately immediately, and I’m glad I felt a bit removed from her during the pregnancy because it helped me just get through it.
How incredibly beautiful.
Lil’ Cujo was definitely worth the wait.
Beautiful writing. He will be so lucky to have you as his mama.
As a mother to three tiny little male creatures, I assure you – you somehow just magically find yourself loving him. And then you love him a little bit more when you see how much your husband loves him. And how much his brother loves him. And before you know it, you’re loving hard, and it’s just simply the best kind of love. And I’m partial, of course, but my heart breaks into a thousand pieces when I see the tenderness between my three boys. Sweet brothers. A five year old, a three year old, and an eight month old. And you’ll see it too, and that moment will be worth it all.
Your feelings are so normal!! I felt the same way with my second. He is 19 mos. old now and I can’t remember a time when he wasn’t here. I don’t want to remember a time.
It will be perfect.
Your beautiful post made me cry. Man, do I ever know how you’re feeling. I too had a shitty year of loss last year. I know what that defense mechanism is like as I have it as well. Our second peanut is coming at the end of April and there will be an acceptance.
What an amazing post – I’m crying away over here. I can’t wait for you to meet the new addition to your family.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading about how you are feeling, as i am six months pregnant with my first and sometimes just need someone to relate to. Thank you for sharing this with us.
I enjoy reading you so much. Thank you for sharing your frank and personal thoughts.
I felt the exact same way before the birth of my second son. What I found was — my second son is completely different in every way from my first son. Which actually makes it very easy to love both of them with all my heart and soul.
Thank you for writing this.
I, too, felt similar when I was pregnant with my second son. I didn’t talk about it. I hadn’t experienced loss but I was so caught up in blogs and other things and it seemed like 2009 was a terrible year for loss. I stayed guarded my entire pregnancy because I was anticipating something bad happening and I couldn’t get too attached. Defense mechanism, indeed.
As soon as he was born, it all changed of course. The interactions between my oldest and the baby are so amazing. It’s been 14 months and I honestly don’t know what we did with out Joe in our lives!
Can’t wait to “meet” Li’l Cujo Boudreaux!
I felt similarly during my second pregnancy. I also felt like (and this sounds horrible too) it took me longer to ‘fall in love with’ my second child. It wasn’t instant like it was with my son. I didn’t have this overwhelming all consuming maternal drive with my second child. I cared for her and I wanted her and I was happy, but I felt like I fell in love with her gradually. My first child took up so much of my time and was so vivacious. She just slept and ate. Some people were horrified when I told them this!
Autumn: when it comes to pregnancy, parenthood and feelings, nothing sounds horrible. No feeling is off limits. Nothing should make a person feel ashamed or alone. So, thanks for sharing.
Everyone: thanks for sharing. :)
I can’t believe we are about to have a baby. I think I’m finally realizing this. Holy shit.
Hi, Michelle. I rarely post a comment. But you got me today. I felt the same way when I was pregnant with Owen. Despite the taboo, I said it out loud. Even after he was born, I was still in shock (and denial) that he was finally here. My husband Matthew expressed buyer’s remorse on more than one occasion. Owen just turned 1. Matthew and I both feel much more for Owen now. We might even venture so far as to call it love. Some photos here: http://www.mattandmunawar.com/
Hello. I had similar feelings with number two. You are not alone, and it will work out. You’ll see.
I have actually conveyed this “interesting” feeling a number of times over the past 40 some odd years.
In “those days” we didn’t know what the child would be, so all during my second pregnancy I would think “It MUST be a boy because I already HAVE “the” girl….my first born was a girl so how could I have HER again?? It was way too impossible to imagine.
I thought it curious but had no trouble conveying it to anyone who would listen, because there was no quilt involved….simply because no one told me my second born WAS also going to be a girl.
Funny, but now that I think of it, had I been told, maybe I would have had a harder time accepting those odd thoughts but for me, back then it was made easier.
Of course, as soon as she was born none of that meant a thing anyway!
So it seems the feeling itself is perfectly normal, just more complicated when you know for certain what you are having.
I can’t wait to meet the new little guy too! I am wondering if he will have dark brown hair or maybe red??
I know people will probably poopoo my comment because I don’t have children, I have dogs. I get why people get all up in arms when we compare having dogs to having children, but dogs are probably all I’ll ever have….I had a little sheltie mix for 15 years, we traveled all over together living in 8 different places in four states. When I lost him I knew I wanted another dog but I didn’t ever think I’d be as attached. I wondered how I’d ever love my new dog as much; but I realized this weekend that I love him just as fiercely. I had no idea there was room to love something this much, but I’d do anything for him. (Except dress him up or cart him around in a carriage.)
I also lost a baby (at around 11 weeks) back in 2009… We have gone through fertility treatments, a surgery and now are trying actively again for a baby… and I can totally relate to distancing yourself. I will want to jump for joy when I get pregnant, but I don’t want to get too attached too early like I did the last time. Honestly, I won’t feel 100 percent okay until I take that baby home from the hospital.
I can relate to the distancing – I honestly was convinced that the fertility clinic and the ultrasound docs were all in on one huge consiracy theory to make me think I was pregnant, just to get rid of me. We had tried so long with nothing, weren’t given that good of odds, and I didn’t feel him move until towards the end. It actually took me a couple of days to believe he was mine, and that they were actually letting me take him home eventually.
Oh gosh, this almost made me cry, here I’m sitting with a little baby boy sleeping on my chest. He was worth the wait too.
I couldn’t even read everyone else’s posts…I just had to write mine.
I have been following you (flickr, twitter, blog) since I became pregnant with my daughter in 2006. I have to tell you…this was like reading from my notes in 2008…we tried for a second and got pregnant July or very beginning of Aug of 08 (I think that’s right) and in October (at 11 weeks) I also had a miscarriage. I was so discouraged. I was 3 days shy of 12 weeks.
With the baby I miscarried AND with my son (who was born December of 2009), I was thinking that I was ruining my daughter’s life, I couldn’t be a Mom of two, this baby won’t live just like my other one, all those thoughts. It was a very unattached pregnancy. He kicked a lot and I loved knowing he was ok and everything was fine.
I feel ya, no judgement here. I have enjoyed following you and your family. I can’t help but think if we were living in the same city, we’d have play dates. I’m so excited for you, I want another one, but 3 is a circus.
I’ve been where you are. I had 3 miscarriages prior to have our son. And my son? He was/is perfect. Sweet, snuggly, adorable- everything I always, always wanted.
When he was 18 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. It took us 3 years of fertility treatments to have my son, so I never thought a surprise was in the cards for us. I *freaked out* and basically didn’t think about the pregnancy much. Sure I loved the baby I was carrying, but I really didn’t daydream about him/her much. My attention was on my son. I mean- we were already so blessed- what right did I have to expect a normal, healthy pregnancy after all this?
Add in the typical worries about having a 2nd child (all the ones you listed above) and I kinda just refused to think about what life with two kids would be like.
Then my daughter was born. She’s nothing like my son- she’s loud and bossy and demanding and into everything. In other words, she’s *perfect* and I couldn’t love her more if I tried. I have no doubt- not one drop of it- that you’ll feel exactly the same when your new son arrives!