The End of an Era

** This one is about both my girls, the 2-year-old and the one on the way. **

I am almost 39 weeks (tomorrow!) into this pregnancy. I am so happy/grateful/relieved/amazed to be here. I am 1000% ready to hold our Skittle in my arms.

And  yet.

Yet there is a little melancholy to go along with all that happiness, gratitude, relief, and amazement. Right now, as I type this, I am enjoying my final days of being alone with Cupcake. My final days of giving her, and only her, all my attention and tickles and kisses.

That’s bittersweet.

I love Cupcake. Obviously. But I mean I love her. Like, love her so much it sometimes brings me to my knees. I love her so much I am often overwhelmed by it, baffled by it, unable to fathom loving any other human being as much as I love her. I know I will, I know I can, but my point is that I love Cupcake beyond all reason and I am sad that our mommy-daughter time will be changing. I am a stay-at-home mom. She is used to having me, and only me, all day long. But when Skittle arrives, things will be different. It won’t always be about her anymore.

And I worry about that. About how Cupcake will adjust to having a baby in our home, to being a big sister and a family of four. Throughout this pregnancy, I have wept countless times at the image I have in my head of a crestfallen Cupcake when I am unable to read to her or snuggle her or play dress up with her right in that moment because I am feeding or comforting someone else. To think that I may — and probably will — inflict pain upon my precious first child, however unintentional it is, breaks my heart in two. I want to protect her from feeling left out, replaced, unloved and I will do everything in my power to do that, but I know some jealousy and hurt feelings are inevitable. I cannot protect her from everything and I cannot protect her from that.

As a reasonable adult, I know that bringing another baby into this family will certainly cause some growing pains, but all’s well that ends well and I believe I am giving Cupcake the best gift possible: a sister, a lifelong companion, a friend for after her father and I are gone. I am giving her the gift I never got to have, the childhood I never experienced. But she’s two. She won’t understand or appreciate that for years.

So instead, I will prepare her the best I can right now and shower her with affection and attention in whatever way I can after Skittle arrives. Cupcake and I have read books and talked ad nauseum about what it means to be a big sister and have a baby come to live with us. She seems enthusiastic and happy with the idea. She is most excited to play in the nursery with all the baby toys. But I don’t know if, at this age, she can really understand what a new baby means. That this baby will be living with us forever. And so we have bought her a baby doll with its own stroller and crib for her to “play mommy” while I do my real mommy duties in the weeks ahead. And we have a huge box of wrapped, cheap toys that she will get, one by one, on days that are hard for her or require a distraction. And we will schedule special “Cupcake Time” with her dad or myself often. I feel prepared. I feel like, if anyone can get through the upheaval that she is about to endure, it is Cupcake. It is us.

But really? We’re just flying by the seat of our pants. Hoping for the best. Praying for an easy transition. Celebrating what is to come while mourning what is about to be lost. This is what we wanted, and we could not possibly be any happier, but it’s still hard to let go of the good days that we have enjoyed and will soon be gone.

It’s hard to embrace change, even if it’s the most beautiful change in the world.

8 thoughts on “The End of an Era

  1. The only way I can relate to this situation is having once been in Cupcake’s position, but I don’t think what was recounted to me about my actions – biting, hitting, jumping on the home health visitor’s back as she leaned over my little sister, etc. – would be reassuring to you! But you’re so right about what a gift it is (or eventually becomes!) to have a sibling. Wishing you an easy transition! Can’t wait to hear your big news soooooooon.

  2. This may not bring you any comfort or even be slightly close to the same situation, but it might help to know that when my brother was born, I was 4, and I have zero memories of this time. None, not a one. I don’t even remember my mom being pregnant. Oh sure, there are plenty of pictures of the moment I realized I was no longer the only child that are memorialized for time, but I couldn’t recall a single thing about my brother’s homecoming or even the first few years of his life if you asked me to. So I guess my point is that maybe in the long run Cupcake won’t recall enough of this time in her life to feel like she lost out on time with you or feel resentment or any of those things. I think this will be a transition for her, without question, but I wouldn’t fear any long-term issues. It might seem hard in the moment (for you and for her) but I doubt in the end it will be plastered to memory, at least for her.

  3. I think about this sometimes, even though we aren’t close to deciding whether or not to try for another. I am 2 years older than my sister and though we fought like crazy when we were younger, now I can’t imagine not having her in my life, especially as J’s aunt. Looking forward to your take on raising two!

  4. I love my little sister and can’t imagine how my life would have turned out without her. We’ve had more ups than downs, and she truly is my best friend for life. Whatever adjustments you have to make now will be totally worth it in the long run. And it sounds like you’ve already thought of ways to make sure Cupcake still feels special and just as loved as she is now.

  5. I could have written this post myself (though not as eloquently). I am 31 weeks pregnant and have a just-turned-three daughter. I am also a stay at home mom. I worry so much about the change to come. I have no words of wisdom for you, just wanted you to know you are not alone.

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