Only Us No More

As I’ve journeyed through my second pregnancy, I’ve tried to consciously savor my time with my little girl while it’s still “only us.” Drink up every moment I can of her at this age — her wonder of the world, her precious laugh, her fiercely independent spirit — and at this moment in time where she is my only child, my baby. But changes are coming – wonderful, exciting changes – but changes just the same.

The idea of “only us” meaning my daughter and me may seem a little strange since I am married to a wonderful man. But, as so often it goes, things happen in life that you never imagine or expect. My dear husband was diagnosed with a chronic, debilitating condition just a month after I found out I was pregnant with our first in 2012. I’ll save the details of that story for another day. But in short, his illness consumed our lives for a long time. His initial diagnosis was over 3 years ago, and although he has found a way to manage his condition, it is still a daily struggle. So between being sick the entirety of our daughter’s life, graduate school, and working full-time to support his family (he is our Superman!), quite understandably it has often been “only us” in our day to day – my daughter and me.

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And amongst our day to day as “only us” are precious moments and memories over the past two and a half years. I know she won’t remember the details of life at this very young age, but I hope she’ll remember the love that has always surrounded her. And maybe it’s the mom guilt or the hormones or both, but since I’ve been pregnant I’ve made an effort even more so to do special things with her while it’s still “easy” (even though I am SO tired). After all I know how long it takes us to get out the door now; I have no idea how we will ever go anywhere again once there are two!!

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And bless her heart she has already made some sacrifices as we make way for our new little one, which is a life lesson (and I say this with love baby girl, but I have a feeling this is just the beginning of your lessons regarding life…just wait). For example one of her favorite things to do is jump on a trampoline. Early on, I learned it was not recommended for pregnant women to jump on trampolines (I guess I didn’t have a huge need for inquiry for the first pregnancy). This is just one example of the little sacrifices she’s had to make – Mommy can’t jump with her right now – a small thing, yes, but something very significant in her tiny existence. As my pregnancy has progressed, so too have my physical limitations. I can’t roll around on the floor with her, she can’t ride on my back like a horse, I can’t pick her up as much as I used to…currently at 38 weeks I certainly don’t have the energy I had in my pre-pregnant state. All of these things are temporary of course, and she has adjusted beautifully. I wish I could say to her, “As soon as I have the baby, things will go back to normal,” but you and I know that much further adjustment will be needed on her part, and mine. The unknown can be so daunting. What will it look like to have another person in our family? Am I a good enough mother to be able to handle the needs of two young children? How are we going to do this?! Here is where I start to panic a little.

But then I think of my own sibling, and how I can’t imagine my life without her. I wouldn’t be who I am without my sister – the fibers of our DNA are literally intertwined, and there is a place in my heart that can only be filled by that special kind of sibling love. She is the only person I will know for practically her entire life. She is a gift. My sister reminds me what I am giving to my own children as we grow our family. Although there are sacrifices, adjustments, growing pains along the way, it is so worth it.

As my pregnancy reaches term I am acutely aware that the days of “only us” will soon be no more, but I rest in knowing I am giving my daughter something better – the gift of a lifelong friend (and no doubt a more fun trampoline partner).

I love you, sweet girl. What a gift you are to your Mama. I’m so proud of the person you are becoming, and I know you will be an incredible sister. “Your baby” is so lucky to have you. I cannot wait to witness the love that will grow between the two of you. Changes are headed our way soon, and although I can’t promise you it will be easy, I can promise it will be good. And nothing, nothing can ever separate my love from you. God bless you and keep you always. 

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