When I was pregnant with my second son, Declan, I ran through all the typical questions that comes with having multiple children. How will I manage two? How will Aedan feel? Is it really possible to love more than one child?
When Declan arrived, my love for him was instantaneous. I fell in love all over again with a tiny human. Then my boys met, and watching Aedan with Declan made my love for Aedan even stronger.
I couldn’t believe just how much room there was in my heart for more love.
In the following weeks, I started to wonder if it was possible to equally show them just how much I loved them.
Those first days were filled with strong feelings of missing Aedan and shifting attention away from him. Aedan had to change his expectations of my attention. He had to learn to wait more often. He heard the word “no” more often. And he lost a little of me to someone else.
Declan also had to learn these things. When Aedan was a baby, the first peep from him resulted in an instant response. When Declan makes a peep, I do a quick assessment of who needs my attention more at the moment. If he is dry, recently fed, and does not appear to be in danger, he waits. I’m not sure Aedan ever really waited. The same goes for other things too. Declan gets less one-on-one time than Aedan at his age, for example.
But then I came to a really important conclusion about 5 months in. I was sitting on the floor watching the boys interact, observing the way my youngest smiled and laughed at his brother while my oldest engaged in making him laugh, and I realized there is actually much more love and attention for each child than before.
While it is true that having more than one child does divide your time in a way that sometimes feels unfair, they now have this incredibly unique love that fills those gaps: sibling love. Every day I see the way Declan’s face lights up when he first sees Aedan in the morning. I hear the excitement in Aedan’s voice when he wakes up after his brother and says, “Declan’s awake!” Neither of them knows life without each other and they are better for it. I am better for it. They have a type of love that my husband and I cannot give them ourselves. I’m sure as they age they will fight and ignore each other and all of that stuff, but they will always be brothers.
So for those of you considering whether or not you can possibly love more than one child or are nervous about what the arrival of a new child will do to your first child, I hope you find some comfort in knowing that while those first months are so hard and make you wonder if you made the right choice, the answer is: yes.
Yes you can love many children and yes both children can experience the same amount, or more, love than before.