Monday, August 5, 2013

Reader question: How can I love another baby when I love my only child so much?

There's always room for more!

You know, I keep getting this question! Funny thing is I also had this question when I was pregnant with my second boy, Iñigo. Since my heart was just so full of love for Vito, I also wondered if there would be enough left over for Iñigo. I was plagued with guilt so much and I haven't even met Iñigo yet! That was definitely a cloud over my pregnancy.

Well, the good news is, yes, you can love another baby! And you can love and love and love again! I won't lie, though. The love you feel for each child will be different but you will love them anyway. The reason I'm blogging about this is because a reader, Nerisa of Baby Neo's Mama, sent me that question and I could feel her heartache even though she doesn't even have another child yet. So I remembered my guilt at having Iñigo and I thought, "Many moms feel this! There is no need to suffer!"

Here's our emails:


Nerisa said yes to my P.S. and that's why I copy-pasted our correspondence. But I want to add more.

In a survey reported by the Daily Mail in the UK, it was found that 1 in 12 parents have a favorite child. As the article's first line said, this survey proved what we kids who have siblings knew all along! There really is a favorite child! As I said in my email to Nerisa, in my case, Mama favored my brother Theodore. That's because he really was the perfect child. Handsome, sweet, kind, talented, obedient, grateful, loving, compassionate. I pray all the time that my Vito and Iñigo be like their Tito Ted!

I like them both! Sometimes, I like one less (tantrum!) or the other one less (tantrum again!)
but I love them both to bits, even when I'm annoyed with one or both!
I think you can't blame parents for liking a child over the rest. It's unfair but it's not shocking. I think this way because growing up with Theodore being the favorite didn't make me envious or resentful. I get it. He's my favorite sibling, too!

I will confess that there were times I wished my parents liked me more but I really was just too different. They wanted a pliable, sweet, obedient daughter and they just weren't going to get that. I could've chosen to be what they wanted me to be and be adored for that, or I could be who I am and then they'll just have to grudgingly respect that. Very early on, I decided that my parents didn't have to like me because they were very good at showing me that they loved me—no matter what! And I am grateful to them for loving me so much that even when I felt their dislike and I disliked them, too, we knew we loved each other anyway. This love allowed me to grow and be who I am without fear, and it allowed them to shower their favor on one child, which I'm sure was a relief!

They have each other. My heart is at peace.
Like and love. They're different things. I tell my boys, though they are still very young, that they don't have to be friends, they don't have to like the same things, they don't have to even like each other, but that they have to be there for each other, that they'll have each other's back, that they will watch out for each other. No matter what! And that's what having more than one child has done for me, too. I know my kids have each other. Vince and I will die one day. Our children won't be alone. It's a comfort to a parent's heart.

27 comments:

  1. This post made me teary eyed,, I don't know why.. well i am planning to have a 2nd child,but yes i am also guilty about weighing all things out between the two if ever.Something like, pano kung magkulang ako sa isa.. theres a lot of pano questions..great post mommy Frances..this one's really can enlighten to other mommies, ^_^ thumbs up

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    1. Hirap maging parent—we always think we're never doing enough! =) Don't let guilt or worry over something that you haven't even done yet mar your happiness!

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  2. Hi. I just want to share. I was 21 when I had my first child and he was my entire world for three years. When I was pregnant with my second, I talked to my mom with my greatest fear- how to balance my time with my kids. I was so afraid that I wont treat them fairly or that I won't be a good mom. I felt that I can't divide my love for them equally. My mom told me that once you become a mom, your heart multiplies the love, not divides it. She also told me that I would learn how to divide my time and attention to them depending on their need.

    Now that I have three children under age 10, it seems to all need me at the same time! What I do is to prioritize. I also make sure that if I attended to my eldest child first, I would have special "me-time" with my two girls. I also go on special one on one dates with them as need be.

    Looking back, this what what my mom and dad did to us growing up. I never felt that there was a favorite (although all along I pretended that I was the favorite of my dad, only for my illusion to be shattered when I got to be 18!)

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    1. Bakit na-shatter ang illusion mo? =D

      Thanks for your tips. I try to do that, too, although since Iñigo is still a baby, I really do spend more time with him. Buti na lang we have Vince. Vito and his Papa are now super duper close!

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    2. Nashatter sya kasi narealize nya na di pala nya ako talaga favorite. Hahaha. Growing up kasi I was the daughter who had the same hobbies as him. He likes photography and I would be his favorite subject kasi di ako nagiinarte and we used to do gardening together too. My other sisters are maarte and dont want to get dirty, I was the only one who wanted to assist him. When I got to be 18 and became maarte, illusion shattered! Haha. Funny lang coz when I visit my parents' place with my kids, di na ako pinapansin ng parents ko. Haha.

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  3. Thanks for blogging about this Frances! It's my worry too if I'll have enough love for another child (I only have one child now) because it seems that my love is overflowing for my daughter now. I love what you said "But your love will expand to love them both." Now, I can't wait for my heart to expand for my future kids :D

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    1. You know what? You'll have one worry when you have more than one kid: You'll worry your heart will explode sa sobrang happiness when you see them playing, laughing together, taking care of each other. There will be envy, too. The type that, "They're happy with each other. I don't belong there. They have their little secret world that only kids can see and experience. I wish I were part of it!" But it's a good kind of envy, the kind that also makes your heart feel joy =)

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  4. Thanks, Frances :) wonderful thoughts and insights!

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  5. i am a follower for quite sometime. and can i just say this, that this is ONE of the best you wrote and shared. :) got me teary eyed, and felt i-am-still-normal. hehe.

    can i just share (too), I was 21 when i had my first child and my whole world just revolved around him. i think it is instinct that you can love that much, or just plain mother's love? i dont know. but only mothers can understand. after 3 years, a baby girl came and the whole family (both sides) were so excited welcoming her and my heart just wanted to burst when my son visited us in the hospital. i was happy with kid2, yes, dont get me wrong, but... but painful to see my kid1 trying to figure out what was happening. :(

    like you, in our family too, my mom played favorites. my brother also (only brother with 3 girls). that is why i am very careful with this in my own family. i bring them out to "dates", only mom and child. i have three, ages 10, 7 and 5. all demanding of the attention that sometimes the 24 hours is just not enough to bond and spend time with them.

    time flies so fast. that sometimes i wish, they'd stay under three and just play with them all day. before i know it,our lives will get so busy and complicated. :P

    more power to you, frances. i am a fan. :)




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    1. I know exactly what you mean about your heart breaking for your first child when the second one arrived. It's so sad! =(

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  6. Hi Frances,

    I'm pregnant now with my 2nd and I have the same fear. I already have a 4-year old daughter and she's really adorable. She's the first apo on my side pa so she's super duper spoiled.

    I wonder what will happen when the 2nd comes along early next year...haay.

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    1. Don't worry! Just make your daughter feel like she's part of the pregnancy, make her understand that you'll be unavailable many times because the baby is so needy, that you need her help and her love =) It will make her feel important! That's what we did to Vito and he takes his role as kuya very very very seriously! Like he tells me how to take care of Iñigo! It's crazy! =)

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  7. Totally agree that love expands (and doesn't diminish). :-) My second baby is a girl. I'm very close to my eldest son, though, and sometimes I'm guilty that I don't love my daughter as much as my son. I do admire her, though, because she has so much spunk! After reading your blog post I realize that "like and love are very different." One you can't help. The other is a choice. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I do wish my kids will grow up to be people I'll like! I was telling Vince the other day, "What if our sons turn out to be one of those annoying, shallow, stupid teenagers?!?" LOL God help us should that happen! I'm sure I'll still love them but I think I'll kick them out of the house hahaha

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  8. Hi Frances! I've got 2 daughters that's why I can super relate to your post. I'm just super happy that our little ate is just like your little Vito. I'm thankful that she learned how to be selfless when it comes to her baby sister. And you're really right. Like and love are very different. I may like one of my girls for a moment, but I still love them both just the same. :)

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    1. Aren't we so lucky??? I'm serious. Most firstborns adjust to their position quite well, but in my family, the firstborns are notoriously jealous of the second child. I'm so glad my Vito is so good!

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  9. Hi Frances! I can relate to the feeling when you were about to give birth to Inigo, I felt the same way. Our eldest had a school activity and I wasn't able to go because I just gave birth. Thankfully, my husband was there.

    I have three daughters now and yes, your heart does expand. I love them all but in totally different ways. I love my eldest because of her being responsible, my second for being so malambing and my third for her being adorable. Growing up, our brother (youngest after two girls) was the favorite and we never resented him for that because we were assured that we were ALL loved also but in different ways. What my mom did was that if she bought one of us something, the other two had to have them also. You get to be special when it's your birthday and I try to do the same for my girls. This is very insightful and thank you for sharing it.

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    1. Reading your comment makes me want more kids!!! I really think my heart can grow bigger and bigger and bigger!!! =) Thanks for the tips. I'll definitely keep those in mind as I raise my boys.

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  10. Hi Frances,

    I'm 29, single and without a kid yet but i always read your mommy blog because it gives me insights of what motherhood is - something i want to experience someday.

    Thank you for writing on this topic. It helped me understand on what my mom went through when she had me. (I too lost my mom more than 2 years ago. Heartbreaking.) I was the 2nd child and born only 17 months after my Kuya. I also thought that I was loved less and born unexpected. I have two younger siblings too. Growing up I never experienced resentment or jealousy over my Kuya or other siblings. In fact, they tagged me as my parent's favorite but I never felt I was their favorite. My parents loved us equally.

    However, when we were teens and in early twenties, that's when I experienced how my mama really loved my Kuya inspite of all the kagaguhan he made in his life. I am the one who belongs to the league of good, obedient daughters. I was thinking that Kuya (despite how prodigal he had been in the past) is someone my mom loved more dearly and I was the one whom she liked more (might be because i gifted them with good grades, less headaches, vacations, some shopping, etc) and possible she was more proud of having me.

    "That's the blessing another child brings - the realization that your heart can be so BIG!" That sentence gives so much comfort for a daughter, a second child like me. Thank you for this post that it made me celebrate how happy, blessed and lucky I am for having a mom who gave me with so much love (even if she had 4 kids!)

    - K


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    1. Oh wow. I know exactly what you mean. My mother was the same. Although her favorite was my younger brother, she had to spend all her energy on our older brother because of his many mistakes. I feel so bad for my Mama actually =(

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  11. Hi Mommy Frances!

    I'm inspired by this blog post. I made a short post inspired by you and quoted from your parting words. Thanks for always sharing mommy matters.. It is LOVE!!!

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  12. Hi Frances!

    Thanks for sharing this, and to the mommy who asked the question, thank you for allowing the correspondence to be shared to the public. I think its a pretty common fear amongst all first time moms, how to divide the time and attention between 2 babies/kids. I should know because I feel the exact same way. Sometimes my husband & I would be talking on the way home from work very very guilty because we're coming home late and I'd say to him that if we can't even give our firstborn our full time/attention then it would be doubly unfair to him and a sibling to share that little time that we can give. Then I think of being a SAHM and then another concern crops up which would be the finances.
    I'd really like to have another child, but all these thoughts make me want to just focus on my son... Weird ba? Anyway, thanks again Frances for sharing.

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    1. Candz, don't feel guilty. It's not the quantity of time but the quality! I know that's a cliche, but it's true!

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  13. This post hits home. Actually, I am pregnant with my first child now. But I have a baby brother (with cerebral palsy) and I love him like my own kid. He was born when I was 20 so he basically grew up under my care and my love. And since he's a special child, I love him even more than my other siblings. Really like my very own na talaga. Before, I was thinking nga that I'm fine na just with him. I'll grow old taking care of him. Been working hard all this years for him. Special din kasi yung needs nya. But now that I am pregnant, I am so afraid that I'll either love him less. Or maybe I'll love my baby less because my brother needs more love for sure. I am so excited for this little one but at the same time I'm wishing that my heart could truly love both. Mas mahirap pa on my part coz one is my very own child while the other is my brother. Magkaiba. Baka magkaiba din love. But thanks to this post, I now feel alot better. Tama ka! Maybe I'd love them differently but I'll sure love them both soooo much. I am a new reader Frances and I am loving your blog!

    http://celerhinaaubrey.com

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  14. Hi Frances, this really got me teary-eyed! I haven't really thought about it before (or refused to think about it, thinking it's bad) but the feelings I had was what you just wrote about. I felt guilty even when i was still pregnant with my second child thinking that my first born, Alon, would always be our favorite, we have gone through soo many firsts together, all before we had his baby sister, Isla. It just seemed natural, albeit guilt free. Now i know you can love both especially as you build more memories with your new baby, there would just be something a lil more special with the memories with the firstborn. But hey, there can be a lot of memories with your second child that's a lil bit more special too. Just goes to show, you're right, we'll love them all dearly, and they'll be special to our hearts in different ways as they come to our lives in different stages in our mommy lives. I loved how you said, they'll always have each other. That really is comforting to parents.

    You always make moms feel that emotions like these are only normal. I've been a reader of your blog when I was pregnant with my first child, now I have two babies, a son, and a daughter. I'm a pretty young mom and I really admire how you can reach out to moms (to new moms especially), not just with practical tips and product suggestions, but really right on the heartstrings. You tell it as it is, with compassion. The mom feelings that can sometimes be a taboo topic, you take on it brutally honest, emotional and compassionate at that. You show that we can't always be supermoms all the time, we have flaws, but we always try to be the best we can be for our children. (I love your sentiments on breastfeeding! I felt guilty before not having breastfed my firstborn much, so with my second child I've breastfed for months, though I still feel guilty sometimes that I could've pushed to breastfeed a lot further, I am happy because it's such an accomplishment, breastfeeding isn't always easy! The first weeks of breastfeeding are extremely hard.) I love your blog because it's fearless, with a bit of drama on the side. I like to think I'm like that, ALMOST fearless. We are all learning, it's fine to be anxious sometimes.You inspire me to write a mommy blog especially when I was going through difficult emotional things while pregnant, being a mom, wife and all. I just haven't gotten into blogging yet. Soon. :) You are an inspiration to us moms! I just want to say: Thank you! :)

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    1. Wow! Thank you for telling me this. I'm blown away! It made my day =)

      P.S. Your kids' names are beautiful!

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This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!