As I’m writing this, the new year is fast approaching. For New Year’s Eve, my husband, daughter, and I are lying low and spending the night at home. We will be testing our new outdoor firepit and waving sparklers at what is to come.
The new year brings an eventful season for us. I have some exciting news to share. For those who don’t know, my family and I are expecting a little boy in March. We are joyful to add another to our household and can’t wait to meet him and see what he looks like.
I would have shaken my head “no” if you’d told me this time last year that I’d be expecting. After my daughter, I thought I was done. Having a child was more difficult than I expected. I guess nothing can prepare you for the mental, physical, and spiritual exercise of doing so. My husband and I agreed our stress levels were to the max. We were satisfied with our three-person family.
But something in me, and eventually my husband started to change. Call it biological or spiritual, but a longing centered in my heart, pulling when I would notice other women who were pregnant. I longed for the bond of carrying a baby. After a period of reflection and discussion, we both agreed we were ready for another. We wanted our daughter to have a sibling.
Preparing for a second child has been different. Worries I had during my pregnancy with my daughter are gone, but new ones sneak in now and again. I’m grateful I’ve had no complications but pray for those who do. Growing a child isn’t easy. Scientifically, it’s been compared to preparing for and running a marathon. And while my pregnancy has been somewhat smooth, it’s becoming uncomfortable.
As with most mothers and fathers, the fear of “how will I love this child as much as my first” has set in. And I know everyone figures it out, that love only grows and there’s always enough, but that thought, like others, weaves itself in and out of my brain because it’s hard to prepare for what love can do. Impossible, even.
I searched for books to help ease my nerves and was surprised at the lack of options. I settled on “Twice Blessed” by Joan Leonard. The title makes it sound as if the advice is only about how wonderful having a second child is, but I was grateful for its realistic approach. There is plenty of information and real-life advice regarding the realities, both joyful and stressful, of having a second child. While some of the information is a bit dated, I find it’s still a valuable resource and recommend it to anyone expecting number two.
After the baby is born, I will be taking a temporary sabbatical to care for my child, a luxury I’m grateful for because here in the US, we need to and must do better toward our mothers and infants. But I’ll be back and look forward to sharing the rest of my pregnancy journey with you.
Happy New Year!
Justa Lanie Garrett is a lifelong resident of Baytown.