Letting go to let in

In just over two months, my husband, Ryan, and I will welcome our second child together into this world. Baby A’s life is about to change in a way he can’t even anticipate. As the youngest in a house of six—I have three teenage stepchildren—he is used to being the center of attention and doted on. More than that, he is accustomed to having mama’s undivided attention.

Admittedly, much of this is due to my inability to relinquish control to just about anyone when it comes to him. Since the day he was born, I’ve spent nearly every minute with him. Part of this was due to elevated levels of postpartum anxiety for the first several months, and the other part of it is simply that I want to soak up every last drop of him. I know this time will go by quickly, and soon, he’ll be too big for me to rock to sleep and too big to fit into my arms. The days are long, but the years are short—isn’t that how the saying goes?

At the encouragement of my husband, I have gotten away for many evenings out with girlfriends and even two overnights at a nearby hotel. My first night away, I slept for 12 uninterrupted hours, unless you count waking up to pump, and it was heavenly. The second time, A was older, and I was less sleep deprived so I made time for shopping, a movie, and a massage in addition to a good night’s sleep. Apart from those two overnights and evenings out, A has been the center of my world.

As we prepare for Baby G to arrive, I find myself regularly worrying about how I’ll hold both of them at the same time. How will I do A’s bedtime routine and rock him if I need to nurse Baby G? What if A needs me, but I can’t put down the baby because she needs me too?

I’m realizing that I need to let go a bit so that I have room for her, both emotionally and physically. They say that when your second child comes, your heart grows and makes room. But I feel like I need to prepare. I feel like I need to make room.

So what does this look like? I’ve been slowly letting Ryan do more. For the first time just a few weeks ago, I let him take A with him for his older brother’s basketball game so that I could get some writing done. It wasn’t the first time Ryan had asked to take A somewhere without me, but it was the first time I agreed.

It’s been hard to let go and let Daddy do more, but I’m also realizing that life has a way of working these things out. This change coincides with A actually being excited to spend more time with Daddy, and sometimes he even prefers Daddy. My heart hurts a little to see him reaching for people other than me, but I know this is a natural part of growing up and a necessary development ahead of the birth of our next child.

Until then, I plan to soak in these bedtimes when I’m easily rocking both of my babies, one a toddler in my arms and the other, a baby in my belly.

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