New baby, new love…bonding with each baby is different

When families welcome their second baby (or in my case second and third babies, ie. twins), you try to prepare yourself for a lot of different scenarios and new experiences. How will your first (and once only child) respond to having a sibling?  How will you show your older child you love them just as much even though they are not the center of attention?  How will you handle juggling a newborn and other kid(s)?  There are a lot of unknowns, but one thing I never anticipated was bonding with each baby differently.  Feeling closer to one baby or another at first is not a good or bad thing; it’s just what it is.  I will fully admit I bonded with my oldest daughter (a singleton) a lot earlier than I did with my twin daughters.

It took me a good 6 months before I felt as connected with the twins as I did when my oldest was born. Heck, I could not tell the babies apart just by looking at their faces before they were three months old!  Side note: not to worry, we did not accidentally switch them around. We know exactly who is who and I’m happy to report I can now tell who I’m looking at instantly (if their eyes are open).

Big sister at 6 months old
Big sister at 6 months old
Little sister at 7 months old, the apples does not fall far from the tree at all!
Little sister at 7 months old, the apple does not fall far from the tree at all!

Also, my feelings vacillated between babies depending on who was a bit fussier or who seemed to want to nurse longer on any given day.  Baby B had a traumatic delivery (cord wrapped around her shoulder/thigh, vaginal breech delivery born blue and not breathing), so I definitely kept a close eye on her after her harrowing arrival.

The twins are over 1.5 years old now and it was only recently I began to feel comfortable discussing this topic: when I felt like I really knew my girls. My second “new mom” experience was just different from my first.  A part of me knew what to expect when the twins were born.  I know what newborns are like; there are frequent nursing sessions, lots of spotty sleeping regardless of the environmental noise, and diapers around the clock.  Moreover, there were some seriously crazy similarities like all three of my daughters look the same as newborns (OK, two of them are identical twins, but my oldest came out looking just like them, but with dark hair).  The fact they looked the same fresh out the womb gave me a sense of instant familiarity.  I felt like saying, “We certainly did NOT break the mold after having our first!”

Picture of my first about a day old next to her sisters who are days old. They could pass as triplets!
Picture of my first about a day old next to her sisters who are days old. They could pass as triplets!

Even though they are all definitely my kids and look 100% related, my new baby experience was just different from my first.  (Okay, obviously there are major differences like welcoming two babies at once, with a toddler at home.  This was mind-blowing enough for me!)

My husband has mirrored similar feelings and hearing him say he had a different experience compared to having our first daughter helped me normalize the fact it’s going to be different with each kid and it doesn’t mean anything. Compared to my first pregnancy, the intensity of my emotions was different with the twins and a part of me felt bad for not feeling the instant bond/connection I experienced with my first.  When I first laid eyes on Esther, my love for her was all-consuming.  I instantly bonded.  The twins were more like a slow burn which grew to an all-consuming flame.  The intensity was there, but it took a long time to get there.  With this said, would I have laid my life down for any of my kids the minute I knew I was carrying them?  YES.  But this doesn’t diminish the fact my relationship with each of my kids is different.

I knew I loved my girls right away and I have learned, how you connect with each baby is going to be different and it’s totally normal.  I don’t feel bad about it now, but with crazy hormones coursing through my body, it was easy to let my mind run with any crazy idea.  Feeling differently does not mean you love one baby more or less at any given point, you just love them and that’s it.

On the flip side, with the arrival of new babies, some moms may fear loving their older children less, as if they need to make room in their hearts for the new babies. I can report my love remains just as strong (and stronger every minute) for my oldest and it has grown in different ways because I can enjoy seeing her with her baby sisters and watch her explore a new aspect of her personality: her role as a big sister.

Big sister watching over HER babies.
Big sister watching over HER babies.

Bottom line: I love all my little nuggets with all my heart. My love for them overwhelms me and I feel like my heart will explode with love for them all, but in the best possible way.

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