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Twenty-four years ago, on a Super Bowl Sunday, I became a mother for the second time. I don’t know what having six kids is like. As the middle of three, I know from a child’s perspective what it meant to have siblings. Beyond that scant knowledge, nothing prepared me for motherhood of two. By this point I was an old hand at the baby stuff. I had a three-year old and my greatest fear of giving birth a second time was having enough love for two. My love for my first daughter was so fierce and all-consuming, I didn’t know if there was any room in my heart for another wholly independent yet connected being.

Life was busy and full. To fit another’s schedule, no matter how flexible, into our lives was more than I could imagine. Lexie was perfect in every way. What if I didn’t feel the same about this child for some reason?

My attending doctor bore an eerie resemblance to Jeff’s best friend and was impatient. She arrived in the afternoon and our hospital room was host to family and friends for the game: the NY Giants played the Buffalo Bills, and won. Whitney Houston sang the Star Spangled Banner. Patriotism was running high in response to the Gulf War.  (Disclaimer – I haven’t watched a game since and had to look all this up.) I remember nothing of the event but her peaceful calm. She was a perfect baby girl. Not the Lexie hadn’t been an easy baby, but the stress of first-time motherhood made me nervous and fearful. Hanni was just a Buddha-smile of serenity.

We were released after a day or so with no fanfare. Life took on its routine and her schedule slid into the daily timetable with ease. My fears of dropping, breaking, scarring for life that I had suffered the first time around were non-existent. My fear of not having enough love melted like hot candle wax under our bond. There was no shift from Lexie, no need to find more…there just was more than enough.

Second children benefit from all the first child has taught the parents, or rather all the three person unit has learned from each other and life together. They come into a ready-made world of family and perhaps never know what it is like to the center of that world, but they also never know the “science experiment” of being alone with this two dolts called adults. A path is paved and there is a comrade who can hold your hand through it all.

I hope my daughters will experience soul-filling  love, joyous sharing with another, and motherhood at least  twice.

(This is the letter I wrote to Hanni a year ago)

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16 comments on “Becoming a Mother for a Second Time

  1. Touring NH says:

    There is always more than enough love to go around! Happy Birthday Hanni!

    1. It’s like ‘play dough’ there always seems to be more…

  2. Doppleganger says:

    Happy Birthday to my God-daughter…. you are so much like your mother, I am proud of you always.

    1. Thanks Doppleganger, I like to think she and her sister are the best of both Jeff and I with lots of help thrown in from their favorite “Aunt”!

  3. I had many of those feelings while pregnant with my second daughter. What I didn’t know is that she’d complete our family–that’s one of the things I tell her. She is the greatest gift we could have given to our first daughter. They have an amazing bond and I thank my lucky stars every day for my two beautiful blessings.

    1. So well put Joyce! Thank you!!

  4. julieallyn says:

    Beautiful, Martha. One of your best but then what we write from our hearts and souls usually are. Nicely done!

  5. cheryl622014 says:

    Oh my! We didn’t know what had hit us with our second child! Feisty, firey and rules went out of the window. One Sunday when she actually went to join in with the family time at church, the guy at the front said,”Okay Anna you can be an angel..” The whole congregation fell about laughing. My son’s infant school teacher commented she thought she would have left by the time Anna came and even at Secondary school the teachers said warily to us, “She’s very different to Iain isn’t she?” She is absolutely the best…but oh boy did everyone get a shock!!!

    1. Oh Cheryl, what a great story!! Different is good!!

  6. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that, even as early as age 14, I was saying that I wanted a girl and a boy and that would be enough. That’s exactly what I got but as you found, they didn’t come with manuals. I think I went through just about the same things that you did and also discovered that there was plenty of love to go around.

    1. One of each is the perfect combination, Allen…the lack of “manuals” was disturbing the first time around…

  7. Joanne Corey says:

    I am also the mother of two daughters, both now in their twenties. I love their closeness to each other and special bond, even though they are separated by 5,000 miles.

    1. Joanne, that special bond is indeed heartwarming…

  8. Marie Keates says:

    I felt the same when I was expecting my second child. Funny how the love just stretches. I’m e even managed to stretch to three!

    1. A mother’s heart knows no boundaries, right?

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