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A Letter to My Second Born

Dear Baby Boy,

From the moment I found out you were in my belly, things were already so different.

When I was pregnant with your Big Sister, I was blissfully unaware of just how much my life was about to change. I bobbed around naively in my first pregnancy bubble, spending hours saving nursery ideas to Pinterest boards and giddily discussing baby names with your Dad. I bought teeny, tiny onesies and organised them in drawers by size and colour. And I lay in bed every night, dreaming of what it would be like to be a Mum.

I’m sorry to say that when it came to your turn, there was one very big difference, taking the shape of one very small person. Yes, your Big Sister popped that blissful, early pregnancy bubble, quick smart. Being pregnant with a toddler is no joke. As if the nausea, the exhaustion and the insufferable need to pee every hour wasn’t bad enough, I was also at the mercy of a demanding, emotionally unstable, nap refusing, dictator.

There were no weekly photos documenting your growing bump (too exhausted!) and no new outfits to gush over (hello pumpkin stained, hand-me-downs!). And I didn’t impeccably plan out your nursery. We lived in a two bedroom unit; you had a modest nook in a corner of our bedroom with just your bassinet and a simple mobile made of sea shells. Your Dad emptied out a drawer for you from his dresser and we placed your change mat on top.

Pregnancy aside, when you did finally arrive (and in a much quicker fashion than your Sister) it all felt new to me again. As your naked, wrinkled body was thrust against my skin for the first time, it was as if my heart might just swell so big it would burst straight out of my chest. I want you to know that this moment is not up for comparison with that of your Sister’s. They were equally wonderful. Equally life-altering. But this was Our moment, never to be replicated.

Fast-forward to our return home and there were no early morning, snuggly breastfeeds in bed as we drifted in and out of sleep. No, you were fed and strapped into the baby carrier by 7am, just in time for your Sister to wake up, so I could take part in bleary-eyed, breakfast negotiations with my hands free.

There were no impromptu photo sessions with multiple outfit changes on the living room floor; I was too busy getting your Big Sister a snack every damn second of the day. And there was absolutely no drinking of the decaf as we navigated our way through the early days and weeks of breastfeeding. It was full throttle on the caffeine so I could do. All. The. Things. You had coffee pumping through your veins from day one, I’m sorry about that.

Your naps are a mess thanks to your Big Sister’s social schedule, and your first food wasn’t organic banana and avocado puree. I get pangs of guilt thinking about your baby book which lies unopened in the linen closet (I’ll fill it in by the time you turn one, I promise), or your keepsake box containing only your hospital name bracelet, that sits next to your Sister’s, overflowing with mementos.

But now, at almost eight months old, as we approach your first birthday (which is sure to be underwhelming), I’ve had a realisation: it doesn’t matter, all these things I haven’t done for you. These material things don’t matter at all. The guilt I’ve been holding on to, is gone. Because what matters, is how I love you. And believe me, baby boy. Just like your Big Sister, you are so, very loved.
Mum.

@dannii.odonnell