We started a journal for Kostyn when we found out we were having a baby. We wrote in it throughout the pregnancy, talking about how excited we were to meet him, telling him more about us, daydreaming about the future. Many friends and family members wrote their own messages to him after he was born, when they came to visit, and we still write to him sporadically. It’s a treasure that he will one day cherish, I’m sure. We thought it was so special that we pledged to start another journal when we found out a second child was on the way.

I’m halfway through the pregnancy, and I’ve only written in the new journal once.
Somehow, I’m ashamed to admit, my anxiety keeps getting in the way of my excitement over this kid. And I don’t know what to do about it.

It’s not that I love this baby less than I love Kostyn. My heart overflows for both of them. I was so happy when I found out I was pregnant, and was expecting to feel more and more excited as the pregnancy went on. I thought the second time around would be even more amazing than the first, because I have living proof right in front of me — twirling and laughing and chasing the cat — of what’s to come, of all the blessings this little being will bring to my life. I was expecting to feel joy. Wonder. Expectation. And maybe just a little anxiety over juggling it all.

I was not expecting to feel this scared.

I’ll be 20 weeks along on Tuesday, more than halfway to full term. If the baby cooperates that day, we’ll know after the ultrasound whether we need to start working on a boy’s name or a girl’s name. Every day the baby gets more and more “real” to me. And every day I grow more and more anxious.

I don’t know how to describe the fear without sounding pathetic. I know that millions of women — millions of couples — have more than one kid and do just fine. I just am not convinced I will do just fine. I worry -- excessively, more than most doubting parents-to-be -- that I’m not cut out for it. That I’ll fail. That I’ll fail them.

It seems like having a second child is both no big deal, and monumental.

I was as prepared as possible for the lifestyle changes that were necessary when Kostyn was born. Compromises and sacrifices were made both willingly and begrudgingly in just about all facets of our lives. But I feel so stripped of selfishness and freedom now, what more do I have to give a whole other (extremely needy) person?

And where will I get the patience? Some days I barely have enough for Kostyn. Some days I have all I can do to not drown, to just tread water in my own life, a life I used to feel so in control of. Some days I cry over that loss of control. I don’t know how much more I can relinquish.

I wish I had a crystal ball to look 20 or 30 years into the future and see them, these two little angels, to see if I’ve done right by them. Are they happy? Have they found love? More importantly, do they love themselves? I don’t know, maybe knowing that I’ll succeed will give me the freedom to risk failing. Then again, where’s the life in that?

I see and admire parents all around me who seem to have an abundance of patience, creativity, selflessness and humor. I’m not trying to be melodramatic when I say I don’t think I have enough of any of those things. And I’ll need them, in spades.

The baby started kicking me a couple weeks ago. Just tiny little nudges as he or she stretches or turns over. It makes me smile, like someone’s telling me a secret. But every single nudge is a sobering reminder of what’s to come, and the questions rise up uncontrollably in my heart. Will I be ready? Will I be a good mother? Will I lose more of myself? Or will I find more of myself than I ever knew existed?

I’m not writing this for words of encouragement; I need those to come from within. I’m writing this because I needed to admit my fears so that I can face them. I’m writing this because I desperately want to be a good mother. I’m writing this so that I can start writing in that journal. The baby deserves that, and so, so much more.

For awhile now I’ve wanted to tell someone. Anyone. No one.

So I’m telling you.


Kim said...

Oh Robyn. You know you're not alone, right? You better than anyone knew how freaked out I was about baby #2, because you were on the other end of the phone when I had my big "oh @#$!" moment.

I was more freaked out with the second pregnancy than the first one too. For me -- and I suspect for you too -- it was all about the child that was already my whole life and how our relationship was going to change. As soon as I realized I had to kiss my little boy goodbye and head to the hospital, I was a soaking, sobbing mess. I still looked a mess when they were checking me into maternity. I was feeling sad and guilty that I was bringing an interloper into my relationship with him. But at the same time I was feeling awful about thinking of her as an intruder. How was I going to have time for BOTH kids?

Obviously, I'm still figuring it all out. Some days are easier than others. But I wouldn't trade it for the world, and I know that ultimately I'm going to raise some pretty terrific kids. And I'm 100% positive that you will too...just like your parents did.

The anxiety isn't going to go away while you're pregnant. At least for me it didn't. But just know that once the baby's here and your family is all settled in, the fear will subside and you'll realize that this little baby is a piece of the puzzle that fits in perfectly.

Besides...your kids have pretty terrific genetics. Nothing could screw that up! ;)

Lauren said...

Wow, Robyn - what a heartfelt entry. Thank you for sharing your fears. I'm not sure how I would feel if I were to have another baby, but your writing what you did would, I'm sure, let me know I wasn't alone. I know you don't want sympathy or "You'll do just fine," but I know you will be (and are) an amazing Mom for 2 little wonderful people. Kostyn will love Baby #2 undoubtedly.
Hang in there, Girl. You don't have to have it all together all the time - and there will be enough love and time to go around with the kids. I just know it.

Maestra said...

Where God leads he will provide.

Breathe. Pray. Trust. Enjoy!

Heather said...

Do you need me to tell you another Mick Jagger story? Here's one: Mike bought the shirt for his "performance." Of course, I'm still waiting for him to purchase his suit!!!!!

Robyn said...

I just wanted to say thanks ... to those who wrote some words of encouragement here, and to those who wrote to me directly about this. Every word made a difference in my perspective, and my outlook.

I am surrounded by people who love and support me. So lucky.