Photo by: Shutterstock

I Don't Love All My Children the Same

Photo by: Shutterstock

I have a confession.

When I was expecting Little Man, I suffered terrible, unspeakable guilt. You see, I knew that there was no way I could possibly love this new baby as much as I loved Miss M.

Miss M was so beautiful, so clever, so funny. She was my baby girl and I adored her with every cell in my body. Sure, I understood, on a logical level, that parents love all their kids the same (hadn’t my own parents told my siblings and I that all the time, like a mantra?), but in my heart…in my gut, I was certain that it simply wouldn’t be possible for me. Miss M was the light of my life, and I couldn’t fathom how on earth another child could inspire the love in me that she had.

So I cried.

I beat myself up.

I knew I must be a bad mother.

I worried and worried and promised my Bump that I would try my absolute best to love him as much as I could. I apologised daily and repeatedly to my poor Bump for the injustice of bringing him into this family where, try as I might, I wouldn’t be able to love him as much as I loved his big sister. I despised myself for this, and as much as I desperately wanted to, I just couldn’t see how to get around it. The shame was debilitating.

Finally, one day I confessed. I had a long heart-to-heart with my sister, who is mother to five children. If anyone could help me, she was it. Nervously I explained my feelings, red-faced and ashamed, and waited for her to laugh at me, or worse – judge me.

She did neither. Instead, she asked me a particularly odd question:

“Michelle, if you could go to your favourite restaurant and order your favourite meal, what would it be?”

Weird response to my outpouring of guilt, but okay, I decided to play along (what did I have to lose, after all?). I answered that I adore a good Gnocchi. She nodded, smiled sagely, and then asked another question:

“If you could choose any dessert, what would your favourite dessert be?”

Getting weirder. Haltingly, I replied that Sticky Date Pudding is my dessert of choice. She grinned widely and then replied:

“Well then, it’s easy. Miss M is your Gnocchi and the new baby will be your Sticky Date Pudding. You will love them both to distraction, you will want extra super-sized servings of both, and both will be your favourite for completely different reasons.”

And that is how I said goodbye to The Guilt.

Two days later, Little Man was born. The rush of love I felt for him was overpowering. One look at that tiny 6lb 4oz, bald baby boy and I was his.

My sister was right. I love Gnocchi more with every passing day, Sticky Date Pudding remains as sweet as ever, and I’ve since developed a new, all-consuming love for Baby Cupcakes. Sure, I might prefer one over the other at different times, but that’s okay because I can say – loudly and proudly – they are all my favourites.

Did you suffer The Guilt when you were expecting your second child? Did anyone give you any special advice or words of wisdom that helped you to get that it’s absolutely possible to love all your children equally? Please share!

Michelle is a copywriter, artist and mum of three children under ten. Read more of Michelle’s work at They Call Me Mummy.

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