Sunday, 16 November 2014

My Firstborn

For six years (one week short of six years, to be exact), my first child, my beautiful daughter, has been the first thing on my mind when I woke up and the last thing I though of before falling to sleep. My love for her has grown exponentially since I gave birth and has become the single most fulfilling emotion that graced my life. My love for my husband, my mom and brother, my close friends and other important people in my life was still there but the depth of my feelings towards my daughter trumped all else.
Our relationship was built gradually, starting as a mother's worry for her newborn and evolving into a warm, deep, caring sense of knowing, belonging, loving this little person who just became more and more awesome as the days passed by. We established our own communication, our own language, our rituals. This became all important for me. It also changed and/or modified my relationships with everyone else in my life, bringing out the good stuff - as well as the not so good - to the surface and influencing how I saw the world and everyone around me.
No, I did not forget about everything else. Having a child brought me and my husband even closer, augmented our love and enriched our relationship. I did not stop thinking about and doing stuff that make me who I am - although some of these things took a while to get back to. I continued working and dedicating a significant amount of my energy to my work. I continued travelling through work and enjoying every bit of it. I eventually continued going out, with my husband, with my friends, co-workers, going to the movies and the theater, taking long walks, just enjoying myself.
Still, my feelings for my child and my life with my child became the single most defining aspect of my everyday. She's grown up into a smart, sensitive, happy child, attuned to the world and other people, curious and observant, with a lot of empathy and deep emotions. And that made me so happy and so proud of everything she did and accomplished. This became especially pronounced this year as she has grown up so  much, showed such a special sense of understanding life and her surroundings, and learned so many different skills.
And then, almost a month ago, everything changed. I had this concern that giving birth to another child would alter this most important relationship in my life. Partially, that was the reason why I delayed getting pregnant for the second time. Things started changing during pregnancy and even before I've said it out loud it was my child that defined the profound shift that was to take place in our household. One day she just said 'Mom, I know, when the baby is born, nothing will ever be the same'. Ha, talk about an insightful kid...
However, the real extent of the change manifested itself once I got home for the hospital with the baby. While I was in the maternity ward for three days, I was beginning to get to know my newborn and enjoy time with her but my thoughts were always with my elder. What is she doing now? Is she worried that I'm not around? Does she miss me? Is she sad, upset? Am I going to get home in time for her birthday?
Come home on time I did. And managed to organize everything and everyone so that the birthday celebrations would not lack anything, just as before the baby. But I couldn't make it to the party for her friends. That killed me.
However, the realization of how much things have really changed hit me hard that evening. The baby was asleep and I went to get my party girl to bed. We got into the pajamas, brushed our teeth, and I lay beside her, just as I've always did - that was our special time, to talk, giggle, tell stories, sing and cuddle. I hugged her and she was almost nodding off when it hit me - God, this may not happen every evening from now on, there is someone else who needs me, and this does not feel the same as it did before- there is someone else to think/worry/care about. I felt a great sadness overcome me and I started crying.
In a way, I miss it. I miss that feeling of caring so much for my special girl and only for her. I feel sad that I have sort of robbed her of that feeling as she will never receive my undivided and exclusive attention in the same way as she did before the baby. I know that the love I feel now is not simply shared/divided - it is augmented and richer, but I still mourn the loss of that unique feeling and bond I had with her.
The baby will never be the only one - she is always the second child thus she gets to share me from day one and for her it will be normal. But it is different for my firstborn. She's been really great since the baby came home, gracious, caring, helping with everything, she's just a darling girl. But that night I felt the loss of something I know will never be the same and felt it so much so that it hurt physically. 

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