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Can I love my second child?

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I wrote this when my daughter was about three months old — and I was feeling very guilty that I didn’t love her as much as I had loved my son after his birth. She is turning one this week. 


Can I love my second child?

Does love multiply?

Am I heartless?

Is my little girl loved enough?

All these questions still run through my head. I thought they would disappear a day, a week, a month after her birth. But they are still here.

Everyone and any one with more than one child told me that I’d love my second (or third or fourth) “just as much”. But I don’t.

{You lied.}

It is a different love.

No one prepared me for these completely different emotions. For though I was given the amazing gift to love another little, precious one – I had already become a mother. With my first, I became a mother. My son and I journeyed through motherhood together. There were ups and downs. But I remember looking at him and thinking, “You are mine, God created you inside me, I am a mother” – over and over and over again.

I say these things and I feel these things with my daughter. But it’s not the first time. And I’m sorry, baby girl, I’m sorry. I want to give that to you. But your older brother has already taken it.

I am already a mother. That void in my life has already been filled. So when it wasn’t “filled” again, I felt empty. I feel empty. I feel sorry that my daughter doesn’t get that from me. The love so deep – and that pit in your stomach that was created – the love so powerful — and the fear so fierce that I cannot protect my precious baby from this world.


I love her. Her eyes, her nose, her sweet smile, her gurgles, her head bob, her sweet leg rolls, her delicious smell. I love her with every ounce of my being.  


She has my love. But she didn’t create it. My son did. {Well, God created it in me, and my son sparked it with his beloved presence.} Has she made that love bigger? No. How could it be bigger than the love I have for my son? It can’t.

My heart, while pregnant with my second and contemplating how I would come to terms with my feelings for a second child, wanted to become whole again. But it’s not. It was already whole after I had my son. That was what I didn’t realize. I was already whole. When you become a mother, you are, all of the sudden, whole — and that can only happen once {at least for me}.


Oh sweet girl, you are my new love. The missing piece in our family. Missing piece for your brother. And I feel sad that you weren’t the first, but you aren’t. Every child can’t be the first child.

So, Mom, and every mother who had more than two, did you lie to me? {Yes.} When you said flippantly, “You’ll love the next one the same, don’t worry, it will be instant.” I was expecting the same emotion, but it was completely different.

I am, after all, a second child, and now I know the truth.  Your first is your life-change.  Every child is an immense and immeasurable blessing.  But your first is your sheer joy because motherhood is a joy indescribable — and that only can happen the first time.

Dear mothers, especially those pregnant with your second child, you will love your next child(ren), but it is different. I hope that you can reach through all of my jargon and feel my heart. Don’t feel guilty. Your child is loved. But it is a different love. And that is okay. So different, and yet, so wonderful.


 Or maybe all of this is foreign to you.  And I over-analyze everything {I know do}.  But this is my heart.


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  1. I know exactly what you mean and I think moms are afraid to say it because somehow it equates to not loving them as much, but that’s not what it means at all. It just means the experience cannot be duplicated- it can only change and be different for you and that 2nd or 3rd child. I have found that with my 2nd, I felt as if we were missing the “time” to bond and now that my 1st is off to kindergarten, I have been able to discover him for the little boy he is. There’s a lot of juggling required as you add to your family dynamics and so the “all-consuming” love that you had for the first is unrealistic for the others if you want any sanity. I think moments become more precious with the other two and they also learn differently because they have a different environment in which to learn. Anyway, I think you are spot on- but I don’t believe it means you love them less, just differently. Thank you for sharing your feelings- we don’t do that enough. Not the ‘real’ thoughts, anyway!

    1. I wanted to clarify…I have 3 kiddos, so that’s the reference to the ‘other two’. I also think it may be a bit different with gender/birth order, amount of kids one has, etc. So many things are going on after the first child! :)

      1. Thanks so much for your honesty, Brook. I am glad that someone understood what I was trying to get across because every mom feels differently!! Blessings, Amy

  2. When I was born, ny mother was sick and within 4-5 months of my birth she was pregnant again. But when my sister was born, she had the time to recover and gain her strength back. So my mother always had deep love for my sister but very little for me. It hurts to this day. It feels empty to this day. Today, I am a mother myself and I keep spoiling my daughter with love and attention but it doesn’t compensate the emptiness I feel inside. I can feel depressed and emptiness just thinking about it. I hope your daughter doesn’t sense this “difference”.

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