You know that instantaneous, all-encompassing, greater-than-anything-you've-ever-felt love that people say they have for their children in the womb, or at least at birth...well, I didn't experience that...not with either of my children.
With Colton, I didn't recognize it as much. I thought I loved him from the beginning, and I obviously did in a lot of ways, but it wasn't this overwhelming feeling that I had heard people describe. Over time, though, that kind of love developed...that boy is my heart, my passion, my everything. I probably can't describe it adequately but when I look at him, I beam...when he smiles, I smile...when he cries, my heart literally breaks with him. You moms probably know what I'm talking about...that mom love. He's my most precious gift, and I would do absolutely anything and everything for him.
With as deeply as I loved Colton, I was genuinely worried when I got pregnant with Levi that I was not capable of loving someone else with as much power as I experienced with Colton (and I even had some family members joke that I would not be capable either). Levi's pregnancy was an accident, and even though we were excited and felt blessed to be adding another child to our brood, there was always a tinge of worry associated with that as well.
Levi was born...healthy and happy...and while I should have been overjoyed, I found myself almost begrudging him. Begrudging him for needing so much...begrudging him for taking away so much of my time and energy from Colton.
On about the second day that we were home from the hospital, Colton was in a particularly bad mood. Because I was breastfeeding at that point, most of the Levi duties had fallen on me and most of the Colton ones had fallen on Josh. My boy clearly missed him mommy, and as I sat playing with him in the playroom, I broke down. I cried and cried...fearful that our lives would never be the same, that I wouldn't be capable of giving Colton what I used to, loving Levi like I should...fearful that we should have just left well enough alone and just had the one child.
That was my lowest point. After that, we settled into a better routine. Josh and I found a better balance between caring for both boys. Levi got older, and as he did, he needed less, and over time, we were on a nice little schedule. But here's the thing...Levi was still just "there." Obviously, I loved him, but he didn't warm my heart the way Colton did.
Last night, I was putting Levi to bed. I read to him, sang to him, and cuddled him like I usually do and then laid him in his crib. As I bent over to kiss him one last time, he grinned his magical grin...and I felt it...that powerful, all-encompassing, overwhelming love. A love that made me smile and almost cry at the same time because I just couldn't believe that this beautiful boy looking up at me with so much love in his eyes was my sweet baby boy.
I've given it a lot of thought, and here's my conclusion. I'm not a bad mom...I'm just not really an infant person. Infants are a lot of work...they need to eat constantly, they have to be held constantly, they wake up constantly. And to make it worse, infants don't give you much back. I don't know exactly when they transition from infant to baby, but over time, they eat a little less frequently, they can sit up on their own, they smile at you, they coo at you, they giggle, they know that you're mommy (and daddy is daddy) and love you in a special way.
Over the 6 months or so of his life, Levi has carved his own special place in my heart and in our family. The fears, the doubts, and the guilt are all gone. Not only do I feel the same powerful love for both of my boys, but they clearly feel it for each other as well...proof that Colton's life was not hurt by the addition of his brother, but enriched...as were all of ours.