• Bec

    Wow, that’s heartbreaking, Heather!

    And to SB, please get yourself a copy of Parenting for a Peaceful World and… *evolve*

  • kate willaredt

    I took a sharp breath when I read this – I remember ALL too well that feeling of betrayal when I had my second. and my oldest was only 22 months older – so I can only imagine how hard it must be when you’ve had more than 5 years with Leta before Marlo came into your lives. I still think about that and how it took me longer to bond with my youngest, which was SO different from the first time. but more than two years later, my girls are the best of friends and I know you’ll be able to look back one day and say the same thing. I wish you and Jon, Leta and Marlo (LOVE the name) all the best. savor every moment as it goes so fast!! congratulations.

  • http://www.andotherrecipes.blogspot.com Carine

    Ditto Devon!… x

  • http://mommybloopers.blogspot.com jeni

    Bribing her with ice cream :)
    How awesome is that?!

  • http://mamaintranslation.blogspot.com/ Lilian

    Oh, this is just so so so beautiful!

    I felt the same way about my oldest son being so huge after the youngest was born (and poor Kelvin was only 2 years and 3 months old!), so every time a friend has a second child I ask them if they don’t feel like they’re living in a movie called “Honey, I blew up the kid.” Strangely, some people don’t feel that way, though…

    Now, the hardest thing for me, since I chose to tandem nurse the boys (I kept breastfeeding Kelvin during the pregnancy, once a day only after my 4th month – I know, crazy, but it worked out fine for us) was when they cried at the same time and Kelvin was overwhelmed by the reality of a new brother. I had to nurse both at the same time. Good thing it happened only twice or 3 times, and only in that first week.

    And now, I’m not coming back to check the comments again, lest someone decides to attack the crazy tandem nursing woman ;-) .

    In any case, ever since my second pregnancy and the birth of my second son I’ve been fascinated by the experience of other women having subsequent children (particularly the second). I really wish there was a book, or books out there for us about this subject. Having a second child (and I’m really curious to know what your opinion on this subject will be in the upcoming weeks and months) was absolutely overwhelming for me. It was not like the work of mothering/parenting, was doubled, but multiplied many times. It was an exponential growth. That’s not what people usually say. Of course I had a 2 year old and not a 5 year old, and people also say that having an older boy is harder than an older girl…

    anyway… if I ever decide to edit an anthology on this subject, I hope you agree to contribute with an essay, will you? ;-) [not that I'd be able to, but I'd love to try!].

  • Christy Wood

    I know it’s hard. Many big hugs to you all and especially Leta.

  • Kelly

    Heather! I felt the same surprising guilt and rediculous crying the afternoon we brought our 2nd daughter home from the hospital 4 months ago. Like why had I gone and changed EVERYTHING by bringing this new baby home?! My 4 year old was perfectly sweet and has adjusted amazingly well. Now it brings tears to my eyes to see how much my two girls truly love each other. Best wishes and congratulations!

  • http://www.raisin-toast.com Susan

    Perfect. Just perfect. You have a beautiful family.


  • Debbutante

    Seriously, stop making me cry.

  • Raine

    You’re such a good Mama!

  • jenny

    we are going through the same transition… little Chloe was born April 5 and since that moment, our three year old Hannah has been incredible & sweet & wild & challenging all at the same time. it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride! I totally relate to your story and have to admit that it made me cry. damn hormones!! congratulations! you have a beautiful family and i look forward to more of your wonderfully heartfelt stories! ♥

  • sasha

    Okay, just started scrolling up to read others’ comments and have to ask:
    SB, what on earth is selfish or manipulative about asking for love?

  • Ingrid

    The first few weeks after having our second son I remember crying, more than once, and thinking “What have I done to my family?” and wondering how I could possibly give them both all the love and attention I had showered on my first son. But it gets better. I still have moments of guilt where I feel like I’m short-changing one or both of them, but I know that they are both benefiting from having a brother and watching them interact and seeing their faces light up when they see each other just melts me. And then one of them whacks the other over the head and the moment passes…

    Oh, and when I came home for the hospital with the new baby my two year old seemed huge! Freakishly gigantic with a giant battering ram of a head! I almost couldn’t touch him. I remember it vividly. He did quickly shrink to a normal size again.

  • missy

    I’m sure it has been said since I didn’t read all 788 comments. But, there is nothing better you could give her. A short term adjustment to a life long friendship. When you and Jon are dead and gone, Leta and Marlo will have each other.

  • Kath

    Gorgeous…you have me crying! What an amazing gift your writing is to your daughters.

  • Krista

    Okay, so you make me cry. My daughter is 8 months old and my son will be turning 3 next week and I still have those moments and entire days! The days when I feel guilty that I can’t give my son all the attention that he needs or my daughter the same but all is forgiven and everyone is happy when they start playing and laughing together! It will make you cry when you see Marlo’s unconditional love for Leta :) Enjoy every minute, I know I am!

  • Elinda

    Oh, the guilt indeed!!! I am due August 27th. I had my 1st born — now 11 — at the age of 19. I was a complete idiot back then. So, when I had my 2nd born — now 14 months, I had not only the guilt of “taking away” our life together…but I felt guilty about how much better life is going to be for my 2nd born since I’m now a better mom, more patient, etc. Then I went and got pregnant AGAIN. I cannot even imagine how much life is going to change in about 2 months!!! What is wrong with me? And I will be raising all three boys as a SINGLE MOM. Guilt. Indeed. Fear. Yes. PPD? Upcoming. Just be very, very, very glad that you have such a wonderful husband to help you through this! Some of us didn’t get so lucky in picking our sperm donors…

  • A different Beth

    < < And while I love my younger son like crazy, I can also admit that having him has made me realize that having one child WAS enough, that we didn't HAVE to have another--but that it is a different kind of a good life to have. >>

    Thanks for saying that, Meg. Some of us can’t have second children, and all the stuff about siblings being “the best gift you can give a child” can be a bit tough to take, though I recognize it was meant to help Heather feel better about Leta.

    And I remember when I was 2, my brother was finally brought home from the NICU, and I thought wow, so ugly. 6 months later my dad left us and I think some part of me blamed my brother. The whole family went kablooey. Eventually I was so glad to have him with me for the remarriage, going back and forth, etc.

  • claydivva

    I remember my 1st born being HUGE too! totally freaked me out, and I felt bad for giving him a bro too. Now, where would I be without 2 of them, 2 is fabulous, perfect, fantastic, you’ll see.

  • Shelly

    Wow. did that post just bring tears to my eyes..
    Leta will Love Marlo.. wait til she starts to crawl. Leta will be ecstatic when she does something other then “cry at her” ..

  • sue.g

    Heather – Congratulations and best wishes!

    I understand your feelings of betrayal to Leta. I felt the same way when my second daughter was born,,,,,,like I had ruined her life with this new baby. I believe that things will turn out well for you. You and Jon sound like great parents and you will give each of your girls exactly what they need.

    God bless!

  • http://mamasoncall.com Rachel

    I get it. Totally, completely, and in my gut. I haven’t felt that feeling in 15 years but it comes rushing back like it was 5 minutes ago.

    Thank you.

  • Wendi

    As the oldest sister to a brother and sister, I can assure you Leta will treasure Marlo for the rest of her life. I read a quote a long time ago that said “what’s the good of news if you haven’t a sister to share it”. Perk up, everything will be great!

  • Lizzy

    Chocolate ice cream for breakfast can fix many a broken heart.

    She’ll be okay. And so will you.

  • Chelsea

    oh my god, the crying I’M doing now too!
    You write beautifully, Heather. I’m positive that soon, Leta will not even be able to imagine life without Marlo.

  • http://www.mamaquierebeso.blogspot.com/ Ciria

    Thanks for this. It makes me feel a little less alone when I think about what I’m about to put my little guy through.

  • Kellie B


    I was the oldest child in my family, don’t worry she will be just fine :)

    You are an excellent mother and wife.

    Congratulations again!


  • Helen

    Heather – what a beautiful post. You write so eloquently. I am currently expecting my second child, and struggling with many of the same thoughts. But what I am trying to remember, and what may help you through this transition, is that you are not taking something away from Leta by having Marlo – you are giving something to her. My sister is my best friend; we speak every day. I’m eternally grateful that my parents gave me the gift of a sibling, and I’m sure that once Leta wraps her head around it, she will rise to the challenge beautifully. She is, after all, your daughter. =) Hugs from New Zealand!

  • Elinda

    Lilian, I cannot get my 14-month off my boobs… and I am 31 weeks pregnant. I did not plan for it to go this way. I curse my boobs and the fact that my son is a boob-aholic on almost a daily basis. I suppose that’s why we have two boobs? I would never attack a woman who is tandem nursing. She could squirt you in the eye from across a football field.

  • Emily

    So, since you clearly have time to scroll through 800+ responses, I figured that I’d weigh in. It is the most normal reaction in the parenting world to apologize to your first for introducing your second. It’s also a great gift, even if neither of them ever admit it. Congratulations!

  • tracey

    Well, at least you will not have this convo with your four year old.
    “mom, I need a sister”

    “sorry sweetie mama can’t have a baby”

    “I KNOW, you can just go to China again and we can pick out one:

    “it’s not that easy”

    HUGE SIGH, then
    “MAMA, you don’t understand. You will get old, Dad will get old , you will DIE and I will be ALONE”

    ok, how is THAT for making you feel like a total failure loser parent? luckily I have some amazing only child friends who assured me they were FINE.

  • Leslie

    I have two boys and felt the EXACT same way, but I predicted it. My older son was almost seven when his brother was born and I could not believe I was voluntarily messing up our perfect little family of three. When he came to the hospital to meet his baby brother, I kept turning my head because I was sobbing every time I looked at him. And when we were home and people visited the baby, I felt so guilty, it was unbelievable. I think it’s harder when it’s two of the same sex because you feel you’re “replacing” your beloved first. It’s also harder when you, like me, have many years between them. It fades with time. It all works out. But I remember it well!

  • http://cherepafford.com chere

    I’m crying too and Lauren # 298 has the sweetest story.
    And it will all be okay.

  • kquickly

    Dear god you are a good mother. I’ve never commented here but my reaction to your blog today was so overwhelmingly this sentiment that I thought I should share it. How lucky you four are to have each other.

  • http://readyset40.blogspot.com Stephanie

    Ohhh, you are making me cry – Stop that! I already did my makeup for work! I remember that feeling when my 2nd was born. I felt so sad for my firstborn. It made me cry constantly. His whole entire world as he knew it (mom, dad, & me) is changed in an instant & my heart just ached for him. (OK – I’M SURE THAT HELPED TONS).

    Just hold on awhile, and be patient. The rewards are so great, and pretty soon the 3 of you (including Leta) won’t be able to imagine life without that little baby in it. I promise.

  • https://twitter.com/VictoryTrue Chriss

    OMG I had completely forgotten about those feelings! First before I had my second I was convinced I would not love her as much as my first because, let’s face it, how could I ever love another person that much??? Then when she arrived and I did love her as much I was racked with guilt over my oldest whose life I had simply ruined by adding another child. Oh yeah, hormones and mommy love for sure.

    This too shall pass.

    P.S. Yeah my oldest look HUGE when I first saw her after giving birth to my second.

  • http://www.thewritingmother.blogger.com Heather Cook

    Oh my gosh, I love it. I remember feeling this way when my I had my second child. There are moments when you feel you betrayed the family of 3 that you had… like you left that family and now you are with this NEW family.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, finding the balance is difficult but worth it all. One little trick: I would lie in bed cuddling with both my girls (4 years apart). While making eye contact and talking with the little one, I would be telling her all the wonderful things she would need to know about her big sister…. “did you know your big sister painted a beautiful picture yesterday, so carefully and with gorgeous blue flowers and she can sing all the words to…”. One girl would be gurgling and the other glowing.
    Congrats Heather!

  • http://www.liamsgrandma.typepad.com Sue

    I know exactly how you feel. My son was only 2 1/2 when his terror of a sister entered the world. I have been apologizing to him ever since but, thankfully, 25 years later, he is still a good sport. You will adapt, as will Leta and Jon, and life will be wonderful. Challenging, but wonderful.

    - Sue

  • Rebecca

    This was so heartbreaking and so beautifully written. What a testament to the fact that a second child does not diminish your capacity to love the first, but instead magnifies it. You will all find your feet in this new arrangement before you know it.

  • Lisa

    Oh my gosh, the CRYING! (mine, not yours) <3

  • http://www.allegrasrose.blogspot.com Michele

    OK, now I’m crying.

  • Charity

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with Chocolate Ice Cream for breakfast…….it is a well known cure for “parent guilt” You guys are doing fine, pretty soon you won’t remember those days and wonder how you ever lived without Marlo.

  • Anjuli

    How beautifully written. My sister was born 15 months after I was, and I think I was too young at the time to realize that there was ever a time when she was not there. Later on I asked my parents why they had her so soon after me, and they always said that they were so happy with me that they wanted another.

  • Danielle

    I am the oldest, and was 5 years old when my first brother was born. At the time, I remember being very disinterested overall, as the baby couldn’t DO anything fun.

    Now, I am almost 29 and my brothers are 24 and 19. As adults, we are all friends, and we love hanging out and spending time together.

    Leta will have many friends in her life, but no one will be able to share with her as closely as Marlo. She and Marlo will have shared memories of their childhoods, and when they are adults it will bond them in a way that no friendship can touch.

    Thank you for always sharing such honest moments. I am a new mother (my little boy is 3 weeks old today!) and it is the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced. At the same time, it is hard and I appreciate that you acknowledge that.

  • http://www.jenjennyjennifer.typepad.com Jen

    I am finding that your reaction is completely normal. I went through everything you wrote about when I brought my second born home ten months ago. Why don’t people tell you about the kind of irrational, crazy guilt you will feel for completely altering your first born’s cocooned little life? All I can say is evrything will develop in it’s time and your baby daughter will be the best gift you will ever give Leta. *Now I’m just waiting for the “I feel like I haven’t even had the time to get to know this little girl like I was able to do with Leta…. yeah, that one’s a difficult one to get through as well!* Congratulatons to you all!

  • http://www.grafxnerd.net Laura

    I can imagine the guilt, but she’ll understand one day. Of course, I was the first born child, grandchild, and girl of the family — but I can’t remember any of the, HEY WHAT ABOUT ME!?’s Though once another female grandchild was put in the situation, about 3 years ago, things changed. Now I never hear from my grandparents! :)

  • CoriZ

    The night before we were scheduled to bring home my twin daughters from the NICU someone said to me, this will be the last night, my oldest daughter will have mom and dad to herself! HOW AWFUL! Those words stung more then the ring of fire of labor!

    But here we are 5 years later, and the girls are best of friends, but the worst enemies also! It’s natural.

    Congrats to the 4 family from a family of 6!

  • Lisa

    Oh my gosh. I bawled like a freak when my second child was born too. I thought I had ruined my first child’s life. He stayed with friends and when he came home I stayed in his room after he had fallen asleep, and cried and cried. Its so weird that alot of us go through similar things. so then when my third child came I cried for the second child because I was casually told by someone he was the middle child and I cried and cried about that.

  • http://www.kingofinternetmarketing.com Broker Jones


    I saw the picture of the billiruben blanket, and just wanted to re-assure you that it’s perfectly normal.

    Our little girl Ava who is now 15 months old had a similar experience, although we managed to avoid the blanket, we still had to go get the “blood pricks” from the heels of our little sweety everyday for 5 days.

    It’s hard watching as a parent, but I think many babies go through this exact same scenerio.

    Congratulations on your little addition!

    Broker Jones