• Jamie

    This made me laugh so hard, then gush with emotion. Thanks. Love it.

  • Pam

    Hi Heather
    read the first few comments, so I know that many of us have been in the same place. Your post brought back so many memories. I brought home my daughter (now 11) when her brother was not quite 3 and I had the same reaction. I bawled and bawled and kept feeling like I betrayed him by bringing “another one” home. But it passed and we all survived and they actually like each other most days. Enough that just yesterday they sang a duet at the end of the year voice recital and I started crying yet again. You have so many good times to look forward to. Savour this very moment and all the ones to come.

  • Caitlin

    Your words about your now-childREN always touch my heart. I’m only 20 and have no immediate plans for children, but I can predict I’ll be digging through your archives when I do. I always appreicate your honesty; thank you for opening a window for us into your life,


  • Dana

    Thank you so much for sharing this.
    I had the same feelings right before giving birth. I would lie in bed with my 2 year old after she had gone to sleep and worry about what I was about to do to her. I felt so sad that she wouldn’t be the baby anymore. Since then (She is now turning 4 and the baby is 15 months old) things have flown by. After giving birth to the new baby, Willow, I was pretty much stuck in bed with her for 4 weeks. I have health problems that were aggravated by the pregnancy, and the baby had reflux which caused her to nurse 18 times a day for a few weeks. I didn’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time until she was 8 weeks old. I was so out of my mind with sleep deprivation and illness, I didn’t have anything left for poor Claire. She had to stay with family for 2 weeks, and we had friends come to the house for another 2 weeks. When she returned she was huge, too, and smelled so grown up. At one point, she said to me, “When are you ever going to come out of bed, Mommy?” She amazingly held it together until I was healthy and truly mobile (4 months). Then she started getting very clingy and wanting to be fed. She was also very angry with me, but never with the baby. For some reason, my head didn’t clear enough to think of taking her out alone until Willow was 6 months old. Willow kept her reflux until 7 months of age, only napped in half hour sessions at the time, and wouldn’t let anyone hold her but me. So I thought that taking Claire out for 15 minutes would just make her frustrated that she couldn’t do anything like we used to do. I was so wrong. I took her down the street to Dunkin Donuts. We shared a bagel and ice cream and went right back home. I was in tears because the change in her from that few minutes of undivided attention was so huge and lasted for days. It was so beautiful to see my big girl’s eyes light up again. I felt like the worst mother because I hadn’t done it sooner, but so relieved that I could still really be with her and feel just like I used to with her. She loves her sister so much now, and calls her her little cutie pie Willow. For us, it took 7 months to feel like we couldn’t imagine or remember life without Willow, but it happened, and it is so amazing now. They make each other laugh all day long, and Claire gets her alone time with me every week, even if it’s just grocery shopping.
    You have such a beautiful family! Thank you again for sharing this part of your experience. It’s all so worth it.

  • Anonymous

    I am pregnant with my second child and my daughter is 4 years old. she will be turning 5 when the baby is born and i’ve been reading your blog with extra curiosity, trying to get some clue as to how i will feel bringing home a baby after so many years of being a family of 3. Even now, just pregnant, i am starting to have some of those “betrayal” feelings. Especially when i’m feeling too sick or tired to give my daughter all the attention she’s used to. I also worry about the age difference, and if the two will really be able to connect. So i’ll be checking your blog daily, hoping for the best for your family, and hoping to learn something ahead of time about my own.

  • http://girlbert.com Girlbert

    Now that I’ve wiped away the tears, I’m smiling. Thanks for sharing this moment – children are the most profound creatures, aren’t they? So much more so than their adult counterparts…

  • http://themonsteryouvecreated.com MtbChick

    I totally understand. It’s heartbreaking to bring home the second child and then realize that you can’t give your first child the attention you used to give him/her. This is why I only have two children. It’s a perfect size family for me.

  • http://www.winecat.typepad.com winecat

    Way to go Mom. That was beautiful, a wonderful way to show Leta just how much she means to you and Jon.

  • Zirkuskatze

    You will be fine, all of you. :-)

  • ELee

    Congratulations to your family of four!

  • Kristen

    I had a planned c-section with my second child. The night before I went in for that early morning c-section, I was reading to my (then 4 1/2 year old) daughter as I put her to bed, and I broke down in complete tears. Sobbing, uncontrollable tears. To the point that my 4 year old was holding me and saying, “There there Mommy, it’s going to be okay. I know you’ll miss me while you’re in the hospital, but I’ll be here waiting for you.” It was gut-wrenching.

    I felt as if I were betraying my daughter… And at the same time, I also cried for my soon-to-be newborn son, thinking I’d NEVER love him as much as I loved my daughter in that moment. What a mess I was!

    One and a half years later, we’re all adjusted. And come to think of it, we have been for about 15 months now. :) I promise, it gets better… But oh how this post speaks to me!! It was like yesterday… The emotions, the tears. And yes, Leta will have an adjustment… And it will be wonderful.

  • cb

    When my second son was born, 5.5 years after my first, the oldest came to visit me in the hospital with a gift for his new brother. I did everything I was “supposed to do”, ie: the new brother was in the isolette, I was not holding him, I was so happy to see my older son. He walked in the room and said, “well, I guess you don’t need ME anymore”. Talk about tears!! I’m happy to say we all survived. Leta will too!

  • http://www.hairbowsandguitarpicks.com Shelly

    Crying right now…thank you!

  • Lizzy

    I just had a memory of the time after our son was born. His older sister, Grace was two. When my mother brought her off the elevator to see us, Grace said “I’m coming Benjamin!”. It makes me weepy thinking about it.

    Damn. Now I need some chocolate ice cream.

  • http://www.chaoticstability.blogspot.com Harna

    The paragraph that ended with this sentence:

    “I’m quick to comfort her and explain that Marlo is not crying at anyone in particular, it’s just that sometimes it’s sad to find oneself sitting in a pile of their own shit.”

    Is exactly why I read your blog. It’s like all nice and I think you’re going to say something sweet and comforting…then *zing!* Hahaha!

    I’m glad the transition is going well.

  • http://brandistrand.wordpress.com brandi

    Heather, this made me cry…only because my husband and I are trying to decide when we want #2 to come along. I have an almost-9 month old now. I’m very, very nervous about the balancing act that you now have to play with two children.

    I was 7 when my sister was born. And while I tormented the crap out of her when it was just us, I was (and still am) the typical over-protective big sister. I’m sure Leta will come around after this initial shock.

    Lucky for both Leta and Marlo that you and Jon are both home and can drown both of them with love (and chocolate ice cream)!

  • Sheila

    I wouldn’t trade my sisters for anything.
    Leta and Marlo are so lucky to have each other.

  • http://faydean.typepad.com Amy J.


    I have two girls…4 and 7.

    I just called my seven year old in here and asked her point blank, “How did you feel when we brought your sister home…did you feel like we didn’t love you anymore or that you were being replaced?”

    She said, “No. Why are you asking me this mom?” I told her why and that I just wanted a firsthand account of what the first child feels when the new sibling joins the family.

    She looked at me very seriously and said, “Tell Ms. Heather that in a few years Leta won’t remember her sister coming home at all and she will just feel like she’s always been there and there isn’t any other way…and that her mommy loves them both 1000 percent.”

    Take it from an expert Heather :) . Hang in there girl…ride those hormones. I’m thinkin about ya’ll alot during this very fragile time.

  • http://littlemissmoi.wordpress.com Little Miss Moi

    I remember after being up so many nights in a row with a sleepless baby, I woke up one morning and couldn’t go near my husband. His head looked so big compared to the tiny one I stared at throughout the night, he looked like he had elephantitis or something..

  • sb

    My parents often recount this story…
    I was four years old and had gone to the hospital to visit my new born sister. There I told my father that I would let my sister come home only if nobody loves her more than me!

    Now, 22 years later and scores of fights and bickering and arguments, my sister and I share a beautiful bond. Hope its the same for Leta and Marlo.

  • jennifer

    The crying! MINE, not yours. Mine was 2, so his thoughts weren’t as developed as Leta’s and he has been a champ, not showing any jealousy for this first year, at all (at all!), but the guilt I feel…I have to repeat to myself sometimes…I adore my siblings and he will be so glad to have a sibling too! You are doing her a favor, they will have each other to commiserate with when they both decide how inept and uncool we are, and one day, sadly, they will have each other, when we aren’t there for them anymore.

  • Stellahella

    If this gives you any condolence Heather, know this: I am an adult only child, and while I can’t say I didn’t love knowing that every single present under the Christmas tree was mine, Mine, MINE!, I would give anything to have a sibling now. Not just because it’s hard to watch my parents age and deal single-handedly with the responsibility that entails, but also because I often wish I had someone to commiserate with, now and earlier in my life. “Can you believe Dad does that weird thing with his feet? Eeew.” You know, that kind of thing. And now you’ve given Leta that. It might be difficult now, but in the long run, I’m telling ya… she will love you for it.

  • http://kmbrknits.com kmbr

    Congratulations! You have given Leta the gift of a forever friend; the only person who will be able to commiserate totally on what lunatics their parents are/were.

    She’ll thank you for it some day, don’t get all bogged down with guilt; that one is smart enough to use it to her advantage.

    Just do your best.

  • diana

    I didn’t read the comments before, so maybe someone already suggested this. What I did with every new baby (I have a 10 years old, an 8 years old and an 18 months old) was to imply the new one was “ours” as in first children too. “He’s our baby, and he’ll look up to you, you’ll be his hero” etc. For us, it worked. Congratulations and good luck!

  • Anonymous

    Wow…you got me with that one.

    I have no children so I will not pretend to relate. Just try to count every little blessing. Two beautiful girls, a loving husband….and more.

    Also, please don’t forget to take good care of yourself. Just from reading about you on this blog I know that you have been to hell and back with PPD…be mindful…let others help you…take care.


  • http://sturm.typepad.com Heather

    My 4yr-old son is the best big brother… he really bought into the “now you’re a big brother!” thing, and enjoys his new, elevated status in the family. His baby sister just turned a year old and worships him, which seems to be ample repayment for him for the upheaval to his life. We read a lot of books about being an older sib, point out all the things he can do that she can’t, etc. Now we can’t imagine it any other way. I often think about Sweet Juniper’s post about “the new normal,” which is so true.

    Hope you’re feeling sunnier soon, doll – you deserve all the joy in the world this time around, and it’ll come.

    As for me, I am totally going to buy some chocolate ice cream tonight. You have inspired me.

  • http://mountainmommachronicles.wordpress.com/ mountainmomma18

    I think this one is hard. I am with you here, I want another kid, but I ache when I think about my daughter not getting all of the attention that she gets now. I worry about how she will act, if she will be ok. I guess all mothers have to go through it, but I wonder why we don’t talk about it.

  • EJ

    Your story brought tears to my eyes, because although I’m not yet a mother, I know what it’s like to be the oldest of two sisters with a 5 year age gap, and when I finally have kids I know I’ll have moments where I feel exactly the way you do right now.

    For me, being the oldest hasn’t always been easy… in fact, the arrival of my sister when I was 5 years completely changed my relationship with my parents and subsequently led to all sorts of problems for me that I never quite adjusted to.

    Having said that, I think the fact that you are obviously aware of how Leta will feel about Marlo and her place in the family shows that you’re not going let her suffer as I did.

    The main thing my mother did wrong was fail to spend enough quality time with me alone. If we’d spent more time together, having fun and going out places, just the two of us, I might have believed her when she tried to tell me she cared about me as much as my sister.

  • Kristinah

    Aw, You had me choking up, Heather.

  • Bitts

    Yep. That’s exactly how it feels to bring #2 home to a family that was pretty happy being a party of 3. I remember it well. The mantra that got me through those attacks of guilt for changing #1′s life so irrevocably was, “If giving her a sibling is the worst thing we do to her, that’s not too bad.”

  • Amanda

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…snot, snot…aaaaaaaaaaaaah…..

  • Michelle O

    This happened to me too. My boys have a twelve year gap. For the longest time it was just me and big brother. When the little one arrived, I felt terribly guilty. I am ashamed to admit it. They looked so much alike at birth. On a couple of occasions, I actually closed my eyes and pretend it was big brother in my arms.

  • http://sara-sundries.blogspot.com Sara

    That is exactly what it was like with my beautiful almost-four-year-old daughter when we brought our newborn son home. The crying! Yes, mine. I cried everyday for the next six weeks, for all the same reasons you find yourslef in tears now. Then things started feeling better. Keep your support system around you, and you’ll weather it, too. And keep on blogging!

  • Brown

    Holy crap! I am reading my own thoughts typed out so eloquently. I have 2 girls. 5yr old and a 2 month newborn. I felt the same way when I saw my 5year old walk into the hospital room. She had only been away from me for one day, but I swear I was now staring at a different child. Freaked me out. It’s like she automaticly matured into a big sister. Which also meant…big hands, big feet and big ears. I even thought her nostrils were bigger. I really love your blog. You are a great writer. You make me laugh every time. Congrats on the addition to your family.

  • http://eternally-distracted.blogspot.com/ Eternally Distracted

    I stumbled on your blog recently and love your posts. You inspired me (and I’m sure many others) to start one. Congratulations on the birth of your second little bundle of joy.

  • Jinx

    I know exactly the feeling. This post made me cry, in a good way.

  • Malita

    ugh eyes watering over here – if you’ve seen this video already disregard – it’s “making room for the second” and it’s great


  • SB

    Hmmmm….you’re more patient than I would have been. All I see is a child being extremely manipulative. I’m sorry you’re dealing with that. :-( That soooo would not fly in my house. We have 4 and I have never had one so emotionally fragile that they had problems with adding a sibling. It’s probably a difference in parenting style though, I am sure mine would know that would have absolutely infuriated me to no end. Kids seem to get a pretty good grasp of things like that at times, and then have no clue at others. I suppose calling a child a selfish….adding word here…wouldn’t be appropriate either though. Ugh, that just pushed every parental button I have as I read it and its not even my child. Very different idea of what behavior is acceptable from one parent to the next though of course and that is the beauty of life, how different we all are. Good luck! You’re waaaaaaaaaaaay more patient than I would be with that that behavior. Very best of luck to you all!

  • Annie

    As always, beautifully written and left me weaping. I too, never ever expected to feel that I was betraying my first son when I brought home my second, it was perhaps one of the most overwhelming feelings I have had since giving birth. 15 months later, I still spoon my older son a little longer at bedtime and whisper the same things in his ears. The guilt of motherhood never ends…. Loves to you and your sweet family!

  • http://www.themommy-files.com/ Shannon @ The Mommy-Files

    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story. 2 is always different from 1, but the first will always know that you love her.

  • http://gastricbypass-kcbelles.blogspot.com/ kcbelles

    You did just right (IMHO) – just let Leta know she’s still special and still loved/adored/wanted, and she’ll be fine. I really wanted a sister, when I was younger, but I became very close friends with both of my brothers. A sibling really is one of the best gifts you give your children, I think. I can’t wait for more Leta stories; she always manages to make me laugh.

  • sasha

    I felt the same way when we dethroned Joey by bringing Sam home. It’s an irrational and excruciating guilt. Yet aren’t you amazed (just like the first time) that your heart had even MORE room to grow?

    I’m going to break your no-unsolicited-advice rule and share the best piece of advice I got during that time: When you’re doling out the attention during the first few months, err on the side of your firstborn. Your secondborn will never know the difference, but your firstborn will.

    And how lucky for your girls to have two work-from-home parents! If you quit at two (we did!) you’ll almost never be outnumbered.

  • MK


  • Anonymous

    Went through the EXACT SAME THINGS. And now I sit here, watching my 5 year old and my 2 year old, totally wrapped up in one another, playing some complex game about princesses and spider man… And they both have enormous hands and they both tear my heart out. CONGRATULATIONS on the new addition – !!!

  • http://laurenfromtexas.com Lauren From Texas

    So precious. And heartbreaking. I am the eldest of 4 and was 3 years old before my sister came along. I don’t remember much – but I do remember not wanting her at first, and then growing to love her so much I would have done anything to protect her and take care of her. Now she is 20 and I am 23, and I have an 18 year old brother and a 15 year old sister, and I don’t think I could love them any more if I tried. Leta is a lucky girl for having a chance to love someone that much. Congratulations to all 4 of you – may there be many ice cream breakfasts in your future.

  • Anonymous

    This is going to sound really dumb, because I don’t have kids. My dogs are my kids, and I know it isn’t the same, but I related to the guilt you wrote about feeling.

    I had my first dog for 5 years and spoiled her rotten before I brought a new one home, and I felt so awful for days. I ruined my dog’s life, I thought. She had it made, had all of our attention, and I destroyed it. I cried for a week.

    But then, my first dog got over it, I felt better and got over it, my new dog fit in just fine and now my dogs play together occasionally and, really, it just made my heart bigger.

    I’m just trying to tell you…it’s going to pass. It’s a terrible feeling, but it’ll pass.

  • Krystl

    I’m the youngest of four, and my sister is 13 years older than I am. Before she got diagnosed with her mood disorder (and I say *her* because I’d already been diagnosed with *mine* lol), she could be such a raging bitch that I wondered how my mom could stand her. Even so, and now more than ever, she’s one of the most wonderful things about my life.

    It must’ve been very difficult for her to suddenly be usurped in her position as the only girl after 13 years–and by the last child, no less! Destined to be doted upon in a much different way. Reading this post and the comments about the special bond between a mother and the child who first made her a mother–I have seen that in their relationship, though I’d never understood what it was. And I am so happy for her that she has that.

    With your two little ones, your first born will always be your first born, and your baby will always be your baby, and that’s a wonderful, individual thing for both of them to have with you.

    Marlo will always think of Leta as wonderful, and Leta will come to think of Marlo as her own.

    Not too long ago, I told my big sister that one of the most comforting smells in the world for me is her day-old deodorant and armpit because waking up to that means that we’ve fallen asleep together. She said that’s one of the most loving things she’s ever been told.

    It’s true that your girls will soon enough have their own strong and strange little love. :)

  • CJ

    I just had my second child in January and I knew that I was going to miss having ‘alone’ time with my oldest (6 yrs old), but I didn’t realize how much. You really put words to it. The feeling does ease over time, but it doesn’t totally go away. And it ends up getting spread around too (I miss time with being _just_ with husband, _just_ with oldest, or _just_ with new baby)

    And be prepared for mixed feelings on Leta’s part. One morning my oldest started crying that she didn’t want the baby to go with us when she got dropped off at school because ‘everyone talks to the baby and ignores me’ and then ten minutes later she wanted the baby in her classroom so that she could show everyone how cute the baby was!

    Enjoy the extra cuddles at night – they are good for both of you.

  • http://www.blogobeth.com Beth

    Very normal!!! I felt the same way, but you pay a little extra attention to the first one – make Leta be your “helper” and you will find a balance. Don’t forget, you have also brought home a life-time friend, companion and somebody that Leta will always be able to count on – even when you aren’t around. She will be a blessed child for having a sister.

  • Lauren

    Oh, Heather. Tears in my eyes. HANG IN THERE. You’ll figure it all out: all four of you together will figure it out.

    I SO distincly remember one day a few weeks after my son was born. I was reading to my daughter before her nap. She was a precocious 3+ years, and I was holding her newborn baby brother. Something in the story must have triggered it – or not – and all of the sudden I was bawling. Erin asked what was wrong, and I sobbed, “I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how to take good care of Ben, and still take good care of you, and take some care of myself, too.” And my first born, “our special, brilliant child who first changed our hearts,” said, “I’ll take care of you, Mommy.” And my heart melted.

    All four of you together will figure it out. And Leta’s life will be all the richer for it. So will yours.