A letter to my firstborn on the birth of my second child

The Birth of My Second Child

Throughout my pregnancy, I wondered how I would love another child as much as you. You made me a mother. Also, you were the perfect baby. You never gave me a sleepless night. This one had super high standards to live up to. You, my little darling, taught me what love really is.

How could I love another like this?

Then I found out it’s a boy. Another boy!

Now, I thought to myself, had it been a girl, it would still be easier to love her. Maybe because it would be an entirely different experience. But how could I love another boy? In my head, it was impossible.

Also, how would you react? How would you react to me being with another baby 24/7 when all this time, you have been the center of my world. Then I told you. Very early on. I couldn’t help myself. Maybe I thought I needed to prepare you. Maybe I thought you deserved to know before others. I don’t know. Do you want a baby Zaviar? Yes, Ama I do! Why don’t you pray to Allah to give you one? And then that prayer got answered. Slowly teaching you, my darling, about faith.

Where is the baby? You asked. In my tummy, I answered triumphantly. And I beamed at how well you took it. Until that day when I called your Baba panic-struck, because you had a tantrum and you wanted me to “take the baby out!”. Your dad thankfully was composed and told me to find a picture of a baby and take that out of my tummy and show you. It actually calmed you down!

Then came the day “your baby” was born. Second c-section. Feeding issues. Baby not latching. The first week after Azlaan was born became a nightmare. I was in a crazy amount of pain. And you decided to make the transition a hundred times more difficult. You, my easy-going kind little boy, became a little monster who acted out every chance you got. That made me a terrible person. I shouted at you and nearly struck you. I was at my wit’s end. I even thought I had made a mistake thinking I could do this. I shouldn’t have had another. Oh please turn back time, I thought. I can’t do it. It wasn’t even your fault. You’re just a baby yourself and your whole world just turned over.

Then I spoke to a dear friend who told me to return home from moms and go back to routine. The sooner I go back to routine the sooner things will settle down. So I went back home. Two days after staying at moms after the hospital. Knowing I would have to climb up three floors to go home. Knowing I would have way more responsibility at home, whereas all I did at moms was sleep and feed the baby. I hadn’t even changed a diaper as yet. It was all worth it. You transformed back and I could breathe again. It was actually a faster recovery after the initial week maybe because I was up and about earlier. Life got back to some semblance of normal and you and I became happy again.

Do I love your brother, your little baby as you call him? Without a doubt! I fell in love the moment I set eyes on him. The moment the doctor showed him to me while I was on the operation table all cut up, and all I could think was is he alright?

Two weeks into it all, I instantly regretted all the “regret” I had for having this beautiful little addition to our family. If anything he only made my life more beautiful and made me realize what love you have for your brother. It’s such a natural bond. It just exists in all its purity. Alhamdulillah.

In all the acting out, aggression, shouting, and a hundred pranks you played on me, you never once intended to hurt your brother, your baby. If anything, you became protective of him. You wanted to decide who can hold him and who couldn’t. You did get a little needy and wanted me to feed you when I was feeding him and wanted to vomit because Azlaan was throwing up. But that’s okay. You were learning. You and I both. We are still learning. And in all this time I have learned that we are going to be okay.

The little moments of love I see between you two are worth a thousand of that “terrible first week”. These moments just summarise love so so beautifully. I hope and pray you two will always love each other and always have each other’s back in life. Only now do I understand what your nanu meant when she said exactly that to us.

Farwah Shah
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