Growing up as an only child but with a couple of cousins who were my almost-siblings, asking my mom if she has a favorite among us did not escape me. And of course, my mom stayed true to the parenting script by saying, I love you all equally.
My daughter, Rui, was an only child for almost six years before my daughter, Maya, was born. And honestly, one of my apprehensions throughout my second pregnancy was if I could love Maya as much as I love Rui. Can I love them both equally? Do I even have enough love to give around?
You see, we spent three years yearning for a child before Rui came along, so saying that we celebrated her birth is an understatement. She became the center of our world right from the day she was born. My usually kuripot (stingy) husband had no qualms spending on her. I decided to work from home and even quit working totally for a few years to be her primary caregiver. My husband even opted for a work from home set up to spend time with her as much as he can. And one of our deciding factors for trying to have another child is because we were apprehensive about her having a family when we’re no longer around. It might be a weird thing to consider but we were anxious about her having to deal with this certainty on her own.
We were surprised by how easily I got pregnant with Maya — it only took a month after we decided to try for another one. My second pregnancy was relatively easier than my first one. This was good because I was still very much hands-on with Rui plus I had a full-time job. I took her to swimming classes, did school pick-ups and drop-offs, joined her class PTA, and everything in between. There were times when I felt guilty about not basking in my pregnancy more but this is not an option for second-time moms.
Maya soon demanded some of my attention when I went into preterm labor at 34 weeks. Though as I lay there on the hospital bed, my thoughts were still not with my pregnancy or Maya, but still with Rui. My husband took over most of my tasks but I still worried over her school activities, her appetite and meals, and everything else. I missed her terribly as that was also the only time we were apart for more than 24 hours.
I gave birth to Maya at 35 weeks. As a preemie baby, she stayed in the NICU for almost 2 weeks. I stayed with her at the hospital for a week, then went home and visited her every day for the next few days. And something just clicked into place when she was born. There’s no other way to explain it, but I felt the same way and the same amount of love I felt when I first saw Rui. That amazement over something so small and so pure. And that undeniable feeling in your heart that you’d do anything for this little person. Truly, a parent’s love does not diminish. It multiplies and it is endless — encompassing her kids no matter how old or how many they might be.
Needless to say, I now belong to the parents club that lives by the adage of “I love you all equally.” But the good thing is, Rui has not asked me who my favorite is yet. But she did ask me, “Do you love me and Maya, mommy?” And I answered: “I love you both so much.” So perhaps, we’re on the right track.
*Originally published in MomCenter