M became a big sister today. Her little brother, “Hermanito”, was born yesterday, and Cindy posted pics of him on her facebook which I saw this morning. I don’t know for sure his name, and she didn’t say his weight, but he looks healthy. She hasn’t been responding to my texts or messages, but I understand that this is not an easy time for her. I just try to let her know I’m thinking of her, then back off.
I don’t know why, but for some reason I am filled with sadness. Not because he isn’t mine (god knows having just one is enough work at times to drive out any thoughts of another one, and also, I hope she can keep this one, for her sake), but because my daughter has a baby brother now, and she won’t get to hold him, have photos taken with him, or be a “big sister” like all of her other toddler friends with baby siblings are. This loss, which I am totally projecting onto her because she has no idea right now, has suddenly brought up a sort of fury in me for all of the other loss my daughter will no doubt someday feel. Loss of a relationship with all five of her siblings, loss of a relationship with her first mom, all of the hurt she will someday feel that Cindy didn’t visit her, didn’t write to her, didn’t send her a birthday present. The fact that she now points out “daddies” and I don’t have a photo, a name, or anything at all to tell her about her own biological father.
Or maybe she won’t feel that way. Maybe that’s how I’m feeling right now, because my daughter is beautiful and wonderful and deserving of everything good in the world. I see this baby and think of the relationships M will never have with her biological family members. I see loss, I see pain, I see sadness for my little girl once she’s old enough to realize. I long to give her what I never can… a link. Something to show her she mattered. I want her being a big sister to matter, because it should. It should be a big deal, a happy big deal, and instead it’s not.
I haven’t really felt huge resentments or anger at Cindy, not for a while now. Mostly I’ve felt compassion, love, and a sincere desire to be a sort of friend. I’ve wanted to keep in touch, to talk, to call on important days, to visit even. On an intellectual level, I know that I shouldn’t expect anything, nor does she owe me anything, and she doesn’t ignore us or not get back to us because she doesn’t care. I know that her life is full of so many obstacles, every minute of every day. But my heart… my heart feels angry and sad today. I want this very, very important person in my daughter’s life to reciprocate something. I want her to show up for M in some small way. It’s irrational, it’s “better this way” (as so many people say), but there it is. She doesn’t owe me anything, in fact, she gave me the world and it’s I who owe her. But she does owe M something. I don’t know what, exactly, or how much, but M will someday have every right to feel that this is so.
I want M to have a baby brother. But not like this: another piece of her family, no doubt to become another loss to her (grown-up) heart.
4 thoughts on “a baby brother”
I’d like to say I understand what you’re going for, and offer some tried-and-true advice for coping with the painful emotions of today and what you picture for tomorrow. But I can’t. I can only imagine. I can only say that I know from my own ups and downs that life has a way of working itself out for the best. All your daughter needs is you; your strength and your love. Everything else will work out in the end in the happiest of ways. 🙂 As for the here and the now, like you said, she doesn’t know what she’s missing. Be happy for her. You don’t need perfect “baby and big sis” pics to celebrate such a big life event. Hang in there! Very best, ~J
Good point! Instead of thinking of what she’s missing out on, I should focus on what she has, which is a family full of love and a mom who would do anything for her. I will continue to try to keep connections open if I can, with who I can.
I understand your sadness over this. Does it look like Cindy will be keeping Hermanito? I guess that information is impossible to glean from Facebook photos. I do hope he is surrounded by love, whoever raises him.
Who knows – perhaps some day M and H will have a friendship and connect later in life. We can hope. For now, M has you and the rest of your family, and that is all she needs. ❤
Feeling conflicted is completely normal. You have great compassion, which allows you to empathize with Cindy. You have a deep love for M, which has you mourning the losses she has suffered. Both are good and valid feelings.