I was 8-month post-chemo when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I was shocked and in disbelief. I thought being a mommy just wasn’t in the cards for me. After all, I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, at the age of 26, the previous year. Low and behold, I held a positive pregnancy test in my hand. I held a new hope in my hand. I held a new life in my hand. We welcomed my sweet perfect Emily Joyce August 27, 2013. She. Was. Perfect. “There is no greater love than that of your child.” It’s true. There isn’t. Not your mom, not your husband, and not your dog. The thing about the love for your child is… there’s honestly nothing to compare it to. You can’t explain it because you’ve never understood that level of a connection until you hold your baby in your arms.
Emily was the light of my life. To this day, I’m certain she saved my life. She restarted my body and gave me new reasons to live. We were inseparable. Being the mom of a girl made life fun! She went everywhere with me (even to meetings for work). We were best friends! I expected that to be our forever.
Then, a week after my 30th birthday and one week before Emily turned two, I held ANOTHER positive pregnancy test in my hand. I still feel guilty for actually feeling disappointed. I’m just being honest. My husband and I never discussed more kids or planned them. Shoot, we hadn’t even planned our wedding by then. Birth control was tricky because of my breast cancer history. So I was, in fact, pregnant.
A few weeks later, my mom and I took Emily to Disney World for the first time. I can clearly remember sitting on a transportation bus, heading to the Magic Kingdom, and seeing the family across from me: Mommy, Daddy, and each held a tiny hand in their lap as they headed to the park. I suddenly realized that would be my family. We would be a family of FOUR! A hand for Mommy. A hand for Daddy. My heart filled with excitement. That trip was one of the best trips of my life. I came home ready and overjoyed about welcoming our new little one into our lives.
I know it’s hard to believe you’ll love another the way you love your firstborn, but you will. In fact, you’ll forget you ever thought loving two was so impossible. I know I did. A few months before we had baby #2, while Emily was still an only child, I decided to write her a letter. I wanted her to know exactly how I felt at that moment in time when it was still just her and I. I’m so glad I did. I wish I could have told all of my mom friends to do that because you’ll never get those moments back. The moments you only had one to give your attention to. The moments you only had one to listen to. The moments you only had one to watch. The moments you only had one to kiss. The moments you only had one to love. And the moments you only had one that loved you. I put my letter in an envelope and framed it with several pictures of just me and Emily. I hid it and plan to give it to her when she’s old enough to understand how special our time was. This is what I wrote to her:
“To my only child, before you are no longer my only child.
You made me a mommy.
You made me strong. You made me believe in a love I never knew existed. You introduced me to a world I never thought possible. You taught me patience. (You also have tested my patience). You taught me how to cry about happiness. You’ve introduced me to new possibilities. You are my hope, my passion, my work of art, my pride, my joy, my air, my heart, my life. Without you, I would be lost. You had me, all of me, from the moment you took your first breath. Now, it’s time to share me. It won’t be easy at times. You’ll feel forgotten, betrayed, left out, and sometimes 2nd best. I’m assuring you now, ahead of time (way ahead of time), that will never be the case. Ever. You aren’t losing me; we’re gaining someone else. At times, you may feel like I expect more from you. I just expect you to lead by example-an example I hope you have learned from me first. Teach her as I have taught you. Love her as I have loved you. For over 2 years it has been me and you making countless memories. Memories I’ll remember more so than you. I wish you could because it was a precious time. A time only we’ll share. A time when you were an only child and I was only YOUR mommy. You will always be my firstborn. For that, I’m eternally grateful to you. That is what I want you to always remember.
I’ll never say I love you more than your sister, but I’ll always say I’ve loved you longer.
My daughter, my child, my only child- before you are no longer an only child. My Emily.
Love forever and always,
In April of 2016, we welcomed baby girl number two … we named her Talia. Her birth was perfect and easy. She was perfect and easy. Honestly, life just made more sense when she got here. My love for her grows every day just like it did for Emily. You somehow grow a new heart for each child. It’s insane for me to think I never thought the amount of love I have for her was a possibility! I have TWO beautiful girls! I’m the luckiest person in the world to be able to love two children. I’m even luckier to have two children love me! I will admit the bond I share with my children doesn’t compare to the bond they share. I was meant to have them just as they were meant to have each other. Love finds its way in the end, even when you don’t think it will.
Nicole is married, mommy of 2 (Emily – 6 Talia – 3). She’s a lifetime resident of Chalmette, with a brief 3 years in New Iberia following Hurricane Katrina. She is also an 8-year breast cancer survivor. She is Disney obsessed and was also a Disney Bride. She is trying to stay sane with juggling her busy life.