As usual I’m most able to write when Tristan is asleep, and right now I have the joy of having him curled up next to me with his brow furrowed slightly and his little hands clasping his toy cat to his cheek. I stay with him after he drifts off, even now he’s two years old and perfectly capable of sleeping alone, and I do it because I won’t always be able to. Soon there’ll be another little person in need of my attention, and more laundry to wash and more mess to tidy up. These quiet moments could all but disappear in 9 weeks and I know that I’ll miss them, and if the ache in my chest right now is anything to go by it may hurt a little bit too.
I worry about what this new arrival will take away from T, my darling boy whose existence was all I ever wanted from the moment I knew what babies were. Whose name was chosen two years before his birth. Whose short life has been the greatest gift and steepest challenge of mine. We have created a shared bubble, a space only he and I occupy together. I know a version of him no one else ever sees, not even his Daddy. From those early days of PND, to my slow healing, to our time spent now talking and cuddling and playing – he has been my constant companion, the person I share my heart with. And soon we’ll both have to open our bubble to someone else, or at least share the time we spend in it.
He will have less one-on-one time with me, that’s an undeniable fact. But I try to remind myself that while he will lose one thing he will be gaining another – the companionship and social interaction a sibling will bring. He will learn about love, he’ll probably learn about jealousy and frustration, about sharing, about anger, about friendship. Those are gifts having a sibling gave to me when I was very young and I know without them I would have grown into a very different person.
At 25 months Tristan still isn’t very verbal. He doesn’t speak in sentences yet and most of what he says are one or two syllable nouns so it’s hard to gauge what he understands. I’ve explained to him that there’s a baby inside Mummy’s tummy and he gently pats my bump (or my boobs, which is fair given their recent expansion). He is sweet and sensitive, stroking my arm if he sees me sigh or rub my eyes, instinctively knowing if I need some peace and quiet, but I don’t think he comprehends the tidal wave of change that’s coming. How can he when I can barely grasp it myself?
There’s a chance that with the birth of this baby old wounds will be healed, and I’ve held on to that possibility through the doubt that’s regularly swept over me. The only thing that truly scares me now is how my relationship with my son will change, so I am treasuring each moment. We aren’t going out much because SPD makes it hard for me to walk for long, but instead that gives us lots of quiet moments – warm hugs on the sofa, puzzles and stories with him sat contentedly on my lap, watching Frozen together while he sings along to all the songs and flamboyantly pretends to be Queen Elsa building her ice palace. I’m drinking in every second with him and in doing so I’m finding our relationship is closer than ever and I want April to arrive slowly so I can have as much of this precious time as possible. I desperately want to meet this new little one, of course I do, but I know there won’t be enough of this time just me and my tiny sidekick, no matter how much we do together or how long this pregnancy lasts. It’ll never be enough.
And on that note I’m going to put my laptop away and lie next to my boy and fall asleep to the sound of his breath and the smell of his curly, sweaty, sleepy head. Because right now it’s just him and me, and this time is all ours. 🙂