What happens when a family who wasn’t expecting to be expecting is suddenly expecting?

Truthfully, the reason I thought I didn’t want another child was because I didn’t feel I had enough love to go around.

It’s not that I’m not a loving person. In fact, I love with reckless abandon. It’s just that I love my daughter so much that I figured there was no way I could provide that level of love to another child.

My wife and I seemed to be in agreement on this theory. We were happy. We had comfort. We had our niche, our plan. We were the only child family. We were set — our little three-person unit kicking ass and taking names — and loving every minute of it.

But, then things happen. You’ve likely heard the story before …

Man loves woman.

Woman loves man.

(Booze, potentially).

Birds, bees, birds, more bees.

And, boom. You’re pregnant! Your plan goes to hell.

Everything has changed.

Everything is beautiful.

When I look back at that “theory,” it was the logical one. But, the heart couldn’t care less about logic. The heart reacts. And, when I found out I was going to have the amazing opportunity to be a father again, my heart reacted exactly as I expected it would.

The interesting thing about expecting a child while your first-born wraps up kindergarten is that the age gap — whether you consider it to be a positive or a negative — makes this our collective pregnancy. We’re experiencing it together.

My daughter is six. I like to say, “she’s six, going on 16.” It’s not far off. She’s definitely more mature than most big sisters. With that and for other obvious reasons, she’s as much a part of this pregnancy as I am.

She rubs moisturizer on Mom’s belly almost every night. She’s done a good job helping make sure Mom doesn’t lift too much weight. She was with us when we learned the baby’s gender and she’s an active member of the discussion when we toss out potential baby names. Heck, she even helped paint the baby’s room.

So, what happens when a family who wasn’t expecting to be expecting is suddenly expecting?

Love happens.

Suddenly, we all have new roles to play and those roles are already in action. Mom is nesting like she never nested before and simply owning this pregancy. It’s amazing to see her in action. Dad has an extra skip in his step and just trying to be the consistent presence everyone needs. Big sister, of course, is owning her role as friend, leader and protector.

It turns out that with this crew, there’s more than enough love to go around and we can’t wait to give it to baby girl No. 2.

Ben Larsen

Written by: Ben Larsen

Ben is one of the founders here at First Time Father Project. Follow Ben's trial-by-fire parenting here with columns, essays and more. Learn more about him here.

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