Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Dear Eli: I'm scared



Dear Eli,

I'm scared. Your sibling is on there way. We are 7 months through this process and, while you've started crawling all over the place, giving kisses on command, or quietly snoring in your crib at night, I am slowly freaking out about this second birth. I'm not far enough out from having you that I've forgotten what labour and delivery is like, and although it was a positive experience for me, I just don't think I want to do it again quite yet. No matter how I prepare for this, there is a part of me that is absolutely dreading the labour and delivery part of welcoming your beautiful sibling into this world. I know I get a baby at the end and 'isn't that a blessing'?!!! 'It'll make the whole labour and delivery worth it!' That might all be true if I entirely enjoyed you as a newborn. However, after getting over the euphoric elation and absolute instant love I had upon meeting you, I quickly found out that newborns aren't for me.

'Pain with a purpose'..... to torture ourselves with fragmented sleep for as long as you (the new little one) deems fit. To desperately want to care and love you the way that we perceive a 'good' mother should, but then be met with a hormone dump post-labour that leaves us barely able to care for ourselves. To never have mental silence again as the narrative of Eli and new baby exists in our brain during all conscious hours of our day.

Eli, we love you harder then we've loved anything or anyone ever.

But to say labour, delivery, newborns, and growing your family is hard, an adjustment, or an 'experience' is a huge understatement. And I would be lying through my teeth if I didn't admit that, although I am very excited to grow our family and our love, I am terrified of what the first 3 months of this sweetheart's little life will bring.

I'm scared. No one tells you that you may lose yourself (your personal identity) for a little while when you become a mother. I've been lucky in that you have allowed me endless ability to continue to do the things and be the person that make me who I am while still being your mother. That I have been able to cook or bake anything I want, sew or craft anything I want, clean and shower any time I want, continue with yoga, or get out with friends almost any time I want. These are all incredible gifts that you have given me. I worry though that, once past the potential difficulties that the first 3 months will likely bring, I will lose myself to motherhood in having two babies (15 months apart). I've told myself again and again that if this happens (if I lose myself) it will all be okay. There is light in motherhood, a joy that only comes when your baby looks up at you, right in your eyes, and smiles as if you are the only person in their world and they haven't seen you for months. I've told myself to lean in to that, to lean in to you and fully immerse myself in being your mother.


This is how I'm getting through these fears my dear Eli. Not by worrying about who I will be on the other side and if I will wear more hats than just 'mother' and 'wife'. But by expecting that some other hats may need to go on a shelf for a little while I settle into this still relatively new role as your mother. I remind myself that I'm still getting used to the little voice inside my head that asks me constantly 'what about Eli?', 'where is Eli?', 'what is Eli doing?' 'Eli Eli Eli'. I remind myself that getting that voice was an adjustment and hopefully not such a surprise when the new baby gets added to that voice. I remind myself that it is okay to be busy with you and your sibling and less busy sewing or crafting. I remind myself that I don't have to set deadlines on my time and that I can get things done while you and your sibling are awake as long as I'm willing to get crafty about it and change my timeframe.

And now I've just changed and grown my identity in having you and your sibling rather then feeling as though I've lost parts of it. Now it feels as though a whole huge space has opened up in my heart and I'm imagining the possibilities of motherhood. I also remember all I've become because you came into my life, and imagine how this will compound with a new addition to our family. I feel my strength, my hope, my love, and my capabilities grow exponentially every day that I look at you or feel your tiny baby sister/brother roll over in their sleep. I know that for all that I feel I may temporarily 'lose' in my identity, I will gain much much more.

And I am happy. Not so scared.

'Pain with a purpose'... to grow as a human, a mother, as a heart that gets shared with you two. To give and receive love that exists nowhere else in my world except with you. To look at my daily achievements as a mother, starting with labour and delivery, and realizing just how strong and good I am.

- Katie
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