This Day

May 2, 2013

As I write this, Adlai is sleeping upstairs, and Koa is lying at my feet, cooing and shouting and occasionally puking or sounding like he’s going to need to be picked up soon, to be wound into the Moby wrap, to be burped and jostled and rocked.  But for now, my hands are free, and today is a good day.

The sun is out, which is a fairly new occurrence for England.  I’m sure we say it every year, but this was the longest winter ever.  It is May now, and it is 60 degrees today, and that feels tropical in relation to the weather last week, or the week before, when I was still making Adlai wear his thick coat and hat to the park…when we made it to the park.

This second baby – Koa David – I love him. But his arrival has nearly done me in.

For the past five weeks and four days, I have been tired a lot, and crying a lot, and wondering how in the world I’m ever going to make this work, what in the world I’ve gotten myself into.

I have missed Adlai.  Those who know me even a little bit know that for the past two-and-a-half years, Adlai and I have been the best of friends.  A week or two before Koa arrived, I dealt with the anxiety about all of that changing, and now I am dealing with the reality of it.  We are still the best of friends.  I hope we always will be.  But there is someone new here now, and he needs both of us, and we have to let go of the death grip we have on each other enough to let Koa in, to hold his hand too.

I think I’m finding this harder than Adlai is.  Every morning, when he wakes up, among “Where’s Mommy?” and “I just woke up,” and “Let’s go downstairs,” one of Adlai’s first sentences is, “Where’s the baby?”

And when people come round, Adlai proudly shows off his brother, and he always wants Koa to get in his bed at bedtime, wants to kiss him goodnight, wants to know when his baby will be big enough to go swimming with him.

The adjustment, for me, has been more severe.  I thought I was still in the baby zone.  I was not.  The lack of sleep has made me impatient. The lack of time I have for my own thoughts or my creative pursuits has made me feel stressed and lonely.  And the sharp drop in attention I am able to give Adlai at any given moment has riddled me with what I think is often called “Mommy Guilt,” although it’s a term I’ve always hated.

Again, I think I notice it more than Adlai does.  I watch him play and feel heartbroken that I have to say, “Not now” because I’m feeding Koa or trying to make dinner.  To be honest, he doesn’t seem to mind as much as I do, and I’m slowly realizing that it’s not going to kill him to wait, and he’s not going to hate me for what I’ve done – that is, giving him a brother.

Taking photos and writing here are the things I would do when Adlai was sleeping for two hours every afternoon, but so far, by the time he is asleep and Koa is fed, if he’s not crying and doesn’t require me to pace the house with him, I have only been able to stare at the TV, to check if anyone has texted me in the preceding hours of chaos.  And when those things are done, it seems more pressing that I make a dent in the growing mountain of laundry than pour my thoughts out here.

So that’s where I’ve been.  Figuring it all out.  Sometimes basking in my achievement that everyone is dry and fed and still has all their limbs; sometimes weeping myself through the afternoons.

I know it will get better, a bit easier, a bit closer to normal.  I know because I know moms who have two children and somehow make their lives work.  I know because I know moms who go on to have three or four or five, and who would do that if two did not get easier?

The sun is out today.  And I have written some words. And I have not cried.  And everyone is alive.

So today is a good day.

15 responses to “This Day”

  1. Sara says:

    i love your honest words and the sweet way you have of saying them. hang in there, mama! xo.

  2. Lizzie says:

    You are an amazing lady! The time will fly by and soon you will be happily living family life, looking back saying ‘how the hell did I do that?!’ It is always pretty painful adjusting to a new normal, I think. Especially when it mean even MORE unselfishness. Being unselfish sucks. But at the end of the day, babies are pretty cute, aren’t they?!

  3. Jason says:

    Me and my wife Samantha have just brought home our third baby boy! Husbands also have what I will call Daddy Guilt. Leaving the wife at home to deal with so many task to complete and having little time for herself. Then when you get home and are tired (though you better not say your tired) trying to figure out how to balance the time you have to spend with the rest of your children equally, helping your wife and spending some quality time together! Hang in there, You and Simon will get through this time and when everything gains balance again you may just find yourself ready for number three! Prayers going up from your cousin across the pond!

  4. Carly says:

    It definitely gets better! Jasper is 16 weeks, life is fun again, I feel normal, we got some patience back..! I’ve still not gathered my thoughts enough to write a blog post though so good job on writing something so beautiful!

  5. Brooke says:

    Oh Faith, I feel for you. I know exactly how you are feeling. Having our 2nd nearly did me in. I was a mess. I barely survived, but I DID. And you will too. I know not having your mom around sucks. I didn’t have mine either until Dec…so 3 and a half years and 3 kids without her. I pray that someone will take you under their wing and be the support, encouragement and shoulder that your mom would be if she were there. You are an awesome mom. I know you don’t feel like it, but you are. God chose YOU to be the mother of these 2 precious boys. He knew your struggles and tears and He is there.
    After Levi was born, we didn’t sleep. At all. Both my older kids were giving us a pain about sleeping, Jack would wake up and scream or be awake for hours during the night, and Levi was awake every 2 hours at least, to eat. It was pure misery. I started drinking coffee out of desperation, but God told me (this was not a message for others, but specifically for me), that I did not need to rely on something else to get me through this, but that He would be my strength. I needed to trust in Him. He had gotten me this far and would continue to. And He was right. He got me through. We are finally sleeping at night (as well as you sleep with 3 small kids) and you will one day too. You are not alone! Even when it feels it, you aren’t. God sees you. You are awesome and you are going to raise two incredible men.

  6. I always love your writing, Faith, and this is one of my favourites – it’s a beautiful and very honest post. I remember coming out of that very intense, very hazy time after my second baby was born and thinking that it was the hardest time ever – but then you are three, and it is wonderful again. I’m sure that Adlai will be your best friend for always; and you will have another best friend now too. Look, you have written an entire (and remarkable) blog post and everyone is STILL INTACT!
    Oh, and at some point it does get easier. Just not always as soon as you’d thought it might…

  7. Susan says:

    Your honesty is so inspiring. I’m still figuring out how to care for one child so I’m impressed with anyone who attempts more! I will be there one day. It sounds like you’re a excellent mom and your boys are fortunate to have you. I’m cheering for you!

  8. Susan says:

    *an excellent mom. Oh I couldn’t leave that glaring typo just hanging there in cyberspace.

  9. You managed to start and complete a piece of writing when you have a toddler and a newborn. You’re better at this than you think you are!!

    It will absolutely get easier. It will, it will, it will

  10. Rin says:

    Oh yes. I’m hearing you
    I like what you said about giving Adlai a brother. He’s all squishy and needy now but those two are one day going to be the best of friends

  11. Lisa says:

    Beautifully written! I have been exactly where you are. I loved my daughter so much that I thought there would never be room for anyone else. She will be 23 in a couple of weeks. Her little brother is 20. He’s the best gift I could have ever given her; she loves him so. You will get through these hard days. Soon you’ll be sitting back watching them play together and this will just be a blur!

  12. Brenda Nordin says:

    Beautiful heartfelt words! Those of us who are mothers have been where you are, we just lacked the gift you have to put it all in words! Sending prayers from your church family in Clinton. Hope you feel our love!
    Brenda Nordin

  13. barbdsykes says:

    Beautiful and open feelings/emotions. Stay encouraged and honest with what and how you feel. I only have one child who is now 22 years old and at times, i wish she was little again, so I can hold her and read books to her. The time goes by too quickly.

  14. Hannah says:

    Yes. Thank you for putting in words what i felt and what so many other moms must feel too! Hang in there 🙂

  15. 1. congratulations… I have not had much time to blog of late, but I remembered just now the last time I read G.S. you were about up to here (points above head) with people commenting on your preggo belly. He is beautiful and I’m glad your delivery was quick and easy (so you say!).

    2. I know it gets easier, for the same reasons you listed… and I know what you mean about mom guilt. I went back to work when Chloe was 4 months old. She is now 3 and change and we’re in the process of trying to have a second. I want my girl to have a sibling to grow up with, but I know this will come at a price. The price of my time and attention… which is already cut short because I work AND I have an hour commute. Each night I rush to daycare to pick her up so I can spend a little time with her. So I make a quick dinner, or heat up leftovers, and we cuddle on the couch and watch a Dora episode or 2. But too soon it is time for bath/books/bed. And too soon I am too tired to anything else myself, and I head to bed.

    I have a friend who just had her second in April and she’s going through all the same feelings. It’s also a very hormonal time for you. Try to be gentle with yourself. And if you haven’t read this yet, may I suggest you do!

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