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Postpartum blather of a scattered mind

Although she is my second child, the parenting experience is completely different this time around. Diametrically opposite.

I keep waiting for one of us to spend the day crying, but so far we mostly do a lot of this:

what I've been doing a lot of

I feel good. Apparently it makes a difference to my physical and mental health if I don't haemorrhage after giving birth, and when friends and family don't off themselves in those delicate post-partum weeks. Matei slept in one-hour chunks in between two hour slots of feeding/incosolable howling that felt like a punishment. Helena feeds far longer and then conks out for multiple-hours that allow for the crucial restoration of my physical and mental self.

Also, she is apparently capable of being awake without hating life, which feels like a miracle. I keep holding my breath in case it all changes and she becomes possessed by demons tomorrow, but so far it's been a wonderful first week.

It's an incredible revelation for me to be enjoying this stage of parenthood. I'd been gearing up for another round of the grit-your-teeth-and-get-through-it sleep deprivation and colic. Downloading endless things to watch as consolation in those times when my eyes and brains feel like they've been scoured with wire wool. So far, I haven't watched a single thing. (Although I have devoted hours of my time to kissing and cuddling my sweet-smelling baby, and playing Barbies by dressing her up in different little outfits.)

featuring father-daughter time. Also mother's obsession with outfits

On the other hand, I have felt intensely sad, thinking of my son. I feel such a sense of loss when I consider his time in my care. I loved him, yes, but I didn't like him. I didn't enjoy being around him. I dreaded whenever he would wake knowing my life would be spent trying to quieten his wailing and counting the minutes until Z came home from work. He turned out all right, better than all right, but if I'm honest that's far more to do with the attention and care that other people invested in him because he wanted and needed far more than I could give.

I didn't realise how depressed I was the first time around, until now. When I can compare what was with how differently this feels.

I am not, incidentally, expecting things to stay peaceful. (After all my daughter is a Leo, with Aries rising. She will be a firecracker in her own right one day, but she's obviously choosing to prepare wisely for that time by conserving her energies and sleeping a lot now).

I am sad that I never got to experiece this uncomplicated baby-bonding with Matei, but I do not regret the difficulties in our relationship. Our jagged start and remnants of awkwardness. It has taught me much about adversity and resilience and love. It has also put to rest any notions I might have had In The Life Before that quiet, angel children were the result of wonderful parenting rather than a matter of luck and innate personalities. And most of all I'm glad because of everything that it has taught me about the tenacious nature of love.

I do not take him for granted. Or her. I treasure each good moment. I store them up.

more baby legs

My son loves me, I know this now. As a baby he could only rage and howl. As a two-and-three quarters year old, in a country far away he finds a photograph of me and cradles it tenderly and spends the day driving it around on his motorcycle. "I'm taking Mummy for a ride!" he informs my own mother.

And I struggle to find a language for how that feels, for that simultaneous lift of tenderness and sadness. Redemption perhaps. Or forgiveness.

Thank you so so so much for all your lovely comments and congratulations. They were all very appreciated and I'm sorry for not responding to them all individually (though I have been loving you all in my head). Adoring and feeding small people keeps taking up a lot of my time.

looking

xxx

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Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
mzdt
Aug. 13th, 2010 11:16 am (UTC)
That last picture sums it all up, the joy of children; both you and other friends, who had a baby yesterday, are much on my mind.

Also, vaguely related, this is lovely - http://blogshank.com/
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:18 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Miss you, would love to see you. Baby is well behaved and I am mobile, so possibilities are endless.
actually_not
Aug. 13th, 2010 11:23 am (UTC)
It's so lovely to read about things going well this time and great to see you briefly the other day. Let me know if/when your time is easy and free enough to permit a (brief) visitor. Would be good to catch up properly. xx
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:18 am (UTC)
I would love to see you, seriously. Whenever you feel up to it.
actually_not
Sep. 8th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)
I would love to see you too. Any day next week any good?
sleeperesque
Aug. 13th, 2010 11:29 am (UTC)
She's so adorable x

And thank goodness for your honesty through your parenting adventures. No one hardly speaks such truths, which is a real shame because women need to learn not to let the guilty feelings overpower them for the feelings and thoughts they have after having a child.
kitschycookids
Aug. 13th, 2010 12:30 pm (UTC)
Seconded. I would have wept with gratitude at seeing this post during the trials I went through with my older child. Beautifully written, truthful words.

And speaking of beautiful, she's lovely.
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:20 am (UTC)
I would have wept with gratitude also to know other people whose chidlren were not perfectly contented little bundles. For a while there, baby groups were so demoralising.
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:19 am (UTC)
Thank you.

And thank goodness for your honesty through your parenting adventures. No one hardly speaks such truths, which is a real shame because women need to learn not to let the guilty feelings overpower them for the feelings and thoughts they have after having a child.

It's always nice to hear this instead of "Disgraceful mother!"
mockduck
Aug. 13th, 2010 11:30 am (UTC)
She is so beautiful.
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:20 am (UTC)
Thank you. I am very fond of her. :)
chiller
Aug. 13th, 2010 11:32 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you're having an easier time of it this time around! Helena is an absolute beauty, but you know that. Can't wait to see her and Matei together. xx
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:20 am (UTC)
And I can't wait to see you!
trinity_gal
Aug. 13th, 2010 11:34 am (UTC)
Yay and sooo happy you get to enjoy bliss of newborn.
Your son is also gorgeous delight, you both got there too. It takes village to soothe high needs baby. You're good mum!

[restraining big urge here to force myself on your doorstep]
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:21 am (UTC)
It takes village to soothe high needs baby. You're good mum!


This is so true, but guilt is sneaky and good at hiding in the background.

Also, no restraining necessary! I would love to see you and T. Although I am also mobile again and happy to visit you, or meet in the Outer World.
xxx
trinity_gal
Aug. 28th, 2010 10:15 am (UTC)
Nice to hear your hips are feeling better. Give me a shout, drop in and let me make you big carb-filled meal or let me drop in any time - Fri is ok I think)) Good grief, no more appointment making please!
miss_newham
Aug. 13th, 2010 11:51 am (UTC)
Oh, she is lovely.
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:22 am (UTC)
She really is. I highly reccomend her.
todayiamadaisy
Aug. 13th, 2010 12:03 pm (UTC)
She's lovely! So serene in that last photo.
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:22 am (UTC)
She is quite chilled out actually, still. It's taking me a while to get used to it.
jadedlibertine
Aug. 13th, 2010 12:08 pm (UTC)
She absolutely beautiful. Congratulations again to you and Z. I'm so glad you are happier this time round, you deserve to be. I hope her sleeping and peaceful baby-ness continues for some time yet :)
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:23 am (UTC)
Thank you, me too.
It's really nice to be able to actually enjoy being a mum to a baby, rather than thinking it is something you just put up with and get through without hospitalising anybody.
smallblakflower
Aug. 13th, 2010 01:01 pm (UTC)
I had things to say and then I saw that last photo and I jsut went 'daaawwwwwww!!!!'

And then my mind went blank, which is a pretty unusual reaction for me and babies, so she must be pretty special.
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:23 am (UTC)
I've been finding my mind has been going blank very often the last month. Perhaps it is contagious.

xxx
pondbluebird
Aug. 13th, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC)
she is gorgeous.
mine is sleeping on my lap right now as i peck at the keys.
xoxo
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:24 am (UTC)
Awwwww!
Sleeping lap babies!
knottyyarnyarn
Aug. 13th, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
You have the most beautiful family.

And know that it's okay that you are bonding differently with both of them. That you're doing it/have done it is enough.
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:26 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)

I think the difference is that she has fulfilled all my baby dreams of what it is like to have a baby, while Matei fulfilled all the dreams I didn't even know I had.

I miss you.

xxx
dubaiyan
Aug. 13th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
I like this kid
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:27 am (UTC)
She is an awesome kid. She even carries off being dressed in her brother's hand me downs.
mammadibiba
Aug. 15th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
That first picture of the two of you is just beautiful.

rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:28 am (UTC)
Thank you. :) It's nice having a kid I can snuggle with, I have to say.
suzylou
Aug. 17th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
Good lord, here's me on a random LJ catchup and there's you having more babies. Congratulations - and I am pleased to hear you are having a better time of it! Hope Matei is delighted with his new sister!!
rainsinger
Aug. 26th, 2010 09:28 am (UTC)
Hehehe, I'm sneaky with those babies.
Thank you.
And now your adorable daughter updates please.

xx
victoriacantons
Aug. 26th, 2010 10:00 am (UTC)
I was just reading this post to Emma and she commented:

"Forgive yourself every evening."

This statement has been of enormous help to her regarding parenthood and its something that she has said to me as well as I have become a step-parent to her kids.

Beautiful photos BTW :-) and a very rare sighting of Z!

Lots of love xxx
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )

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