I am actually cherishing all the little things.
Putting my face right up to hers and smelling her sweet milk breathe. (I literally put my nose right in front of her mouth) Feeling the full, softness of her cheeks against my lips when I kiss them over and over. How her entire body nestles right into the cradle of my arm. The weight and warmth of her tiny body resting on my chest. Washing off the lint that collects in her neck folds. Watching her eyelashes grow longer each day. Noticing the shade of brown her hair is in the sunlight.(it’s lighter than her sister’s) Feeling her strong grip around my finger. How she rolls her eyes right before she passes out in her milk coma. The adorable blister on her upper lip from nursing. The way she curls up the corner of her mouth to give me the sweetest smile. All her coos, squeaks, grunts, and even her cries. I LOVE THEM ALL.
It almost broke my heart to see a picture of her wrinkly fingers and toes right after she was born, knowing that they are filled out more and are no longer wrinkly. I almost didn’t want to bathe her for awhile because I didn’t want to wash off that “newborn” scent. Which, is a mixture of sour milk and well…“body.” Not really the most pleasant smell. But I couldn’t inhale it enough. In just 4 short weeks her cheeks have really filled out, and her head looks giant to me compared to when she was just born. Makes me feel proud, but bittersweet at the same time.
I am so in love it almost hurts.
Every day, I have a moment where I think to myself “This is what I missed out on!” It’s a gratifying and tender feeling, yet makes me grieve and feel guilty at times. I missed out on this bond with Ellie when she was born. It is what it is, but the undeniable bond I am feeling with Chloe right now makes me mourn what I didn’t have with Ellie. I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey with her. It’s what taught me so much about myself as a woman, a mother, and a wife. It is essentially what bonds me and her today. And without my journey with Ellie, I may have not been able to appreciate my connection with Chloe as much.
I spoke to my midwife about how I am feeling guilty over this over flowing love for Chloe and how I feel protective of Ellie. Would Ellie feel left out? Would she feel jealous towards Chloe? Should I monitor how much I love on Chloe in front of her? Especially considering how much she was acting out those last few weeks before I gave birth. My midwife then empathized with me and said something that truly resonated in my heart.
Love does not divide, it multiplies.
I was really touched by these words. I guess I was afraid that Ellie would feel resentful of me. “Why are you loving on Chloe so much?” But to my surprise, she’s never been more affectionate. And I know it’s because she sees how I’m loving on Chloe. She’s not jealous of Chloe, she’s just loving on me and her sister! I think to myself. Ellie sees my heart smile when she loves on her sister and showers her with kisses and squeals in excitement when she sees her. Â Ellie has thrown herself at me with her giant bear hugs and tells me “Daaaaaaisuki!”(“I love youuuuu!” in Japanese) out of the blue. When she walks into our room in the morning and sees me lying with Chloe by my side, she climbs up into our bed and snuggles herself into my other arm. She calls for me when her sister starts crying for “oppai.”(“boob”) She wants to hold Chloe’s hand while I change her diaper. She wants to help take care of her sister. She swaddles her dolls, helps them burp and kisses them. I even caught her trying to pull her shirt down so she could nurse Chloe who was gnawing on her arm.
Love does not divide, it multiplies.
This journey has been incredibly gratifying and healing. I am mourning with the version of myself at Ellie’s birth who struggled so hard to connect with a tiny stranger but didn’t know how. This time it’s been utterly effortless and completely instinctual. I now know it’s not a myth. It’s not a cliche. I know that it’s real, and I’m experiencing it right now. I want to allow myself to mourn so I can let go and heal. I want to mourn so I can fully appreciate the joy and incredible bond I am feeling with this new tiny stranger. I want to fully celebrate.
I am so grateful. Every journey has it’s own unique story; Ellie has her’s, and I am only at the beginning with Chloe’s. And while I’m learning what this journey has to offer, I’m holding my big girl closer to me and my little girl even closer to cherish this very special time.