The dress I wore comfortably two weeks ago is feeling tight now, which is a good sign that you’re thriving and growing. Â I find myself touching my belly a lot these days, and I think your sister is starting to notice mama’s growing belly. Â She lifted both of our shirts up and started rubbing our bellies together. Â I laughed so hard, I’m sure you felt mama jiggle. Â WhenÂ I sit down or lean forward, that’s when I feel your presence the most because I feel like I’m starting to squish you. Â When I’m playing with your sister or cuddling with her, I almost feel like you’re there with us too. Â My heart feels closest to you and your sister in those moments, and I can’t wait for the three of us girls to have fun together.
Between the postpartum hormones, sleep deprivation, anxiety of having a newborn, and the gloomy Michigan winter weather, the first few months after welcoming Ellie were rough. Â Actually, more like the first year. Â By no means was Ellie a “difficult” baby. Â She wasn’t colicky, she was very healthy, and no, she did not sleep longer than 3-4 hour stretches at a time during the night, but for the most part, as long as she was fed, burped, had a clean diaper on and was comfortable, she didn’t give Matt and I any problems.
I was the one who had a hard time adjusting to the changes. Â I’m the type of person who is very protective of my space and my routines. Â I’m not one who needs to occupy myself with something at all times, and I enjoy being alone.(did I mention I’m an only child?) Â So to have all of that “disrupted” by a baby, I felt out of control and anxious all the time. Â I felt disconnected from Ellie for a long time, and felt angry and guilty about it too. Â I envied the new moms who seamlessly and effortlessly transitioned into motherhood and would ooh and ahh over every moment and savor it. Â I believe it can happen…it just didn’t happen to me.
Our pregnancy with Ellie was planned, and we wanted to start a family. Â So it was a big surprise to me when the baby I wanted was making me feel angry, scared, trapped, utterly alone, and disconnected. Â I was actually one of the rare women who were excited to go back to work. Â Liberated, actually. Â On my first day back to work so many women came up to me to offer their sympathy and share their stories of how tough it was for them on their first day back to work. Â And I would say, “Actually, I’m really happy to be here!” Â Because it meant my day would restore some schedule and predictability.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it would be like those first few months with a newborn when Bunnee arrives. Â This will be our second time dealing with a newborn, and unlike the first time, both Matt and I will be home.(in addition to my mom who will be flying in for a month) Â But we will also have an active toddler. Â And you know what? Â I’m actually looking forward to it. Â If it’s at all possible to have a do over, I feel like this would be my opportunity to actually embrace those first few months.Â Â Accepting the chaos, the fear and anxiety, the sleeplessness, butÂ also getting to know this brand new little stranger and going through the process of falling in love again. Â I am going to allow myself to feel whatever it is that I feel, let go, and accept it for what it is.
For a very long time after I had Ellie, I felt like I loved her, but wasn’t in love with her. Â I think I was fighting the idea of my new roll. Â I don’t know what to expect with Bunnee’s arrival, and I don’t know how I’m going to feel. Â Hopefully that gigantic Oxytocin rush after birth, but anything can happen. Â I just have to trust my body and let my heart do it’s thing.
Despite of my “rough” beginnings with Ellie, I find myself loving on her more and more these days. Â I miss her when I’m away, I want to hold and kiss her when I’m with her, and I just stare at her in awe watching her become her own person each day. Â I’ve heard that when women are pregnant with their second child, they go through nostalgia with their first born, and try to cherish those last moments with their “only child.” Â Maybe that’s what it is, I don’t know. Â The funny thing is, Ellie is very independent and although affectionate, she is NOT a cuddler. Â Usually Matt and I have to bribe her with food to give us a hug, or a kiss. Â So here I am, the mother who was disconnected from her baby for a long time, feeling emotional and vulnerable, wanting to coddle that baby of her’s. Â I don’t mind it when she begs me at night to stay with her and hold her hand until she falls asleep. Â I don’t cringe when she’s screaming “MOMMEEEEE!” while I’m talking to Matt.(or anyone, for that matter) Â I adore it when she comes into our bed early morning on the weekends and kicks me in the ribs, plays Twister on top of my body, plays with my face and squirms around. Â I’ll take any opportunity to savor the little hugs and kisses she gives me, let the bursting happy energy she exudes seep into my pores, and permanently burn that image in my head of her smiling face that is a perfect blend of mine and Matt’s.