Last Friday I welcomed my third baby (Holly Jane) into the world. She came a week early in a blizzard and I was convinced I was having a boy, but here she is: pink, plump, perfect. She is content and calm (so far) and about three days postpartum I whispered to my husband that this was definitely going to be our “thank God we had her” baby.
Even though, all things considered, Holly has been an easy addition to the house (few tears, decent sleeper, loves snuggles), I have still found myself torn in all directions. I stayed the bare minimum in the hospital so I could come back home to my toddlers. Sure, they had my husband and wonderful grandparents, yet I knew they needed me most. Lucy has been vying for my attention by coming up with inventive games she knows I’ll love. John has been snuggling up beside me giving me book after book (or rather the same two books over and over again) and demanding I put my arm around him as I read. When visitors come they become so possessive of me that it’s nearly impossible to hold a conversation. They want me more now than they did last week and I know it’s because there is now yet another thing pulling my attention away from them. I am desperate to give them what they need…
In my very minimal downtime this week I watched the new episode of This is Us. It should probably be part of doctor’s orders to give it a few weeks before you embark on that show, but I went for it anyways. This week the mother was confronted by her children. Amidst a seemingly idyllic childhood, they all three struggle to some degree in adulthood. One of her kids thinks it’s because he knew he was not the favorite – that his mother loved the others more. I cry every week anyways, but this week I had trouble stopping.
Now that I have three I see how just how much stronger the pull is. My oldest needs me in one way, whereas my middle child (my only son) needs me in much different ways. Now I have a baby who needs me for the most basic elements – food and nurturing. If I am surviving now, how do I change quick enough to love them and help them as they change?
This third time around has been a bit easier. I went into labor unfazed, I started breastfeeding with no anxiety, I am even sleeping sounder knowing that I have put the baby in the safest position possible (and that this is my third time doing it). Yet my long-term worries have multiplied. I need my kids to know that I love them all, the same (amount) and that all of them were wished and prayed for.
I guess I’ll start by telling them just that. (But I am open to advice and help).