The baby was about 4 days old when I began to fall apart. Since we’d been discharged from the hospital, everyone was on their best behavior, knowing how difficult this would be. We’d spent the better part of the year preparing for this, so when the afterglow began to wear off, I really began to feel it.
We’d been working the evenings in shifts, and the lack of sleep was beginning to make us feel crazy. Where I failed at breastfeeding with my first child, my second made up for it in spades. His hunger was insatiable as my production couldn’t keep up with demand. Although the doctors at the hospital were adamant about over-feeding with the supplemental formula, apparently the little one hadn’t gotten the news. Fortunately, he was a good sleeper and so after these heavy feeds, he’d lapse into a deep, happy slumber.
My older son was an absolute champ about most of the new adjustments. However, the one thing I couldn’t give enough of was attention. Breastfeeding took a good hour at a time, which would then be followed up by more formula and subsequent diaper changes. It wore my patience thin, as it definitely did for him as well. For him, it was a world of unfairness, as he’d been patiently waiting for his pregnant cranky mommy to have this baby and get back to her old self again. And, as much as I want that too, I know I am not there yet.
What he wants most, though, is the closeness we’d had before the physical and emotional toll of the pregnancy kept me at arms length. Tonight, as I laid next to him as he fought sleep, he wanted me to cuddle with him. I was happy to oblige him, but my heart broke, realizing the weight this new baby was putting on him too. I felt like such a failure because of how I’d let him down.
As I write this, I still don’t have an answer to how I’m going to make this work. I’m hoping to find more ways to show both children how much they mean to me, but honestly, I’m scared I’m not going to pull it off. The worst feeling in the world is to be mother to children who don’t think you love them enough.