Tuesday, December 01, 2009

So in Love

I am going to be honest here. Really, really honest. I am totally in love with my newborn and I feel really bad about it.

Silly? Yes.

Unnecessary? Yes.

Unexpected? No.

I am a worrier. When we brought Madeline home from the hospital my anxiety kicked into high gear. Would I be able to care for a baby? Was she getting enough to eat? Why wasn't she sleeping? Why is she sleeping so much? Was she crying because she knows I am an inadequate mother? What if she doesn't like my hair cut, or the wall color, or my sense of fashion and all of that makes her break out in a rash?!?!?

So in those first few months how did I deal with my stress? I cried. A LOT. I remember the day Kevin went back to work after Madeline was born. We had been home together for a full week and I was terrified to be alone. Ok, not alone alone, but home with a baby by myself. What if she was crying and I couldn't calm her? What if the doorbell rang and I was still in my pajamas? What if a bird got trapped in the chimney and I accidentally let it into the house and it pecked my eyes out? (Do you see how crazy I am? I told you I was going to be honest.) What if....... So I cried. Every time Kevin called to check in on us I was crying. I couldn't even tell him WHY I was crying. (There never were knocks at the door, or birds pecking my eyes out.) I just chalked it up to my anxiety and hormones.

Eventually, (meaning many MANY weeks later.) the crying stopped. We survived those early days and because of that I am a much better mother than I was two and a half years ago. I've had practice and Madeline has taught me so much about what being a mother is really all about. She is STILL teaching me so much about myself and about what kind of mother I am and what kind of a mother I want to be.

After Lydia was born I still cried. Normal crying. I cried the first time I saw my girls together. I cried holding Lydia in my arms because she was real and beautiful and ours. I cried thinking about what our future holds, both good and bad. I cried. A lot less. When Kevin went back to work, after only 4 days at home with us, I missed him terribly, but I wasn't in tears every time he called. Now just six weeks after bringing Lydia home I can't remember the last time I cried. It has been at least three weeks. At least.

And man do I feel guilty.

Because I am so less anxious I am enjoying Lydia more. I am gazing into her eyes as she nurses, smelling her head, and drinking in all of her little noises and squeaks. (Don't you love how babies squeak?) I am simply enjoying having a newborn.


I enjoyed Madeline as an infant, but I enjoyed it through tears. I was stressed out and dramatic and tired and wet. I feel guilty because I don't remember loving Madeline this much. All that other stuff got in the way of the real deep emotions I had for my daughter. My love was cloudy. Of course I loved and still love her. After the initial shock of new mother hood I felt that deep love for her fully. I guess I just feel guilty because although Madeline made me a mother for the first time, Lydia has made me a better mother.

I don't love her more, I just love her differently right now. I am not clouded by tears and anxiety.

So I feel guilty. Mainly because I worry about what all that anxiety did to Madeline as a baby. Is Lydia going to get a better mother than Madeline did, just because I have made all my mistakes with the first one? Any moms out there want to share their incite? It may help to ease my guilt. That is until they are teens and I blame myself for EVERYTHING that goes wrong in their lives. But at least I won't be alone in that. I am sure they will blame me too.



Molly said...

You crack me up.

And I blame myself. But that's ok. The nice thing is I'm down the road a bit, the road you're traveling now. I can gain a different perspective on things, and from where I stand now, I can see what an amazing person you are (and your brother, too). Is it Ok if I blame myself for the good stuff, too? (that's a rhetorical question - of course I can take some credit for that!)

gigit said...

AS the mother of two beautiful girls who are now 18 and 15 let me say I still love them differently. First and foremost this is because they are two very different people.They are both my daughters and our loved equally in that respect. However each one is loved differently just as they love me differently.
Jessica is her mother. We have a lot of the same personality traits. This causes me to know her well and her I but also causes conflict as we both fight for control. I love her. I love her for all that she is, all that she has become which is more than I became and for being herself. Bethany is the ying to my yang. She points out my faults in ways that make me laugh. Our personalities mesh. I love her. I love her for being different, for showing me my faults and for being herself.
I love my girls more than anything on this earth. They make me what I am in different ways. They have both taught me to be a better mother in different ways.
So being a different mother or loving them differently is normal. Yes they are both your daughters but they are very different people and deserved to be loved in a way that is right for them.

Chris Tea said...

In the end, love always wins. We can't be perfect, but we love our children. They will always know they are loved.

Julie Schuler said...

What a sweet, neurotic lady you are! Forget all that- just think of how when they are grown up, you can make them feel guilty for neglecting you! Ah, sweet reward for all those sleepless nights.

notawritersfather said...

The two girls will be loved by all the same people, yet will turn out differently. Some of that is on us, most of it is on the experiences each has, separately. So... we can only control their experiences with us.
I am in awe of the way you are raising Madeline. I suspect she will help raise Lydia, and train her in the many ways of being your daughter, both bad and good. It is, from my perspective, mostly good, and in the distant future, we will all only remember the good, and blame ourselves for the bad (Who else?).
You are doing an amazing job. No guilt needed. Now... call your mother once in a while (LOL)