To expose our bleakest times is so vulnerable. Yesterday I came across my private account of life when my second baby entered the family. I feel pulled to let you into my story.
I know that desperate feeling shadowing some days and periods in parenting.
I was torn apart navigating two infants, and further by the emotional suffering of my eldest child and the physical damage to the new baby.
The days were relentless. I had no idea how to handle my children, how to reach out to my eldest and how to sail through her storms.
It was only months and months later when I changed my reaction and reclaimed my mothering wisdom that the transformations began.
I invite you to share a glimpse of my experience as perhaps you are welcoming a sibling or going through a similar storm right now yet with older children. Either way, I know how hard looking after children is and I want you to know that it is never too late to reach back to the heart of your child.
When A Sibling Is Born
The early tantrums are the worst.
The meltdowns assert that no thing is right. The blind floppiness and tearful protests. The forever tiredness and the lost spirit. The screaming and the uncertainty. The slapping, hitting and the scratching of the newborn. The shakiness I am left with.
My heart is broken. Torn apart for my suffering toddler and my newborn victim. Days jar with the storm that powers each moment. Light enters through the smallest entrances. A peaceful swing ride, a stroke offering.
Inward withdrawal takes the strongest hold.
Six weeks in and the sleepiness accelerates and constipation results. Sickness appears and a fever erupts. Now this dear child has my complete attention. By day she wails for me, breaking sleep to summon me close. By night she sweats a tormented sleep.
It is plain to me that this physical ill has arrived out of her inward suffering.
The days and the weeks continue and being a parent still remains hardly fun.
The term is lost in meltdowns at home, navigating the safety of the new baby and endless trips out to the playground. There, she simply watches others from the security of the swing. Scooting is long abandoned too.
I am consumed by throws of requests and demands, and the mighty displeasure of a stranger child. For I no longer recognize my firstborn.
I hear rumblings of the ‘other mummy’ and the continuing milk feeds heighten enormous fustration. She scratches on soft toys or mimics the breast feeding for her own baby doll. She craves and longs for her own turn to suck the milk. The milk which is the source of life and growth to my baby, is at the same time causing such vast misery for my eldest.
Then three months in, the intensity falls and dynamics are less tense. The next few weeks see many precious moments drawn together by love. The baby’s heart is always open in love for her sister. The simplest offering of gentle kindness widens her baby smile and fills her with laughter.
Screams demand my attention. In the early days I defend the baby in another room. I am forever pushed by requests. I abandon my toddler in her forlorn state, and her tormented self overshadows the next few hours.
It is as if the ego has arrived. The boundless affection and friendliness has dissipated. And now her sole connection with mummy is severed, her attention must be shared and the ego self is disgusted, anguished and in complete foray. Her ego cries for some notice, does all manner of crazy taunts in the hope of love.
Now, when I spot a slumping period arriving, I make a limit. I stop and give my complete attention. I go close to my child, and with touch and meeting of her eyes, I show my love and feel her hardship. I stay and listen to the deep moaning, wailing and struggling.
And when she is done with this mammoth release, she emerges without ego. Straight away the special child I know is back, light and friendly, curious and questioning. She goes wild at the playground, no longer the watcher but participating on climbing walls and stepping stones.
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