Well, it’s only been, what, 6 months since I’ve posted? The blog falls to the back burner, I admit, but for anyone still following, as we’ve just entered 2017, a brief update.
Our second daughter Juniper arrived in November, in, comparatively, a much more pleasant labour. I realize those two words do not belong together. We were smitten immediately, though Pepper is still struggling to find her new role as big sister. There’s a lot of testing mom and dad, searching for control, tears and baby mirroring. If the baby cries and can’t talk, if I cry and don’t talk, you’ll focus more on me, right?!
We’re stumbling through it, trying to keep cool, and reassure big sister that her place in our family of four is just as important as it always was.
Major differences this time around, despite some supply issues, breastfeeding has been far more successful. June is a natural and it’s amazing the difference. I’m taking boatloads of herbs and drinking scads of tea, however, as I still don’t have enough milk. But we’re supplementing far less than we had to with Pep, and I’m not tied to the breast pump. The bonding is legit, I feel much calmer and every time I don’t have to heat up a bottle in the night, I’m grateful that I had the chance to nurse with a totally different experience.
Surely it’s not just the hormones improving my mood. Partway through my pregnancy, I felt some alarming mood swings, feelings that reminded me of the weeks after Pep was born. I felt like I had no control of my emotions, I was on edge, quick to irrational anger, and, in general, highly anxious.
I admitted it to my doctor, looking back and knowing that, in truth, I suffered post partum anxiety after she was born. I feared that plunge Into anxiety, into stress, while trying to navigate a new baby. Im taking medication, and it has changed a lot for me. I don’t expect to need meds forever, but I’m happy I faced it this time, and have help to get through the bumpy parts. I urge any moms who feel like they’re constantly struggling to stand up as waves crash into them to consider talking to a doctor about anxiety and depression. Let’s erase the stigma, folks.
It’s not all perfect. 2 kids under 3 can be tough to juggle, when dad’s at work, when dinner needs to be made, and baby has gas, and toddler is feeling the new addition like a punch in the stomach. There are hard days. There are tough times. There are bad moments.
But a bad moment is not a bad life.
There are also baby smiles, sleepy cuddles, stories before bed, visiting Santa, baking cookies, drawing solar systems (Pep’s newest favorite thing). There are cold cups of coffee and exhaustion, but this part doesn’t last long. I’ll take every sweet moment in my hands , cradle it a moment before it inevitably slips away to the next. Let’s take deep breaths of today, of icy cold winter air, of smiles under Christmas lights, of tickling baby sisters toes, wondering if today we can make June laugh.
Today is sweet. Tomorrow will be, too.
My mind is fuzzy with mom brain, I apologize for scattered thoughts and non linear inner monologues. Welcome to 2017. Let’s send good out into the world, speak up for what matters to us, reach out our hands to others, and lift each other up. Let’s teach our kids to be kind, be hopeful, be brave. Let’s teach each other to smile, to fight for what matters, and that our hearts and kindness can heal.