Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It's just different the second time

Mama Time button

Let me be candid- postpartum has been a very different beast this time around. This time I don't have the same feelings as I did the first time. Don't get me wrong- I love Lion Cub dearly! I take care of him and nurture him, but it is just... well, different. Sometimes I feel like all I do is get screamed at all day by this little person who really doesn't do anything- he is just (for lack of a better term) a blob at this stage- especially in comparison to his vibrant and personality-filled big brother.

R-Man posed many challenges and I was facing many other stressors following his birth, but he was my first- I knew no different and was deeply entrenched in loving motherhood. With R-Man there was no older sibling to snap up my attention and remind me just how helpless he was- he was all there was, and as difficult as it was, I revelled in mothering him.

Starting all over again with Lion Cub has felt much more difficult than I ever expected it would. I kept thinking that I had learned so much the first time around that I wouldn't have to figure out this time, that things would obviously be simpler- and in many ways they have. Sleep has come much easier since we have co-slept from day one with no hesitancy or questioning. Diapering is a breeze- I know what I like and the system is down pat. All that I have learned about breastfeeding has helped me deal with the small challenges that have come up and resolve them before they turned into huge problems. I have done my research- I know my stuff and don't have to worry about reading up to figure out all of our major decisions this time.

However, other things I had expected, like having a more easy-going baby the second time around- have not come true. Far from it actually! Dealing with sickness, colic and general moodiness these past four weeks have nearly been unbearable at times. That immediate connection that I had with R-Man has felt a little more distant with Lion Cub. More than once over the last weeks I have uttered the words, "My baby hates me," as I have been unable to figure out what he needed or why he was screaming so.

Much in contrast, my husband actually feels more loved by and connected with Lion Cub. He is often the only person who can calm his crying jags and ease his distress. I am glad that Jer feels more bonded with Lion Cub and in turn, I believe, more attentive to his needs, but it also leaves a mama feeling a little inadequate at times.

Of course, there are always those moments that make things a little better- when one of his sweet and rare smiles spreads across his face just because I said his name. Or when he finally gives in after crying, for what seems like forever, and lays his sweet head on my shoulder. Or at night when he snuggles in and uses my breast as a pillow after he finishes nursing. And his coos are enough to even melt a heart of stone!

I know things will get better in time. Things will get easier when he looks at me as more than just a place to eat and begins to interact more and more. Until then I will just keep caring for him and loving him, and remembering that this is what I signed up for! There are many seasons of motherhood- this is just one of them!

If anyone posts about their own postpartum feelings and would like me to add a Mr. Linky this week, please let me know and I will get it up right away! If not, then I think I will just leave it at that for this week.


Laura said...

I am really glad you posted this. I too haven't felt the same connection with my new baby as I did with my first and have thought that my baby hates me, and a little jealous that she seems closer to her dad than me. I thought maybe it was because I ended up with a c-section this time and missed some bonding, but maybe its just what happens with a second child. With my first I would get physically sick when she cried, but this time it doesn't bother me quite as much. It is a good thing because when the baby is crying in the car there is no point in both of us crying, but it kind of makes me feel guilty that I'm not as in tune and empathetic to her as I was with my first. But now that she's smiling a bit more I am feeling a bit closer.

Montana Mama said...

You know, I can totally relate to you in some aspects! I'm only a mom to 1 child, so I don't know what it will be like the next time around, but my Beast was SUPER Colicky (like, 4 months) and I had a hard time a lot of times. I would feel guilty every now and then (actually, I still do) when I feel like I'm a bad mother b/c I can't figure out what in the world is wrong with her. There seems to be just a few days every now and then that she drives me absolutely NUTS. And I feel myself getting angry, upset, and feeling like a horrible mom for feeling that way. :) Anyhow, I didn't mean to ramble, but I can just relate to the whole "motherhood is tougher than you always expect" thing. :) Thanks for sharing your postpartum feelings with us!!!

homeschoolceo said...

Hang in there. I felt exactly the same way with my 2nd baby. She has lots of problems at the start...small but aggrevating...thrush, reflux, strep, constipation, etc. It will get better. And I just could not seem to comfort her. I thought she hated me. I can happily say, though, that she's 4 now and is an absolute doll. She's actually easier to handle than my two boys and yes, she "wubs" me.

Hang in will be worth it all :D