Growing Pains

It’s fun to be in uncharted territory, lost without a map. It allows for a lot of exploring, a lot of learning, and a lot of growing. In a family as large as our, it also causes growth pains. Today Guinevere turns 3 weeks old. She is my first daughter, but she has 9 brothers and sisters. All their names start with the same letter, like the dragons in the series “The Fire Within” by Chris D’Lacey. We were not trying to copy The Duggars, whose children’s names all start with J; we didn’t even know about them until a few months ago when we stumbled across their book in the library.

When I feel unwell I prefer to shut myself up away from people. The ladies pointed out that I was hogging the new baby and that her siblings were confused about why they saw so little of her. My hormones did not make this accusation easy on my ears, and I remained depressed and isolated, only now my self-esteem was hurting as well.

To be able to take care of the family while court fees drained our bank account, I needed to cut my maternity leave short. I had to go back to working full time and end my bonding time with my baby. Blame it on the hormones, but I felt like there was nothing to look forward to.

My husband could tell I was distressed. “What’s wrong?”

I’m feeling really insecure about the future. “Hormones.”

He frowned at me, not really buying it. He thanked me for my stability, which he finds comforting, and said that he needed me to be stable right now. And then he said, “Guinevere is not going to forget you’re her mom.” Tears swelled in my eyes.

“I needed to hear that.” Alice is the natural-born mother of us. Like me, there was a time she swore she wouldn’t have kids. Unlike me, she grew to absolutely adore children. (Not to say I don’t like kids- once I had Guinevere I wept 3 times over how much I was in love with her. I’m just not anywhere near as adoring as she is.) The Ladies all share responsibilities, but Alice specializes in looking after the kids and will be the one who sees Guinevere most while I’m working. As natural as she is at mothering, I had been afraid that Guinevere would grow closer to Alice than to me.

Edward frowned. “Look at Alice and the girls. Her parents are actively trying to make them forget that she’s their mother, and that hasn’t worked. Guinevere’s not going to forget you. She’s still going to be drinking your milk, and when you feed her after you get home, she’s going to get even more excited.” Having him paint a picture of my baby getting excited to be in mommy’s arms gave me comfort.

There’s no manual for life, and no one to ask advice from who can claim to fully understand our dynamic. All the same, our love for each other creates such a strong support network, so we have each other’s backs through thick and thin.

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