Looking Back: We Change, We Grow, We Learn, We Gain
Elizabeth Meyer, Missouri
Originally published in the September-October 1983 issue of La Leche League News.
Editor’s Note: The first issue of La Leche League News, the bimonthly publication for members, was published in 1958. The name changed to New Beginnings in 1985. New Beginnings continued to be published by La Leche League International until it was transferred to LLL USA in 2010. In 2014, it transitioned to its current blog format at www.lllusa.org/blog/.
My daughter is not a baby anymore; there is now another helpless little one to fill that baby place. There is a son to nurse, caress, and nuzzle at my breast.
But it is not the same this time. I do not sit alone with quiet baby sounds. I do not nap or clean when baby goes to sleep. This baby son of mine does not belong to me alone during the hours of the day. Our serenity is broken; he is shared between mother and daughter.
Sometimes I want to say, “Enough, Baby, enough! I want to share some puzzle time, some singing time, some reading time with my little girl – without a baby at my breast or in my lap – as it used to be!”
Sometimes I want to say, “Enough, Daughter, enough! I want to spend some baby time, quiet time, uninterrupted time with my baby – without you to help – as it was before!”
I feel frustrated. I don’t always want to share my time with each child with the other one. I don’t want to be pulled in two directions, to always moderate, teach how to share, teach patience, teach compassion for one another. Sometimes I want to give my all to each child without interruption. But then they nap at different times and the frustration fades away. And, as time passes, we are learning to need not quite so much private time. We are all learning to adjust to each other as our relationships adjust and expand.
Sometimes I want to shout about the love I have for this new circle we have become. As the love we have grows and we learn to live with each other, I witness the love the children have for each other. The bond between them grows. The clumsy love of the two-and-a-half-year-old is readily accepted by the five-month-old for his eyes light up when he sees her near. She doesn’t even mind when he pulls her hair.
They give to each other things I could never provide, things I can hardly describe. This baby learns faster than the first for he has two teachers, not just one. My daughter has learned to mother this baby and to mother her dolls from the example I have set. She has a healthy respect for the human body for she has seen it used to give life, to nurture and sustain life. When I can’t quite get to the baby right now, my little girl is there with a rattle and a “no cry baby” – and he stops. Sometimes I wonder what I did alone all day with my first baby.
As our circle grows there is not less love for each but more for all. At times I miss the serenity, but it is overlooked for all the wonderful excitement. We are all changing, growing, and learning. For what we lose, there is a great gain. It may not be in exactly the same form, but it is there. It is as it should be.
- A Balancing Act: As Families Grow: lllusa.org/a-balancing-act-as-families-grow/
- Are You Ready? Mothering The Second Time Around: lllusa.org/are-you-ready-mothering-the-second-time-around-2/
- Family Needs: www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/family-needs/
Please send your story ideas to Amy at [email protected].
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