After I had Samara, and was recovering in the hospital, I started to freak out. How could I love two kids? How could I handle both their needs at the same time. Thoughts were racing through my brain at an uncontrollable pace. My anxiety was compounded by the fact that I wasn’t yet producing breast milk, only colostrum, and she was feeding frequently and getting frustrated shortly after latching on. She would eat for a few seconds and then scream. I felt like a failure. I had nursed Ari for a year, what was going on with this baby?
At some point, my OB’s partner in her practice came to visit me. I told him about my nursing frustration, he said:
“Just remember, her stomach is the size of a grape right now, she’s not going to starve.” I started to use this mantra when I got upset about nursing: size of a grape, size of a grape.
I was extremely emotional about Ari. I was afraid if I loved this new baby, Ari would somehow disappear or not love me anymore. I was holding him and crying. Remember much of this was based on the fact that my hormones were throwing a massive keg party in my body.
My brother came to visit. I made everyone who was in the room leave so I could talk to him. I cried, I confessed that I didn’t think I could do it. I was absolutely terrified to have two kids. I wanted to run away. I felt horribly guilty for having those feelings. I was afraid I’d fail at nursing this time. I was terrified that Ari wouldn’t love me anymore.
He calmed me down. He said it was normal to have those feelings and that all I had to do is take it moment by moment, one minute at at a time. He said it was okay to accept help from my parents. I felt guilty. He told me not to.
When we were getting ready to leave the hospital, my hospital roommate stopped me on the way out the door. I already liked her from eavesdropping on her phone conversations with her kids who were at home:
“No Kool Aid until you finish your dinner! I heard you were chewing gum, you know if I were there you wouldn’t being doing that!”
She said to me:
“I just want let you know, I overheard what you were saying before, and I felt the same way when my second child was born. You’re not alone. Just remember to take time for yourself, even if it’s just to go for a short walk. And you know what helped me the most? Keeping a journal. Write your feelings down even if they feel crazy. Let it out, otherwise you’ll feel like you’re going to explode.”
When we arrived home from the hospital, my mom watched Samara at night and let me sleep until she needed to nurse. She did this for two nights. My body was so sleep deprived from being in early labor for a week, that I needed as much rest as possible to feel normal again.
I’m just starting to feel better. I’m taking my roommate’s advice. I’m writing it down. I’m taking my brother’s advice, one minute at a time.