The Guilt

IMG_1850fWhy do I always feel guilty? Why do I always feel that I am not doing enough? Why do I always think that the grass is always greener on the other side? As we approach the six month-mark of exclusive breastfeeding (so proud of myself), and four sharp teeth, I am contemplating the idea of changing things up. I have discussed about potentially getting a pump with some of you, and still haven’t. I am beyond exhausted. I have lost an amazing amount of weight (which is great, don’t get me wrong, but I feel weak), my nipples are sore, and I am just not enjoying it as much. We are still co-sleeping, and she still nurses frequently at night.

I feel the need to mention that I am writing this post during a growth-spurt and therefore, I am very sensitive about the issue. After a couple nights of constant nursing, I am ready to tackle tonight but I can’t help and wonder: Have I hit rock bottom? Is this it? Can I keep going like that for a few more months?

One part of me wants to stop breastfeeding and feels extremely guilty for not wanting to continue to do what is best for my daughter. And the other part of me wants the best for me (mentally and physically speaking). It is just me and the girls 24/7 most of the times as my husband works away, and although we have family here, I care for them exclusively. I dream of a day off. I feel bad about it but it would make me feel so good – walking around, light and free. I would sleep in, read an entire book, window-shop without the stress of being as quick as possible so that my babies aren’t too cranky by the end of it, create, paint, do nothing.

What does it have to do with breastfeeding? Yes, good point. Well, I feel like I am losing myself. I don’t want to be cranky anymore because my child bites me when I feed her. I don’t want to be cranky because I don’t have time for myself in the evening. I don’t want to be cranky because I don’t have uninterrupted sleep. But when she is in her own bed, I can’t find sleep because I miss her.

My first baby drank formula when she turned 2 months old. I wanted the best for her. And I want the best for the new baby. But I know more. I have grown as a parent, and a mother, and it is hard to ignore the simple facts. Breast is best. It is not going to damage her – Sixtine is a beautiful toddler, but I can’t quite tell myself: “Oh, I am tired, I’ll just give her formula. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t best for her.” Pumping would be ideal. Unfortunately, it takes up so much time and energy – I am afraid it might make things even more complicated than they are now.

I am at a complete loss.

Life With Two Children Under Two

6 feet

Three girls. Three pairs of feet. Three different personalities and routines, wants and needs.

When I became pregnant with Victoire, I often wondered how life would be like, looking after a 17 months old and newborn. I wasn’t so much worried about organization than how Sixtine would react to this change in our lives. I felt sad for my baby daughter thinking she would have to share her Mama, a Mama who could barely walk her to the park during a long, tedious pregnancy. I felt sad thinking she would have to be the “big girl” now, a big girl that was only so little…

I never really enjoyed being the eldest of four. My friends in school would call me “the little Mama” and that, I didn’t want for my daughter to have to go through. I wanted her to live her life and not worry about who was coming after. Or at least, not for some time. I guess I was projecting my own fears on Sixtine.

I had been dreading it for a week but one very early Monday morning, my husband had to go back to work after three weeks home (including one at the hospital for the birth of baby). When that day arrived, I had a good cry (I can’t-do-it-alone-sob-I-am-too-tired-sob-help-I-need-somebody-help), wiped my tears, got up and went. I nursed Victoire, prepared breakfast for Sixtine, got both girls ready, and one thing after the other, it was bedtime for Sixtine. I had mixed feelings at the end of the day: I felt both happy and proud, and at the same time I wondered how I would be able to do it for another week, month, year. But I realize now that children bring the best in you.

Looking after both of them day & night is extremely challenging – I find it hardest at meal times and at the end of the day, when we are all tired. But even then, it is much better than what I had envisioned.

Sixtine who I feared to be jealous and terrible, is actually very sweet to her baby sister, helpful, and generally well-behaved (as much as a 18-month old can be). She helped me change her sister this evening, holding wipes and diaper for me, and putting the dirty one in the garbage. She kisses, and strokes her sister’s head every single day, many times a day. She does sometimes walks on all fours (she has done that a few times now, since her sister has arrived), steals her sister’s soother, or jumps in her sister’s bed but I guess she is just showing her love. She loves her sister so she wants to be like her. She has also done a few cute things like putting a nursing pad under my shirt or hers. She’s also tried to nurse a couple times, asking then for a bottle of her own. (Oh yeah, and that one time when she told her sister not to scream with a threatening finger…I was in shock when it happened – it was the first time ever I heard her say “no screaming” (in French), let alone associate two words together.)

She loves her to pieces. The thought of it makes me really emotional as I can tell how happy she is to have a baby sister, even if she is still very small and doesn’t interact with her. I am so happy that we were able to give her the gift of a sibling. Now, I can’t say that it is all roses. I am extremely exhausted (as in major case of baby brain, and falling asleep for a half hour and waking up thinking it has been a full night already). I sometime forget to go pee or eat. I sometime feel like I am running a never-ending marathon.  I haven’t blow dried my hair since Vic’s birth. I have very little time for myself until the night comes, and even then, baby Vic keeps me company. She is breastfed and we co-sleep. But I enjoy her company very much.

It has only been a month and I know there are more challenging days to come but this is how things are right now. I don’t think I can afford to worry about how it will be in a few months down the road. Let’s see how it goes tomorrow and make the most of it. It is much less scary that way!

Parenting Alone

When Sixtine was about 5 months we decided as a family that I and the baby would go to France for a few months so I could recharge my batteries and it was really needed. I did recharge them and felt better as soon as I landed but I missed my husband terribly after three months. He came for a two-week visit and wedid lots of sightseeing which was a lot of fun. He also had the opportunity to meet all my family, friends and see where I was from etc… I told him I never wanted to be apart again after being away for so long.

But again, Sixtine and I flew to France on the 27th of October and won’t be seeing him until the birth of the baby (unless he gets some time off for Christmas). Our future is pretty uncertain as he is starting a new job and doesn’t know what is in store for him yet.

I am exhausted ( I have said and written that a lot lately. Forgive me.) and raising Sissi by myself is pretty challenging. My husband is a very hands-on father, always willing to help. It feels like I have no break without him around. It is 24/7. I am definitely not your stay-at-home mother type of person and I am starting to wish I was going to work. I know it sounds horrible but I don’t think it is. I love my daughter to death. I just want to be my own person, not “just” a mum.

I miss him terribly and Skype hasn’t been doing a great job. It is always cutting up, and there is like a 8 hour time difference which means at midnight there it is 8 in the morning here.

To sum it up: Parenting alone su*ks! – especially when you have the most awesome husband in the world!