Thursday, July 2, 2009

Blogging Baby: Wild Horses

If you were to ask me what my strongest emotions were during the first two weeks of River's life, I would say wonder and gratefulness and joy. I would also say grief.

Grief? Wait, this is coming from the mama who experienced an amazing birth followed by recovery so speedy that I went to a play at my sister's church two days after the baby was born. This is coming from a mama whose newborn slept for three hours stretches at night almost immediately and is content to nurse and ride around in the sling during the day. Why would I grieve in this profusion of blessing?

In a nutshell, heart expansion hurts. Like my belly grew and stretched during the nine months I carried the baby, now my heart must grow and stretch from loving one to loving two. Ember captured my heart completely from the moment I pushed her out...I had no idea how much one human being could love another. For three years, we have been two stars in the same orbit, Mama and Baby. When I held River, that same tenderness and caring surged through me but at the same time came an ache. I knew that my relationship with Ember would forever be changed-- for the better, yes, but not without thorny places. For many of these early days I've felt as if I was between two wild horses. My love for Ember and my love for River pulled at me constantly....the intense demands of a newborn matched against a toddler's desire for attention and affection. Even though Ember loves her baby sister, the process of learning to share Mommy hasn't always been easy for both of us. She's stretching too.

Now that River has been around for three weeks, the growing pains are easing. There are still moments when the grief-ache returns, when I miss the time when I could give Ember my attention exclusively, but I know that she needs this transition. Part of bringing her up into maturity is teaching her how to share Mommy's love with her siblings and how to put another person's needs ahead of her own. Her sacrifices look different than mine-- she has to give up some lap time and wait longer to get a snack or a juice-- but they are no less significant.

And then there are the times when I get glimpses of what our family will become, when Ember and River are both content and peaceful. I lean back to enjoy the moment with my little ones and know that even wild horses learn to run together.

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