Anyone who knew me pre-Fiona knows that I was essentially dreading having another baby. That sounds horrible, but it's just that I'm a little bit neurotic. Maybe more than a little. Having Bella was such an adjustment for me, motherhood was such an adjustment, and I don't typically deal well with stress, change, chaos...The thought of adding another child to the fray was overwhelming at best. However I felt so prompted to get pregnant with her I knew it was time, I knew it was right. I was just taking it on faith that it was the right thing to do, that it would work out, that i would be made equal to the task.
Flash forward- Fiona's nearing 6 months, and this time around is so different. If you can believe it I am much less stressed, anxiety-ridden, volatile, and neurotic than I used to be. Part of it is a solid, concerted effort, some of it is a blessing, and some of it is the consequence of learning from and adapting to motherhood. In the last 5 years, having children has taught me more than I expected and stretched me in ways I never would have otherwise. At times it is a challenge, in fact many times it is a challenge and I resent the necessity if the stretch. If I didn't have children I'm sure I wouldn't be the person I am now, and I would be worse for it.
One of the benefits of that stretch is that this time around with Fi is a lot more enjoyable than it was with Bella. Don't get me wrong- of course I loved Bella just as much as I love Fiona, of course it was as rewarding- it's just that it was tempered with more anxiety, stress, and questions. So why so relaxed this time? Partly it is experience. I know that things will be okay. I know that the difficult parts are just a stage. I know that they pass quickly and leave us no worse for the wear. I also know that these sweet baby months are fleeting and precious.It is also due to the belief that Fi is most likely my last child. I always hold in the back of my mind thoughts like, 'this is the last time I'll do...', or 'after this I'll never get to...'. I am savoring the time with her and because of this I am more able to enjoy Fiona's babyhood.
This time I can appreciate it as fun, endearing, cute and finite. I actually think having a baby is fun instead of love riddled with guilt, fear, inadequacy and stress. Of course those feelings still occupy a place in my mind, but they are largely over-ridden with enjoyment. I don't stress the small stuff like her naps, her schedule...I find myself 'spoiling' her already-the natural destiny for the 'baby' of the family? I often nurse her to sleep, rock her to sleep, comfort her at the breast, and hold her when she wants me to. For better or for worse I am not so concerned with things like 'teaching her to fall asleep on her own'. I figure she's a baby for such a short while and she can hone that skill later. Things are working for us, so I continue to cuddle her all I can.
Of course my babies make it easy for me. Fi follows in Bella's tiny footsteps by being a joy- a largely happy, steady, and charming girl. She gives me so many moments to enjoy her and relish the moment that will be only a memory all too soon. Too soon she will talk, whine, beg, throw tantrums, and inadvertently say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Bella's stage is wonderful in it's own way, but there's time for that later. For now Fi is my baby, probably my last baby and I'm going to hold her for all it's worth.