Jan 16 2013
Today we have a new guest writer who shares her thoughts on bringing home baby #4:
When I was first asked to write an article for KP about what it was like to â€śbring home baby number 4â€ť my initial response was flattery and then disbelief.Â I wondered why anyone would want to read about that.Â So few people choose to go this route, but after thinking about it a bit I realized that my experience adding one final family member to our crew was most similar to when we had our first.Â Every parent has a first child (or two) and it is with this in mind that I write this.
Waiting for our final baby to arrive lacked most of the excitement of a first birth.Â I was excited but (like all the other times I was expecting) I had â€śThe Listâ€ť and that took precedent. Â Â A ridiculously long list of things I needed done before baby arrived.Â Everyoneâ€™s got one, but since this baby was also arriving along with Fall my list consisted of all sorts of yard and gardening work that I knew would fall by the wayside and make next Spring insurmountable.
One of the major differences is that when I was waiting for our first born I read every piece of literature regarding pregnancy, labour and delivery, breastfeeding, parenting a newborn, etc, etc, etc.Â I must have been the most educated expecting mother on the planet.Â I knew what to expect, how to get what I wanted and how to fix nearly everything that could possibly happen.Â I treated this as my new job and wanted to be as prepared as I could.Â As babies two and three came along all that knowledge got pushed aside by lack of sleep, poor self-care and lots of tears.Â By the time I was expecting my final babe it was clear, I had filed all that information so far in the back of my head that on rare occasion I would recognize that once upon a time it was part of my parenting bible.Â Right now this well-seasoned Mom has an over tired, inconsolable, over stimulated, colicky, refluxing, crib hating babe that I canâ€™t quite grasp, or so I think!
Her birth came and after a short meet and greet with her sisters, life continued on as if sheâ€™d always been here.Â My eldest went to school armed with a picture of our newest member and my other 2 had all the same demands of me as always.Â I donâ€™t feel like having a fourth child increased my work load at all, but I’ve noticed I have less time, patience and energy Â to do it.Â Those three factors make it feel like Iâ€™m lost most of the time. I get the necessities done, but there is this group of â€śthings that can waitâ€ť that are piling up into a mountainous heap.Â I know some things are getting completely buried in there and Iâ€™ll never see them again.Â It sounds terrible at first, but I’ve come to realize that if they get buried maybe they weren’t that important in the first place.Â I had the same overwhelming feelings when my first was born. In fact, I’ve had them every time we had a new born.Â I’ve only gotten better at letting all those “supposedly” important things sort themselves out.Â When youâ€™re in survival mode what has to get done, gets done.Â I knew that when I had my first, but I didn’t live it until I had to.Â I wish I had grasped that much sooner.Â It would have made for a much happier home.
Having 4 little people at home means you miss so much.Â Even on your best day you just canâ€™t be 100% physically and emotionally present even the majority of the time.Â This means you miss their cues for being tired, hungry and sick until itâ€™s blatantly obvious because they start acting out.Â When you have your first it takes a while to get to know your child and their cues, so you run into the same issues.Â Every kidâ€™s different.Â So while Iâ€™m struggling to get to know this new little person, Iâ€™m missing so much of whatâ€™s going on with my other kids and things get really messy, really quickly.Â With my first, even when I could see her cues I wasn’t always quite sure about how to soothe her or get her to sleep.Â I was still in the stage of figuring out what kind of parent I was going to be.Â So even with one child, things would get hairy in the blink of an eye.
I guess the biggest thing that shocked me was the effect our final babe had on how I viewed our marriage.Â Since the birth, I’ve felt that Iâ€™m maxed out.Â Iâ€™m sure everyone gets it, but this time it seems to be lingering and the first thing to go from my list was hubbyâ€™s needs.Â This was how I knew Iâ€™d turned a corner.Â Other times I would still try to take care of him and he had come to expect it.Â This time I get done what I can and let the rest get buried.Â If it means he has to go out for lunch because I didnâ€™t pack one or wear one of his least favourite shirts or search for underwear in the dark because I didnâ€™t get laundry done, then so be it.Â Then I bury the guilt and move on.Â Â When we had our first I remember how disappointed I was in how involved he was with our baby.Â He was definitely not the father I had envisioned and because of that I pushed him away.Â Weâ€™ve had several years to â€śrehearseâ€ť and I feel that weâ€™ve both improved.Â But when thereâ€™s a limit to how much you can extend yourself somethingâ€™s got to give so I decided that this time it had to be him.Â I couldnâ€™t sacrifice myself or this ship was going down.Â I stopped taking care of him, just like I had the first time around, but for different reasons.
So many people call me Super Mom or think I have some inordinate amount of patience, but the reality is that I am not, nor do I have even an average amount of patience.Â Iâ€™m just like every other Mom out there, whether itâ€™s their first or their forth.Â IN fact Iâ€™m pretty sure that most fist time moms have a better grasp on what theyâ€™re doing than I do.