It’s really frustrating, to recognize that I’m trying to do something I just can’t do, and yet not knowing how to stop doing it.
The thing I’m trying to do is give my children the same. Actually, I’m trying to give my son all that I gave my daughter.
Of course I know this is impossible. I can’t give him what I gave her because she was an only child and he is a second child. When Osita was three months old I had nothing else to do but take care of her. I spent days and days trying to help her nap, tied to the house so she could be in her crib. Today poor Monito didn’t get one nap in his crib. Every time it was time to sleep I had to load him into his car seat and take him out into the world. He spent his first nap driving Osita to school. He took his second nap driving our cat to the vet. He took his third nap picking up Osita from school (and getting In-n-Out). Poor thing never got to sleep for longer than thirty minutes at a time. By the end of the day he was an over-tired mess.
Monito spends WAY more time in bouncy chairs and on his play mat than Osita ever did. He gets way less time in my arms, or looking at my face. He gets my undivided attention to a much lesser degree than his sister did at this age. That will most certainly always be the case.
And it makes me sad. Really sad.
This week Monito turned three months old. Three months was my one breastfeeding goal, a goal I had in mind before my son was even born, before our breastfeeding experience went all to shit. I really, REALLY wanted to make it to three months. And I did. I’m proud of making it this far. It was hard work, but I did it.
I go back to work in a week. I actually think it will be easier to exclusively pump than it would have been to nurse. With pumping there are less moving parts. I don’t have to predict when Monito will be hungry. I don’t have to carefully choreograph having enough milk for Monito while also emptying my breasts after seven hours of work to ensure my supply doesn’t plummet. All I have to do is pump before I leave for work and then pump on my way home. I’m sure I’ll be uncomfortable after that many hours without pumping, but it won’t be so bad. I can do it.
The thing is, I’m not sure I want to. The mornings are going to be crazy; finding time to pump will be almost impossible. I’m going to have to pump on my drive home from work, which requires having all my parts packed every morning, and then remembering to actually put my pump in the car before I leave. I worry that the extra stress of pumping will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I just don’t know if I have the bandwidth for it.
I exclusively nursed my daughter until she was six months old, and I assumed I’d do the same with my son. I want to give him what I was able to give her. The idea that I might not be able to provide him with what his sister was given makes me feel like a failure.
My rational brain knows I can’t possibly give my son everything I gave my daughter. I can’t even love them in the same ways. They are different people and I will treat them accordingly. I want to say I will love them equally but it’s more complicated than that. I won’t love them the same, but neither will be loved more. And I suppose I want that to show in what they are given. I worry that because Monito will mostly get hand-me-downs, that because he will get less from me–less attention, less effort, less stuff–it will seem like I love him less.
I don’t know if any of this makes sense. I’m just trying to figure out how I can balance this deep desire to give him what I gave her, at least when it comes to the important stuff, with the reality of what I can manage now that I have two kids.
I’m just not quite sure yet how to do that.