Second Baby Blues

***Anecdotes and advice from a Supermom of 12 children

I felt numb and somehow empty

The second time around the baby was even smaller, even preemie size, though she was only 4 days ahead of her due-date. The staff was more up to date with delivery room philosophy, and this time, they laid the new baby on my stomach so we could bond. To my surprise, I felt numb and somehow empty and couldn't wait until the medical staff took her from my arms, though I never would have admitted this to anyone. I made a lackluster attempt at nursing and was relieved when an apologetic nurse held out her arms for the baby.

I felt very alone

After reassuring me that another girl was just what he had wanted, my husband left for home to break the news to big sister. The maternity hospital was a quiet place. I felt very alone. Every so often, a nurse brought my baby to me to nurse. In those days, there were no lying-in hospitals. Wave after wave of after-pains assaulted me as I suckled my infant. With each wave came worry for the little one left at home; now no longer my one and only beloved child. My heart ached for her so. I found it hard to concentrate on developing a relationship with this new child.

Things were looking up

The baby was quite different from her older sibling. My big girl looked just like her father and at birth had been bald with a pear-shaped head. This new daughter looked as if she were wearing a rug! I wouldn't have believed a baby could have so much hair. Her head and cheeks were round like my own. I felt the first swell of tenderness overtake me. Things were looking up. I tried to feel encouraged and set aside my worries about how my eldest daughter would react to her loss of exclusivity. I reasoned that all too soon, my time alone with this baby would be over. She deserved my full attention for as long as she could have this soon-to-be rare maternal offering.