At 2 months old Alice is smiling, silent laughing with the odd squeal coming out and engaging anyone who makes eye contact. She has a flirty persona (which most babies do and I love) and is very tolerant of older siblings in her face. I love how she moves her little mouth and all of her expressions to try and chat back when you talk to her. I love seeing her wriggle with glee when people pop their heads into her pram, she is so happy to be alive and it is contagious! Yes overall I can say that she is an absolute delight… She brightens every day, is never short of cuddles and kisses and we each can’t help but grin when we see her looking at us. It’s safe to say that whilst she has slotted in so well, she still is very much a novelty here in our home.
I have been using Gina Fords sleeping/feeding routines as recommended by both my sister in laws and a couple of friends and it has changed my life! A routine at this stage is certainly a new one for me and I must have been mad to not do it before because it has been AMAZING! It doesn’t work every day, on some she tries to sneak an extra feed or sleeps less that we hope but it’s good and was most definitely necessary with going back to school looming and having to be so on it with school runs. It has enabled me generally to just be able to function and get everything done to keep the family and home ticking over. But yes, so well she has fallen in to it great and things are going well, she seems very content and I am mostly in control… 2 little humans to 3 is manageable especially when this one is so easy!
The last week or so has been, as anticipated a bit of a struggle with having Poppy’s birthday and some other difficult dates, and I have never been more grateful that Alice is still so tiny. It has been easier to slow down and do very little whilst the kids were at school and just ponder really on everything. I sometimes feel like it was all an awful nightmare and as I have said before that to really think about it takes energy with the emotions it stirs. It was good for me to sit with a sleeping baby, eat some chocolate and watch bake off on catch up!
Whilst Alice is a blessing (oh what a blessing she is to us), and boy does brighten everyone’s lives, she doesn’t completely heal us from this loss and so whilst she is a delight and life is so much more lovely with her in it, there still has been the pain of loss around certain dates. I found on one day as I was winding her and another as I was being silly to make her laugh, I just filled up and burst into tears. In that moment I felt so much love for her and felt so blessed she was here, but I felt so sad that I had missed this (and more) with her sister… the look on her face was a curious one and I guess it doesn’t help still having so many crazy hormones!!!
As few would be able to get these mixed feelings, and sometimes even the guilt for being sad when I have such a lovely child in my arms (because they thankfully haven’t had to experience it), I was drawn back to Sands on Monday to see the people that unfortunately do. I found it so helpful and such a great comfort to talk openly again about the mixed emotions I was feeling following Poppy’s 2nd birthday and having a newborn now too and all of these various dates. What a relief to be assured it was normal. What a relief to know its not ungrateful to feel this still. And how amazing these friends at SANDS are… It will always be a hard thing somewhere inside that our baby died and however many children we have or go on to have following, it will be there. I want to remember though, and share with you a saying that one of my Sands friends said to me, it may help you understand a little more what parenting after loss is like as it sums it up perfectly and I love it:
“The other kids do a great job at papering over the cracks, but the cracks are still there”.
Parenting after loss as I am finding can be a very sensitive affair with many 1sts still to encounter. Never before on this road have those highs been so high but then we still have those lows, granted never as low and dark as in the beginning but certainly lower than your average hard day. I have chilled out on some behaviours but do some things differently to when I had Megan and Ethan. I do often wonder, like many parents in our position; would we still be doing this or that if we hadn’t lost a baby?