LP has just turned one. I find myself saying ‘where has the time gone?’ a lot recently.
Seriously though, this last year has been a whirlwind. When LP was born things were different to the first time around with BB. I had some confidence. I knew how to look after a baby practically speaking, nappies, feeding etc, I had already done it once after all.
When I came out of hospital I felt fairly good, the midwife told me to calm down. I wanted to tell her ‘I have other things to do, another child to care for, I need to get on with normality.’ I didn’t, I just smiled and nodded.
After you have had a lot of visitors in the early days, people aren’t quite as forthcoming to come and visit. We are fortunate to have a lot of family nearby to help out, but I just wanted to get on, as I knew that J’s paternity leave would soon be over and I needed to get used to some sort of routine, especially with BB at preschool.
This time I felt that it should be easy for me as I was a second time around mum. However there were some issues early on regarding LP’s weight gain. The Health Visitors were not happy that he was dropping down the lines in his red book. (I do not like the centile lines!) I suddenly felt that the confidence I did have was ebbing away, I’m not going to lie, I felt a little rubbish.
I started questioning everything I was doing. I thought I had been doing so well. In the early days I was, but maybe now I wasn’t? Lots of different thoughts were discussed, around feeding. I breastfed LP, and have been fortunate enough to continue to do so. I was told to up his feeds (I was feeding him all the time), maybe I wasn’t feeding him technically correct, cue help from a breastfeeding support worker, I did everything I could think of, and still his weight dipped. It is described as ‘failure to thrive,’ I don’t like that terminology, my baby boy was thriving. He was meeting all his milestones, but I was getting different opinions from different people, they wanted me to attend the weigh in clinic every two weeks. I dreaded this, as I felt like it was a judgement on me and my ability as a mum. I did have some conversations with some lovely healthcare professionals, who were reassuring, and told me I was doing a good job. I needed to hear this.
It is easy to get caught up in worry and start to compare yourself with others. I was looking at forums, reading all sorts of different opinions and my mind was becoming addled. I think they have their place, and can sometimes be helpful, but I found that because I was not getting the answers that I wanted from the healthcare professionals I would research and come to my own conclusions, however this just confused me, and made me more worried.
A turning point in my thought pattern came when I spoke to the breastfeeding counsellor. She explained the process if LP continued to not gain weight adequately, and how a formula feed would be introduced to see if it made a difference. I had become so worked up thinking that I needed to soley feed LP, as I had done with BB, that I felt it reflected badly on me, but having this lady explain the process made it ok. I realised that I had been putting the pressure on myself, and if I needed to introduce a formula feed, then that was alright.
I persevered and in the end did not need to introduce a formula feed as LP just settled on the 9th centile. As soon as this happened the Health Visitors suddenly became happy, ‘oh he was just finding his line.’ I can think of a few things that I wanted to say at this point, but it did mean that I was left alone, and could just settle down again.
Looking back, I feel that I knew my own mind from the beginning. Not in an arrogant, I can do it all myself kind of way, but more that I let doubt get the better of me, I questioned myself wrongly. I let other people set an agenda for me, rather than trusting God.
I can clearly see the differences between LP and his brother now. LP has fed and put weight on differently, his personality is different, and he has definitely slept differently, you get the picture. I was probably, maybe I still am naive, to think that it would be the same, but we are learning all the time.
LP is pretty fearless, and also likes to bite things a lot. He has a great laugh, and is fairly content, apart from when he’s hungry. He is also extremely agile, and a bit of a speed crawler, there’s never a dull moment. His brother is a constant source of entertainment to him, and I love how they are starting to play together, I really hope they become great friends.
Of course with LP’s birthday approaching we had to arrange a party. I love a party. He won’t remember it, and really the party is not for him. It’s for me and my family. I was reminded by family members in the run up, that ‘this time last year he wasn’t even born yet.’ It makes me laugh when people say this, but it does feel like he’s been part of our lives forever.
Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you….”
We had a lovely family day on LPs birthday, just the four of us, followed by a family party a couple of days later. I wonder what his second year will bring?