I read an article recently about how mothers who have support of either a hired doula or family/community support after having a baby not only experience less post-partum depression, but that they are sometimes filled with a kind of euphoria that exceeds that of their "typical" mood and demeanor. I am deeply thankful for the enormous support I've had from my own mother the past month and the hours she has given to Clara so that I could focus on savoring these kinds of moments with Eloise. I'm thankful for the support of our community who has seen to it that I have yet to cook dinner on my own in the four weeks since she arrived. I'm thankful for the health of this baby and the lessons learned from Clara's first few months that make me appreciate that wondrous miracle and take nothing for granted. I'm thankful to not be pregnant (oh BOY am I thankful to not be pregnant!). All of that has contributed to enormous joy this past month. I truly have experienced a kind of euphoria, a deep and satisfying happiness and peace that may only be explained by hormones, adrenaline and love.
Eloise is a delightful baby. She eats well, she sleeps well, she rarely fusses and when she does is almost always soothed by being held and maybe a little paci time. At her one month checkup she already weighed ten pounds... over two pounds gained since she was born. She loves to nurse and I'm thankful for the opportunity to nurse her without the same level of stress, anxiety, worry and pressure that I felt when nursing Clara. Every single time I watch her eat I marvel at what an incredible thing it is. She still sleeps much of the day, but typically goes 4-5 hour stretches at night between feedings which means I'm only waking once or twice. We've had a couple of nights that have been even longer, but I know not to get too hopeful or cocky about that. We're starting to see more and more smiles in the past week or so and to watch her recognize us and respond with that basic gesture is heartwarming, to say the least. She's a snuggler and loves to be held or worn. The general consensus is that she looks like her mommy, at least for now. She's tracking with her eyes and loves watching lights, mobiles, ceiling fans and other things that move, like most babies. She loves to be outside. Eloise already recognizes and clearly adores her big sister. It's amazing to me to watch the connection they've already forged and the way that she seems to naturally love and respect her big sister.
So many have asked how Clara is doing with it all. I'm afraid to jinx it because, let's be honest - she's three. But I could not have hoped or imagined for her to do any better with this huge life transition. She is not jealous. She is not angry. She shows no signs of feeling displaced or rejected and genuinely LOVES this little baby. Even though Eloise can't swing or climb trees or play doctor with her yet, Clara loves to stand near her, squeeze and kiss her head, hand her toys, cover her with blankets, play on the play mat beside her, climb into her crib with her, and hold her. She reads to her and sings to her and tells her stories. When Eloise starts to cry, Clara suggests what she thinks she needs, "I think her diaper is dirty.... she might be a little tired mama....maybe she has a burp to get out." She's been a great help to me, throwing away dirty diapers, "assisting" with bathtime, or bringing me a burp cloth when I need one. I worry about the risk of smothering with over enthusiastic hugs and snuggles, but aside from that, I am grateful that there is no sibling rivalry... yet. I can't wait to watch this relationship continue to grow and blossom. And I'm so very proud of the big girl that Clara has been and how bravely she has stepped into this new role.
So, I'm about to share more pictures than I'm sure is reasonable. The first half are cell phone photos; more than I'm proud to admit are snuggling selfies. Robert is often urging me to just live in the moment instead of photographing the moment. But I have a notoriously wretched memory, and so while I am trying desperately to hold on to the smells, the sounds and the feelings, I hope that by also capturing these images I might be able to always remember what a wonderful month this has been.
In no particular order...
|First meal out in a restaurant. See her under that blanket? No? Well, she's there.
|First playdate with buddy Ben.