This morning gave me the pleasure of holding a friends newborn son, just nine days old, so tiny and fresh. So teeny, so light, so soft. Innocent. Unharmed. A year ago, M was like this, so tiny, so new. Holding baby T this morning, talking to his mum, I was thrown back to the week before M joined our home. I remember our excitement, our nerves, our hesitant anticipation for the light his birth would shine. And I felt guilty this morning, felt guilty for having felt that excitement, anticipation throughout of that pregnancy, whereas this time..it’s different, it’s less present.
Babies. So small, so new, so vulnerable to the world and to you. They need you, their parents, to be there 24hours a day, to protect them, to love, comfort, feed and warm them. To chase fears they don’t yet know away, to keep tempered weather and hostilities at bay.they need you completely, more completely than you’ve ever needed, or known, for yourself. For the first few short months, the ones which pass in a blink of an eye, they need you so wholly that you forget of yourself, you give up on yourself, you become their puppet entirely for both you and for them. They whisper, you answer, they wimper, you hold, they need you, you respond to them and you anticipate the need before they know they want. You and they, as they are in your womb, are intertwined intrinsically and physically through their cries, windy smiles, feeding sighs. You and your baby, that’s all there is for a while.
But how, when there’re two? How do you give yourself to one and share yourself with another still? This pregnancy’s different to with M, because of M, because of us. I am more than just me now; I’m a mother to M. While once I could linger for hours to play mozart through my stomach, wait to feel a response, now I linger over little that isn’t immediate, or rather, here right now. M still is so little, so innocent , so needing of me for his needs and his wants and I want to answer them, to give them as I have from day one. So I let this one slide, Mozart plays anyhow; I rarely stop to register kicks or wriggles from inside, too busy with M in the out. I don’t want to miss all those moments, but somehow M’s count a little more. Does this make me a bad Mum? Have I managed already to let down Bump, unborn?
This morning I held a newbie, and G whisked M off to play. It’s rare he has time for this father-son time and as I register this, I know I’m not letting our Bump down, I’m simply being M’s Mum, in the same way I will be his, I’m doing what needs doing now, when I can, in the best way that I can.But then – when they cry at the same time, and they will I’m sure of it; when they both need to sleep, or to feed, or to be changed, how then will I be Mum favoring neither, neglecting neither?
Brothers. They’ll be just 16months apart. M will be too young to remember life without Bump, yet to small to comprehend of his arrival. Already I can notice their differences, the way they’ve in my womb, M’s subtle moves to his brothers fervent ones, his hand over one eye, his brothers’ under his head; M’s set times for alertness, Bump’s erratic sleep pattern. Already they’re so different, but I know they’ll be similar too. Like his brother before him, Bump will need me to be fully his; yet I can’t be. So how?
Today while M is out, safe with Baba in their bonding time, I’ve focused on Bump. I ran a bath, watched in awe as the water splashed from his movements inside me; drank cold juice to see him throw his whole body upwards lifting my stomach out and up; played him Mozart with headphones plugged to my tummy once more. Am I failing this baby by not doing this more as I did with M? Will I fail him on his arrival, or start to let down M for him?
These children are a gift from Allah. I believe they are meant to be with us, that their time to join us was ordained by a presence far more powerful than our love-making. I believe they are gifts, precious angels we’re to protect and to love. Their time to join us is the right time and that time happens to be now – well, Bump if you’re listening, hang on a few more weeks, please. Yet although I believe this, have faith in this path, I can’t help but doubt my part in it and whether i’m doing it well enough.
Holding baby T, breathing is his newborn scent, I recalled M so clearly, my son who’s still my Babyone. He’s grown up so rapidly, the baby days are short. Bump’s won’t be comparable, it won’t be just he and I; but then M’s first days weren’t really either because my family had flown into town. This time round, it won’t be the two of us; it will be three of us, day on day, and when I’m not beating myself up feeling guilty, I see how beautiful those days will come to be. Inshallah as Bump joins our world, forges a path inbetween all our own, new forks in our roads will open up. We’ll not only get to watch our second son grow like our first, but we’ll get to watch the first grow with the second. Of all the elements of a newborns first weeks I could be longing to enjoy, it’s the ones between these two brothers I can hardly wait to see. So I push away all the guilt feelings, for the most part anyway, and I focus on the blessings this closeness can bring to them and us and I’m thankful and I’m grateful and now I’m off to catch more sleep for if there’s one major thing that’s different between M’s pregnancy and this, it’s the availability of some shut eye, and that I really would love to replicate!