I finally feel like I love Sybil. Like really love her, not just love her because she’s my child and I’m supposed to love her. The kind of love that makes your heart swell. The kind of love that only came for me after having children. The kind of love that makes getting up in the morning a joy even after a sleepless night.
I didn’t always feel this love for Sybil. With Lawson the love I felt was all consuming and immediate. I assumed I’d feel the same way when Sybil was born. I believed everyone that said your heart just gets bigger when you have another child. But the feelings never came. And then she was, and still is, a hard baby. It made it harder for me to love her. I wondered “why don’t I love my baby?”
We spent many, many hours listening to Sybil scream and trying our hardest to get her to sleep, or at least calm down. It was heartbreaking. I wanted to soothe her and felt helpless that I couldn’t figure her out. The constant attempts to calm her hurt my ears and made my head and back ache. Even my feet ached from carrying her around rocking and bouncing.
After suffering from reflux and gas pains, she is much, much better. She’s still a terrible sleeper though. At over 4 months old, she has never slept through the night. She doesn’t even come close. Most nights she wakes up every 2-4 hours. I’m fortunate I don’t have to get up for work in the morning and can nap during the day if Lawson and Sybil sleep at the same time. Still it’s frustrating and tiring after 4 months without more consistent sleep.
I’ve struggled with my feelings about Sybil. I remember telling my mom I wasn’t sure if I even liked her, much less loved her. My mom assured me I would once I got some sleep. Jim and I had several conversations about it. He even tried to convince me it was okay if I never felt that deep love for her. Sybil had plenty of other people in her life to love and support her. Of course, it wasn’t okay with me! I wanted my little girl to feel loved by her momma.
Around Sybil’s 100th day, something started to shift. I began to have stronger and stronger feelings of love towards her. Sybil’s smiles make me smile. Maybe it’s because we’ve spent so much time together, but I think I make her smile like no one else can (well except maybe her daddy…she’s definitely a daddy’s girl).
I honestly don’t know what finally changed. Did Sybil and I get to know each other? Develop a rhythm? Did she just outgrow the newborn stage? Did I have a mild case of postpartum depression? I guess the why probably doesn’t matter.
As I sit here typing with tears in my eyes, I wonder how I could have ever questioned my love for her. I am so very grateful to have two wonderful children that I love with all my heart. I could not be prouder to be their momma.
If you find yourself struggling with similar feelings, be gentle. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you are feeling. Be patient. I promise the love will come. And when it does, it will all be worth it.
Finally, to my sweet little lady Sybil, if you ever read this please know how much you are loved by your momma. I can’t imagine our lives without you. As a wise man once said “I feel like my family is now complete.”
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