So much has happened! Life is so transformed!
Sophia arrived safely and well as planned on January 31. I experienced almost immediate nausea relief. What an amazing feeling! Not only was my daughter born, but I feel reborn. What an experience to have that kind of sickness just end. I didn't have to die or anything. (I wondered if it really would end).
Sophia is an amazingly peaceful baby so far. She eats well and is already at her birth weight. Claire has been feeling somewhat put out but those feelings are far outweighed by her obvious adoration of her baby sister. I feel like Sophia has brought peace to our house and made us more of a family. Dave is also an adoring father and a very patient step-father. It's his first time as a dad and he is very forbearing of Claire's somewhat rough-looking technique with her sister (the scary carries and the super-smoochies).
I feel amazingly lucky to be the mother of these two beautiful beings. Dave will say: I can't believe one day it will seem normal that Sophia is around. And I say: I still can't believe sometimes that I'm even the mother of Claire. It just seems like such a miracle to have lived so long and then get to have these two after 40! What a gift!
When Claire was born I finally felt I belonged in the world. Her birth was the key transformative event in my life of many transformations. (One of the emotional experiences I've been going through since Sophia was born is a kind of mourning at letting go of Claire as my baby.) Becoming and being a mother has been my life's most meaningful and rewarding experience. I feel like I was born to be a mother. And all those years I never knew...in the time and place and milieu that I grew up and matured in, having children was not really thought of as a big deal. More like a damper on career and social life, not to mention the easy lapsing into negative feelings about the state of the world and bringing children into it.
I don't know how the world will end up and I do despair about what we're passing onto our kids, but life is such a gift and these kids will being their own life energy to the world. It gives me hope. And I find myself loving every minute of it (almost...except when I'm really tired). I'm pretty happy to wash the nappies and washcloths and reflect on the obviousness of why women get almost no mention in history. Looking after kids and home is time-consuming and often non-verbal. Hard to get your head into words or even want to (that is if you as a woman would even be allowed to). I find nothing more rewarding than being a mom but I also want that mother energy to be more out there, more part of the way the world is run, more respected and revered.
As an aside, I read this great book: Diaper Free by Ingrid Bauer. The premise is that only the western world uses diapers, the rest of the poor world uses infant-mother communication to figure out the whole elimination issue because, for one thing, they can't afford diapers. At 8 days I started Sophia. I still use a diaper on her when she's sleeping or hanging out but when I take it off her to breast-feed, I hold her over a little pot. She already pees into that pot almost every time. Then after breast-feeding I hold her over the pot for about 10 minutes or so. Pretty much every time, she has a poop or two in the pot within 10 minutes. At the moment, I'm still using diapers but I'm saving Sophia from so much poop and pee against her skin.
Her poor sister Claire had terrible diaper rash for her whole infancy. And now, at 5, she still wears a diaper at night. This method starts them early with body awareness. God, I wish I'd known about this for Claire!!! I was so brainwashed! It seems so obvious. I mean we do it with puppies but think our intelligent little kids are completely unaware and need to poo and pee in diapers until they're 3!!! I highly recommend the book.
As another aside, I must comment on the constant poignancy of motherhood. Sophia is not 2 weeks old and already so changed. These baby days last a finger-snap. And Claire, my beautiful Claire, is not the precocious 3-year-old, not the determined 4-year-old (I've sadly forgotten most of the first couple of years), but a wise and questioning 5-year-old. One day this week she asked me: How did it feel to do the Human Body Project? I said: It was weird and uncomfortable but it felt good too. She said, very quietly: I think I'd be embarrassed. Or, another instance, I've been singing Leonard Cohen songs to her at bedtime. She is now very curious about Joan of Arc and wonders who the guy with the famous blue raincoat is. The child that was becomes the child that is and the child that was is lost. It makes me cry even though it's beautiful. I want to absorb every moment as much as I possibly can. I am savouring the minutes of breast-feeding Sophia (nipple infection and all) and listening to those newborn coos and breaths. I am loving Claire's leaps. I am crazy about my two daughters. I am, as I've said to Claire these past 5 years, the luckiest mommy in the world.