Our daughter, Oakley, was born a little over two weeks ago. I guess this makes us the parents of four kids! Yowza. The dynamics of our family are interesting…our two children who happen to be adopted are sandwiched in between our two children who happen to be biological. Jax’s birth was extremely traumatic – I will spare the details, but we thought we were going to lose him for a bit and it ended in an emergency c-section and mama and baby being separated for quite a few hours. Bonding was difficult given the circumstances of the birth. I couldn’t possibly love him more now, but it was a process. Our next two came home with Reactive Attachment Disorder diagnoses. I will leave that at that! So…when Oakley was born (via VBAC) and it was how it is “supposed” to be (ie love at first site), I got a new perspective on attachment and bonding. This has simultaneously been amazing and awful, as I have become hyper aware of the distance we still need to travel with J and A. We have had some (anticipated) regression, and when you factor that in with the obvious sleep deprivation, I have felt a bit checked out or something with the therapeutic parenting. As in, someone hand me that therapeutic parenting book so I can throw it at someone.
To try to keep some structure for them, sanity for me, and mommy time for Oakley, the big kids are going to day care a couple days a week. Today, while they were gone, I watched part two of “Removed,” called “Remember My Story.” Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1fGmEa6WnY
I sobbed through the whole thing. I sobbed as I nursed my sweet infant, who gets milk or cuddles or a fresh diaper every time she makes a peep and is currently sleeping on my chest. I sobbed for my kids who didn’t get that. It reminded me the “why” behind the behaviors that are less than convenient, and helped me find empathy rather than selfishly being annoyed and short-tempered. (Because holy cow it can be annoying – let’s put that out there right now). ‘
At bedtime tonight, I read J and A “I love you stinky face.” I’ve blogged about this book before – it’s about a mama loving no matter what ridiculous things happen. The kids remembered me reading this early on when they came home, and so a conversation about previous placements and trauma and “other mean moms and dads” started up, and we all had a good cry. (Note: I don’t make a habit about crying 70% of my day, I swear). I felt good about how the night ended for the first time in quite a long time, and I am vowing to work harder to remember their story in the midst of ours.