Yesterday was rough for me. I had a really good day with baby 4- Physical therapy, homevisit with his caseworker, grocery shopping, painting pottery and dinner out with my Dad. Baby 4 was really well behaved for all of it, and we had a lot of fun. With all the appointments, professionals, and playing with baby 4- I've been super-tired and emotional. I started feeling really sad and missing Baby 2 when I had another, "I know I'm not your Mom, but can I please help you put your pajamas on?" talks with baby 4, and it sent me over the edge. After 4 was in bed, I looked through baby 2's pictures and sobbed. I love baby 4, and I'm so happy that I get to give him a home when he needs one, but I miss being a Mom. I miss Baby 2's "Ma! Ma! MMMAAAA!!!" calls. I felt literally broken, but at the same time fulfilled. How could I be pulled in two directions like that? Fully committed to baby 4, yet fully desperate to reconnect to my past. When Brandon got home from work, he tried to comfort me. Even though he did everything right, I cried myself to sleep. I had to get through that on my own, and I did. Today was much easier for me.
It was baby 4 who had a difficult time managing his loss today. It was the first day we didn't have to go anywhere, but Physical therapy, play therapy, and the medical supply vendor all made stops at our house. Everytime Baby 4 was asked to sit still or answer a question, he made a snippy comment or cried. Before dinner, he called his Grandma and had a very appropriate conversation with her that was positive and upbeat. At the end of that call he started asking to talk to his Dad, who was unavailable at that moment. When he realized that he would have to say goodbye to Grandma and just be left with me, meltdown ensued. He sobbed with the same intensity as I had sobbed the night before. He begged me to get his Dad on the phone. He told me that he wanted to live with his Dad, he wanted to go to his Daddy's house right now, he doesn't want to sleep here! I held him, knowing that even if I knew exactly what to do or say, he was going to have to get through this on his own. I just kept reassuring him that I love him, he's safe here, and yes, it is very sad when he can't see Daddy.
Baby 2 is deeply ingrained in my heart. With time I may not feel as intensely sad about being away from him, but I will always feel the deep love I have for him. It doesn't matter how many kids I love in the future, he's still my son. Same for Baby 4- his Dad is ingrained in his heart (and genes) forever. Even if he starts to love us as his family, that won't take away the sting of losing his first home. While we work on bonding to each other, Baby 4's and my heart ache for our family that we can't live with.
Going through my own loss has helped me gain some perspective on my kids' losses. I really get the advice "not to take their rejection personally". Baby 4 wanting to live with his Dad and reminding me daily that I'm not his Mom has nothing to do with his feelings about me as a caregiver. It has everything to do with his love for his first family. I also understand that he has to grieve, and be mad, and sad- all on his own. It is very difficult to see him cry, scream, and kick knowing there is nothing I can do that will make him feel better. Again though, none of his experience is about me. If being sad while letting him feel his loss is all I can do, I'll do it- because I love him. I also know that just because he would rather live with his Dad, does not mean we can't have a good relationship. If I am fully capable of loving babies 1-4 all at the same time, Baby 4 can tolerate 2 sets of caregivers.
The amount of heartache in our house right now is great, but that means the potential for healing in our house is great as well. We are preparing to heal together as a new family, even though we still love the old.