My husband and I were looking at the girls the other day, and I said, “Hey guess what, they are ten months soon. We actually survived ten months of them. How did we do it? I totally don’t remember much.”
He replied, “Yeah, its unbelievable. ten months, it was insane.”
The last ten months has been a beautiful or messy blur, depending how you look at it. Our memory plays tricks on us. On some days I remember the first time I held them, their first smiles, and their glossy baby hair that I loved smelling and oh, how I crave for another infant to hold in my arms. On other days, I remember the hours they cried till they went hoarse, the failures that was breastfeeding, the pain in my heart when I saw how small they were and how they never got to grow fully in-utero, and I thought these memories are good birth control.
But love, love took a while.
There was just so many of them. I was not sure how my heart was going to respond and how I was going to bond with three babies simultaneously. Each time I nursed one, another was waiting her turn impatiently and the impatience was infectious. So I took to milk bottles very quickly. It gratified me that I could feed two at once (sometimes even three altogether), instead of looking at the other two hungry babies despondently while I nursed one.
I also remember the early days of passing all three of them to my husband because I just could not cope with three crying infants. “I don’t know what they want!” I would cry in distress. “There’s just too many, I can’t focus.” He would silently usher me out of the room to despair on my own while he soothed the girls to sleep. He never once told me I needed to do better. He always said he understands and I will come around one day. I never understood why I could not be more like him.
And all I really wanted to do was sleep. Why couldn’t they all just let me sleep? Why couldn’t my body stop producing milk for just one day so I can sleep?
Those three months were dark, dark days. I was full of self-doubt and mummy-guilt and there just so much crying from everyone. We used to joke sardonically that our house was a house of tears.
Then the girls grew up and so did their personalities. They became so much more than just about milk and poop. And the older they got, the more I started recognising the individuals in them and started falling in love with them for who they are. Liora is easy-going and always calm. Lysbeth is vivacious and over-enthusiastic. Lucia is contemplative and cheerful. And their big sister Livia, through mimicking us, slid comfortably into her role as big sister. It was like she was born to be a nurturer. It seemed that she wished she was bigger so she could take care of them herself. I found her patting them to sleep on many nights that I let them cry. Sometimes she would wake me up and say, “Mummy, mei mei cry,” rubbing her eyes from sleepiness and worry for her extremely small sisters. These days she doesn’t need to pat them to sleep anymore but she always finds a spot to snuggle in between all of them at night. And I thought to myself, this is what falling in love is like.
Bringing a baby home is like falling in love. There is so much anticipation and excitement and hearts a-fluttering. But like all new relationships, the realisation sets in very early how difficult bonding with another human being is. They have their own self will and such fierce wills they have. They test the limits of your love, and break your heart everyday, and so many times you just want to run away from it all. Life shouldn’t be this difficult you tell yourself. You never asked for three babies you say constantly. Its just not fair you scream. But of course you stay because these little humans have not fully shown how much they can be and inside, you know you want to watch them grow and become.