When I found out I was pregnant with Landon, I thought I would have him without issue, stay home for 6 weeks, then go back to work. Wrong. The minute I laid eyes on him I knew that I didn’t want to return to work. It just so happened that Shane makes good enough money that this was an option for us. We would have to sacrifice some extra spending but it was so worth it. Raising Landon was the hardest (and still is the hardest) thing I had been through. He was difficult, didn’t sleep, had colic and acid reflux and on top of all of those things was my first child so I was super anxious. Fast forward 7 years and he’s still the hardest kid I have!
Being a stay at home Mom is very rewarding, and on the other hand it is the worst thing in the world some days. I am a very social person, and I crave interaction with other adults so at first immediately after Landon I struggled SO BAD with this. I was lonely, I felt like it was just me and Landon all day every day. We had no family to visit, I didn’t have a job, and I was in a town where I had about 4 friends (all of whom worked at the job I no longer had). It was rough. I remember feeling sad a lot. Shane worked really weird hours, and it left me alone with Landon a lot. I took on the morning routines, and the night routines and pretty much everything, honestly.
When I found out I was pregnant with Kenley, I was scared to take my SAHMing to another level with two kids. Landon was 4 (almost 5) and would be starting Kindergarten that fall, so I was nervous about preparing him for that while having a newborn. It’s funny the things I used to worry about…So when Kenley died, I was stuck at home, again, without a baby, and with a child who just witnessed his Mother and Father go through the worst thing in the whole entire world. I was left to handle my grief and help this poor 4 year old navigate his own grief. How are you supposed to help someone handle and understand their grief when you literally are barely able to wake up every morning and DO NOT understand it yourself?
I tried. I tried really, really hard. I would listen to Landon, and let him cry, and ask questions, and say all of these things that would cut me like a fucking knife. It hurt. It hurt my heart every single day (still does) to watch him process the death of his sister. He is still processing it. He talks about her, he draws pictures of her, looks at her picture, includes her in conversation, but sometimes I wonder if he really considers her a person, or just a dream. I’m not sure.
When we had Alden, I was nervous again. Now, I had my living child who was plagued with grief from losing his first sister, and I had MY grief from losing her, and then we had a newborn. I was scared that things wouldn’t flow properly and that I would resent her for taking Kenley’s “space” (nursery). I really felt a lot of emotions about having her. Some good…some bad…some scary. When she came, I couldn’t have loved her anymore. It took me a while to really feel connected with her, I won’t lie. I loved her so much, but it was different. Once we settled in, and things become routine, my love for her just exploded and now I cannot imagine living without her. It does hurt to know that Kenley should be here, and be older than her, but at the same time it’s so hard to think that way because Alden wouldn’t be here if Kenley was here. I hate even allowing my brain to think that way. It’s not fair. It shouldn’t be one or the other– it should be BOTH. Or better yet, ALL.
Alden and Landon’s interactions make my heart burst. It is so amazing to see Landon be a brother to her. He is amazing, and loves her so much. He loves Alden fiercely; I can see the protection in his eyes when he is with her. And he also loves Kenley, albeit differently. That makes my Momma heart proud. Having two children at home was different. Having all things compounded with grief, and fatigue was super hard. But, Landon went to first grade and Alden watched him get on the bus every day. When she could talk, she would scream “bubby” as he left in the mornings. She is a PERFECT baby. She sleeps so well, she is so fun, she entertains herself when needed, and she is my little bestie.
When we found out we were expecting Rowan it was SO different. We were done after Alden. We weren’t expecting to have another baby let alone so quickly after Alden arrived. Alden was barely 4 months old when I found out I was expecting Rowan. Cue fear. I was done being stressed out and worried but now I had no choice but to go through it all again. Once Rowan arrived it was the same course of emotions I experienced with Alden; fear, fatigue, and tons of grief and guilt. I didn’t feel connected to her just like with Alden, and I feared it was far worse that with Alden because she was a “surprise” (for lack of better words). As we all fell back into a routine, now with 3 living children at home, my feelings towards Rowan changed. Now, once again, I couldn’t imagine my life without her. She is growing into this little person and it’s so much fun to witness.
Having 2 under 2 is rough. SUPER ROUGH. I’m tired, I’m always covered in puke, or food. I pee with the door open, and as fast as I can because undoubtedly someone will cry, or Alden will come running into the bathroom with cold (sometimes wet?) hands and smack my legs while I sit there. SAH momming is NOT pretty. I don’t wear makeup, I don’t change out of my pjs usually. I never have a second to sit down and just breathe. I found the time to write this today because the girls are napping and I made Landon go do something and give me space. Not because I don’t love him and want to be around him, but because I am a person too, and I deserve a free second. I work extremely hard every second of every day and I need “me” time. Having the babies is a lot of work. I am always changing a diaper or feeding someone it feels like (and that person being fed is never me!) . Landon is home for the summer, and in ways it’s super helpful but in some other ways it’s so much worse because he needs attention on top of the girls, and trying to find time to include him is kind of impossible.
I explain to him that the girls NEED me, he is able to take care of himself, and that I need him to help me out, but I know that he feels left out a lot. It’s hard. It makes my heart feel guilty. The days when I have a bad day (emotionally) are the worst. Everything seems 1000x harder, and I feel like I snap and yell a lot. It’s a work in progress, this life with 3 living kids. I’m trying the best I can, but I cannot help but feel like I lose myself a lot.
I am a Mother of 4 children, and a lot of times that is all that people see. Heck, they technically only see me being a Mother to 3 children, and they miss this HUGE part of my life. I feel like my life is an Onion; I have a trillion layers and some of them will make you cry. Finding time to include Kenley, and remember her is super difficult with 3 living kids, too. I feel guilt over not being able to spend time with her daily. I see that she is showing me she is with us in certain ways though. For example, I always tend to look at the clock on the “32” minute of whatever hour it is. It’s weird! She was born at 10:32 pm and I don’t know why it happens, but it just does. And if it’s just a completely random thing that happens, fine, but I NEED to think it’s a sign because it makes me feel close to her.
Being a mom is rough. Being a stay at home mom is rough. Being a stay at home mom, to 4 kids one of whom died before you got to know her is sad and rough.
But, somehow, it’s also the greatest thing I’ve ever done and I am proud of myself that I am able to hold my shit together to raise these little loves we created.
I can only dream about having them all here…
Someday we will all be together again. I look forward to that day–whenever and wherever it may be.