There I was, maybe seven months pregnant with Little Olive, spilling my heart out during a prenatal visit. It was a stressful time for me back then. I was working full-time in the infant room at a day care center, and the workload and constant crying of babies was taking a toll on me. At a point where I should have been beyond excited for the arrival of my child, I was spending about 40 hours a week wondering how I was ever going to handle it.
I had tried talking to my bosses about the situation, saying I needed more help in the room. But no, no. NYS has a ratio of 4:1 and because Grand Old NYS says that's an acceptable ratio, all caretakers should be able to handle it.
But who really expects a mother to handle quadruplets by herself, all day, with no help?
Apparently, New York!
So in an attempt to be heard by someone, I told my midwife, her assistant, and my husband how I was feeling during our visit in late September. I remember saying, "I'm just afraid I won't love my own baby enough because I'm so stressed out at work all the time."
Looking back, I can't believe I actually said that. Speaking to two mothers, I don't think they could either. But a part of them must have understood, because they were extremely gentle and encouraging with easing my worries. They told me everything would really be fine once the baby came, and in the meantime, just to try and relax at work.
Well, three days later, I quit! Long story for sure, but it was the best thing I've ever done.
Without the stress of the day care, I was able to focus on myself and the baby. I had some great downtime until mid-November when Little Olive made her arrival! (<-- birth story.) And then, things were never the same.
I had had favorites at all the day cares I worked. Lauren, Michael, Donovan, Devon, Kris, Ruth, Leigha...just thinking of their little faces and their smiles is making me smile. They're all probably so big now - I wonder if I'd even recognize them. When I saw them every day, I felt a certain love that I figured must be the same as what parents feel. You just wanted to scoop them up, give them the most attention, and tend to them first.
But then I had my own baby. And now I realize the love I had for my favorites at work was completely different compared to what I feel for my own daughter. There is almost no describing it. Becoming a mom showed me a new meaning to the word "love." I love my husband and my daughter equally...but they are two very different kinds of love. Each one actually helps me in my role with the other. Little Olive has shown me there is no limit to how much love can be given.