Since the beginning of this pregnancy I’ve had this recurring dream. I’ve had it at least half a dozen times. It’s never really the same dream; but the theme, the problem, the emotion at the heart of the dream is always the same.
I’m at some sort of party or gathering. Once it was a wedding (oddly enough, in that way dreams have of mixing up events in your personal timeline, I think it might have been my wedding even though both girls were around), once a family reunion, once a class reunion. At other times the nature of the event is unclear. But in all the dreams there are throngs of people, exciting conversations, I’m caught up in the action and losing track of time.
And then suddenly I realize how much time has passed and that I’ve forgotten Sophie. It’s been an entire day and I haven’t seen her since I put her to bed last night. I haven’t seen her for 24 hours. It’s been far too long. And she’s got to be needing me. She must need to nurse. She must be desperate, hysterical. My poor abandoned, neglected baby! I’m wracked with guilt and urgent need.
I go in search of her. Sometimes I hear her but can’t find her. Once I knew I’d entrusted her to my sister but she didn’t know where the baby was either. I search, asking, begging: Where is she? Where is she?
And that’s all there is. It never progresses to finding her.
Of course this dream isn’t hard to unravel. These worries are conscious daytime worries as well as troubling my dreams. My Phia is still just a baby, a nursling. Much as I welcome this new baby, I still worry about Phia being supplanted and I worry about not having enough time or attention for her. She’s not as mature and independent as Bella was when Sophie was born. And even that was hard on Bella. Not having me for almost a week as I was in the hospital. And how I missed her and longed for her during those long hours. I knew she was in good hands but still this was the first time that i’d been apart from her for more than an hour or two.
And of course I’m still haunted by the memory of that day when I lost my baby Francis and poor baby Bella, just nine months old, had to be taken home while I was still in the hospital and she cried herself to sleep in her grandmother’s arms. It broke my heart not to be there for her.
Although nursing isn’t the only issue that will shake up our family when the new baby arrives, it does seem to be pivotal in the dream. Nursing is about so much more than nourishing a baby. It’s an emotional relationship and right now it’s still a primary way I interact with Sophia and that I make her feel safe and loved.
I worry about weaning. If I do wean Sophie, it might make things a bit easier for her. At least she won’t be missing that aspect of physicality, that comfort and nourishment. If I don’t then she’ll find me suddenly wrenched away for at least four days and then coming home with another baby nursing in my arms. No, I’ll have to wean her; but I’m not ready to let that go. Not yet. Yes, I’ve got almost five months; but that doesn’t seem nearly enough time.
So I find myself torn, worrying about losing the baby I have even as I’m excited about the grand party that will be the arrival of a new little one to love and cherish. I know Sophie will be much older by then, not the little crawling baby I have now—she’s already moving away from me, closer to taking those literal first steps of independence; but I can’t see that little toddler she will be in July and I don’t really want to focus on that. I want to enjoy her as she is now. Live in the moment and not worry about the trials of tomorrow.
Still, I am haunted by this dream.