By: Iris Linares
The most magical day of my life was when I became a mother. I was overjoyed with my sweet baby but never felt compelled to keep adding to the nest. I never imagined my current life would be a circus of toddlers and babies but I also wouldn’t have it any differently. My eldest is four and my youngest is four months. I’ve pretty much been pregnant four years in a row. I have three boys and one girl. Being pregnant back to back has been really tough on both my body and mind. I feel like quadruplets would’ve been easier at this point (applause to those with quadruplets). They’re all at different stages, yet very similar--it’s hard to keep up. Some days are easier than others, but for the most part every day is wild. Meeting their every need is the most important to me. I try to do my best when it comes to them, that often times I end up unintentionally ignoring my needs.
I remember finding out I was pregnant for the first time when I was 22. I couldn’t believe it, as our son came as a surprise. When he was nine months old I found out I was pregnant for the second time, and unfortunately miscarried that pregnancy. I became pregnant again shortly after but out of fear of miscarrying again, I kept my pregnancy a secret from everyone. That pregnancy has by far been my most delicate one. During our anatomy scan doctors found that my son had SUA also known as two-vessel cord. They informed us that baby most likely would not make it to term, be born way below normal birthweight, have under developed organs or all of the above, and even worse could pass shortly after birth. We put our pregnancy in God’s hands and continued on. We had appointments three days a week leading up to his birthdate to ensure that our baby was doing fine. Against all odds, I birthed him at 40 weeks exact, at the plump weight of 8lbs and 13 ounces (God is too good!). He had a short NICU stay of about a week but was able to come home problem-free.
Then came my daughter. My second was only four months old when I found out about her, which makes them 13 months apart. At this point I thought ‘holy-cow, how can I possibly manage taking care of three kids throughout the day all on my own!’ When she came she arrived six weeks early, weighing almost 6 pounds. Even preemie clothes were big on her! My postpartum depression was in full effect then. I didn’t get a chance to get through it with my second pregnancy since I became pregnant shortly after, that it hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to. With my spouse working all the time and no extra help I became really anxious and depressed. I started drinking at night after putting the kids to bed to help me relax, but that didn’t really work out. I’d just wake up feeling hungover and the depression was still lingering. It took time, therapy and support to finally recover. That by the time my daughter turned one I began feeling like myself again. Only to find out a month later that I was, yup you guessed it, pregnant again FOR THE FOURTH TIME. I cried, not happy tears, but very sad and confused tears. We were being careful, yet here we were again. What would our family say? How would I possibly be able to dedicate enough time to each child individually? I was already running on ‘E’ and had just started recovering from my PPD. I was so worried. We literally had to start all over again because I had gotten rid of anything and everything baby that we had laying around.
I gave birth to a baby boy in June of this year and my heart was exploding with so much love. When we got home from the hospital the reality of four kids kicked in. The baby developed colic and would only drink from a bottle. I was exclusively pumping for two months. Something I never experienced with my other three, and let me tell ya, it’s so draining! I would get up twice a night to pump and feed and dreaded being hooked up to that machine. It made it almost impossible to tend to the kids while pumping during the day. One day I tried latching him on and he did so great that we’ve been exclusively nursing since.
Although everybody has adjusted well to the baby, it’s still a wild ride. It’s hard to go anywhere with all four on my own that we are home mostly every day. When we do manage to go out I instantly regret it. It’s never fun to get stared down by people when one of my kids is having a meltdown.
In the end, motherhood has taught me patience, what unconditional love is, and that being a healthy-sane mama is the best thing you can be for your kids (which translates into having self-care time). It doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to get there, the important thing is that you try. They will always remember all the love you've given them. So, take it day by day, and try to live in the moment because it all goes by so fast.