Four Candles for Shabbat

My Mother-in-Law stared at me in absolute horror as I held a pair of Oxo Kitchen Shears close to my 7 day old daughter’s wrists. We were getting ready to bathe her and it was time to cut off her hospital bracelet. When told to bring a pair of scissors, I absentmindedly grabbed my trusty kitchen shears. Not even thinking there was anything wrong with putting that type of blade next to the tiniest of wrists.

Fortunately, to my Mother-in-Law’s credit, she didn’t make me feel bad about my mistake and instructed me to find the baby scissors instead.

And that’s when I had my first aha moment since the whirlwind birth of our second daughter last Tuesday. I am not at all prepared for this.

But at least I know why I’m not ready to have a newborn in the house. This is what happens when you have a baby after miscarriage. I have spent the past 9 months petrified that, at any moment, we could lose this baby too that I spent no time actually preparing for having a baby. And, sure enough, now that we’ve brought her home from the hospital,  I feel completely and utterly unprepared for the days ahead.

And the things to think about when you have a newborn is endless. Add to that considerations for ensuring that the toddler already in the house is acclimating well, plus the sleep deprivation and the breast feeding challenges, and it’s no wonder that I haven’t had more than one hormonal-induced meltdown a day.

When my Mother-in-Law mentioned being careful that my hair doesn’t accidentally wrap around Baby S’s little toes or fingers, the recollection came back and so did the fear that I will g-d forbid miss something like that.

Forget bathing her by myself, that’s never going to happen. And, unless my MIL plans on bathing this child until she gets to a heaftier/less frail body weight, we’re going to have a little stinky baby on our hands.

How she already got diaper rash is baffling since we’re constantly changing her diapers.

And did you know that you shouldn’t wake the baby to breast feed her? We’ve been waking her every 3 hours but now we have been advised to let her be, and just feed her when she gets up.

There’s so much information that it’s overwhelming and confusing at the same time.

I’m still just trying to deal with all these emotions. I’m thrilled she is finally here and thank g-d healthy! That my pregnancy ended in a healthy birth and not a miscarriage. That we are now a family of four.

I’m also dealing with the fact that I miss her inside of me. Which is truly ironic, since I had horrible heartburn (she WAS born with a lot of hair, I am thinking that old wives tale ain’t just a myth!), difficulty walking, peed in my pants if someone made me laugh, burped constantly, couldn’t sleep on my back, the list goes on…And yet, I absolutely miss having her move inside of me. I miss patting my belly and seeing her “swim” to the other side. I miss the swift kicks to my bladder and the rhythmic motion of her hiccups. As much as I love actually holding her in my arms, I also miss having her inside of me.

So, I try to concentrate on other aspects. I quickly got DH to break out my What to Expect The First Years book and am reading it during feedings. And, I’m looking forward to this coming Shabbat with my girls and my candlesticks.

When Baby J. was born, I asked my MIL to buy me a silver candlestick to light in addition to the two I already light on Friday. It is customary (for some people) to light a candle representing each child in the family. When Baby J. was born, I started lighting 3 candles. My MIL bought me two silver candlesticks and said that the second one was to be earmarked for our second child. And, when I got pregnant last year, I lovingly looked at that candlestick sitting and tarnishing in our cabinet, and thought about lighting it on Friday night. And, when I lost the baby, I couldn’t bear to look at the candlestick in the breakfront. Its very presence was mocking to me and so, one day before my D&C, I begged DH to just put it someplace where I don’t have to see it.

This week, DH dug out the candlestick from its hiding place the past 11 months and put it back in the breakfront, next to my other candlesticks. And, just knowing that P”G on Friday night I will finally be able to light all four candlesticks, fills me with tremendous joy.

And everything else, I’m sure, will eventually fall into place.


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3 Responses to Four Candles for Shabbat

  1. This is a beautifaul piece shira. I’ll be thinking of you when I light my candles. lots of love – Rachel

  2. Miriyummy says:

    I loved this post!

    I used to light one candle per family member. One for me and the (now) ex, and one for each of my 4 daughters. When my girls all hit Bat Mitzvah they took on the custom on lighting two candles for Shabbat. So when #4 turned twelve, we had 14 candles glowing in the Shabbat dusk.

    Now that I’ve remarried we’ve taken the fire hazard down a notch. I light two for my husbands family, two for my family, and the candlelight blends together, something we aim for all the time.

    Mazal tov on your extra Shabbat candle. May she bring you much joy and some sleep.

  3. Mrs Belogski says:

    This is beautiful – I could really relate to what you are feeling. Enjoy lighting your 4th candles and may both your daughters bring you much nachas.

    When I saw the title, this was the first thing that came to mind

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