I found myself reacting strong, emotionally and a bit defensively.
I read a sweet mom who was saying that she was willing to make the effort to care for her babies during their first year of life. She does this by nursing, co-sleeping, wearing and bouncing her babies.
I do not co-sleep, breastfeed, or even rock my baby to sleep.
He is one of the happiest, easiest babies I have ever known.
She wasn't attacking me at all- but I felt attacked. Why?
We all have these moments, don't we? Where something someone says rubs a raw place in our heart. I can't tell you how often understanding these raw spots has given me a chance to heal and grow.
I found myself mentally writing an ongoing essay about the pros of teaching your baby to sleep in his own bed, supplementing with formula if necessary and NOT baby wearing. I can write that essay because I do believe in those things.
But, I also believe everything this mom was saying. We are way more alike than we are different. Why the emotion??
You could have told me, couldn't you?
Um-- hello!! I didn't actually choose not to nurse, carry my baby, or rock him to sleep.
One afternoon, Ben started whining and I knew he was ready for his nap.
My sleep routine is, I carry him upstairs (if no one is home to carry him for me), hug and kiss his delicious little self, lay him down on his belly in his crib, turn on the fan, hear him take a deep breath, turn to see his eyes closed, and walk out the door.
He doesn't cry. Sometimes he whines and scoots for a few minutes.
He is very nearly always content.
This afternoon, instead of laying him down, I sat with him in my glider.
The glider I've soothed and rocked eight children to sleep in.
Ben fussed-- he would rather be laid down.
But, I couldn't. I wouldn't.
I needed him to let me be his real mom.
I kissed on him and sang to him and used all of my maternal wooing to trick him to sleep in my arms.
In the midst of my charming mother duck impersonation, Ben smiled, took a deep breath, and fell asleep with silly grin still on his face.
I sobbed. Sobbed!
How I've missed this!!
I missed holding him, rocking him, being the ONE in his life.
I've been sick and weak and tired... and I've missed so much.
This stupid year has given me life, given me a precious son, given me wisdom and experience and robbed me of too much.
My stomach wound has kept me from being able to hold my big guy.
Actually, holding him when I shouldn't have cost me a hernia and upcoming bowel resection. It sucks.
The absolute hardest thing about the past year has been seeing, yearning, needing to parent and being physically or emotionally not strong enough to do it. Hard. Hard times eight kids, one husband, a silly puppy, and a new house who all need more than I am physically or emotionally capable of giving.
Whenever I write blogs like this, people always try to comment and remove the pain. Please, do not think that this blog has anything at all to do with another mother's sleep habits. It doesn't.
This blog is about me, and you, and how allowing ourselves to recognize raw spots can help us to heal.
Reading another mom's testimony of loving bedtimes reminded me to mother more. To let myself feel again. To let myself mourn this sweet time that I am missing and also to let me feel the beauty that I still have.
I rocked my littlest to bed again tonight.
(I'm hiding in my bedroom, sobbing, writing this post because my world outside my room is overwhelming.)
I cannot bear to leave my family again. I hate seeing everything that I didn't get done before I'm leaving and I hate knowing that I will come back healing.
I'll be unable to lift- again. Unable to pee, unable to be intimate with my husband, unable to grocery shop by myself, or care for my own house.
My surgeon said no lifting over 15 pounds for 6 months. My baby is close to 25 pounds. I will lift him, cautiously. I will do laundry in time. I have a hernia- I know why they warn you. And, this is hard. I will do it, but it is hard.
Do you feel that pain with me for one minute? Just feel that feeling of wanting, needing to lift and comfort and knowing that if you did or if you didn't, you'd be hurting.
I needed to feel it, so I could move on.
I hate this.
I just want to be a regular old mom.
I'm really scared.
I know I can do this. I just don't want to.
I don't want to need help.
I don't want to be optimistic and strong.
I don't want another IV, another scar, another cut into my ureter or my intestines or my stomach.
I want to paint my nails with my big girls, go see a movie with my boys, lay on the floor reading to the little girls while they color me pictures and play with my hair.
I want to make passionate love to my husband without him feeling afraid to hurt me. (Sorry to say it, but it's true. And you should all love your husbands extra gratefully tonight- because you can!)
I want to nurse my chubby baby boy, to rock him to sleep, and to be the only one he wakes up to each morning.
I don't want housework to be so physically difficult for me that it is all I do!
When I ignore the hard, I just become numb and distant.
I've been a bit numb and distant this week.
Feeling the pain and letting myself grieve, also opens the path to healing.
Rocking my sweet, solid little boy hurt and healed my mother soul.
I felt how he is not mine and claimed him back.
This baby is mine.
He loves me.
He knows me.
My hard is worth it.
He is worth this year of hard.
Without the hard I couldn't have had him!
Like it or not-- this is MY life.
I don't love this chapter, but I really love the book.
Tomorrow I will say goodbye to my ever-needy leprechauns.
They will be well-cared for without me.
I will feel the sacrifice of many for me and mine.
I will overwhelm some who offer to help and offend others- it's a ridiculous balance.
I will leave my baby and he might not even notice I am gone.
Little orphan boy.
It hurts both ways- if I think he'll want me and if I think he won't.
I will cling to my husband even as I feel the weight he carries.
I will feel afraid and feel holy peace.
I will experience pain and feel the love of many.
I will have some things repaired, some questions answered, and have things that still need to be repaired and problems unanswered.
Tomorrow night I will be one day older and a few steps wiser.
My hard will be different hard.
So soon, I will find my way back to this glider.
I will reclaim my maternal throne.
I am their mother.
They are mine.
I can do this for them.
This is an honor because I am so blessed.
Oh, I know how blessed I am.
And, I feel Him, my Father.
Take me into His arms, even as I fuss to just lay down and go to sleep.
He rocks with me, and distracts me, and pats my tired back with his familiar hands.
He is mine and I am His.
And, without this hard, I couldn't know Him like I do.
I wouldn't know me like I do.
Sometimes, He holds me while I cry, so I can feel His love.
Life is hard and good in the very same beautifully crappy moments.
I'm actually really excited for tomorrow.
Thank goodness I don't have to think about it for that much longer.
Who knows if I'll ever be brave enough to publish the silly, emotional, therapeutic post.
It is real.
My scars have made me strong.
And i know that
Life is good!