March 16, 2014


Recently, I read a blog post about sleeping babies by a mother I love.
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.

And, soon.  
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.
For him.
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!


Kaela Frame said...

Beautiful. I love real posts. You are always real, but I really felt this one. And it was beautiful and painful and spiritual and hopeful and sucky....and that's real life. Love you, beautiful cousin of mine who I look up to so very much. We're saying prayers for your tomorrow, and for your every day after that!!

CTR Mama said...

So beautifully expressed! Lots of prayers for you and your family.

Kent and Lieren said...

Your thoughts are beautiful and inspiring. I hope everything goes really well tomorrow for you! You will be in my thoughts and prayers. I've listened to this talk a few times this week and it has been so comforting and reassuring. I thought it might give you some comfort too.

Debbi said...

Your posts always say the exact thin I need to read and exactly how I feel. Our family has had our share of trials this past year and I find myself feeling bad for myself and grumpy. Then I have to remind myself, this is the new normal. This is our trial. I new to accept it. Feeling grumpy just makes me feel worse. You always find some sort of positive admit your huge health problems and I have learned I need to do that too. Thank you for the example. I will be praying for you, your family and your doctors tomorrow.

Amber said...

Thanks for sharing, it sounds very hard, I'm glad you have help. That is a huge blessing. I can relate to some of your feeling of being unable to do what you want and feeling robbed of not being able to do it. You are wise to look on the bright side and be thankful for what you do have. I really think that love and gratitude heal, and you have inspired me to write down some of those grateful things. We are coming out of a tough 4 yrs. since our twins and other personal challenges, and I am grateful to have time to clean again and relax with the kids again and be active again. You really appreciate it when you go without. Well, good luck with your surgery tomorrow, your faith and optimism are amazing and strong and getting stronger I'm sure, so I look forward to reading how it all comes out. I'm so glad it has been turning out so well thus far, and I hope and pray that it continues to go well. I really think it will! Hang in there, it will be over soon! It will just be a moment, right?!

Kristen said...

Jenifer, I don't know you but I honestly love you. I am praying this is the beginning of the upswing. Your honesty is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Have someone update us if they can, will be praying for you and your surgeons all day!

Pam said...

Jen, with tears in my eyes and hope in my heart, I wish you well. Love, prayers and big hugs!

Jenifer Moss said...

Thanks cute Kaela. I love you right back. So excited to meet another cute Frame!!

Jenifer Moss said...

Thanks Debbi! Let's go on a cruise together next year. ;)

Jenifer Moss said...

Lily started throwing up last night. We left my aunt with a washer full of throw-up stuffed animals and 4 sick kids!! Thank you for your prayers!

Jenifer Moss said...

Todd and I are excited to listen to this talk right now, as we drive to the hospital. Thanks!

Jenifer Moss said...

Amber- 4 years!! Oh friend, I'm so happy you can see the shore!! Twins sound hard and adorable. Thank you for your kind words!

Jenifer Moss said...

Kristen- have you friended me on Facebook. Todd is better at updating there. Thanks for the love!! I'm sure this surgery will be a breeze... ;)

Jenifer Moss said...

Thanks Pam. I get teary every time I reread this post too. And, I'm a big fan of hugs-- virtual or real. Thanks friend.

Stephanie said...

I am crying as I write this. You truly have gained wisdom in the school of hard knocks! And I'm so glad you posted this beautiful, real post. You have helped me to feel more grateful for what I have, and more sympathetic to others in hard positions. You help me see the wrong in judging other mothers. God bless you through this next short, but hard, chapter! He is molding you into one incredible piece of art! You are strong and amazing--and human. I'm glad you let yourself grieve and acknowledge the difficulty of your situation. You are so right that the healing begins there.

Lisa said...

This posting made me cry because I literally hurt for you and the things you are longing for. It reminded me of this quote, which maybe I originally saw on your blog.

"Oh, the ordinary day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me be grateful while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall fall upon my knees, or bury my face in the pillow, or lie among the sick, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return." Mary Jean Iron

Prayers for more ordinary days ahead for you, Jen. With Love, Lisa.

Marie said...

Tears are flowing... What an amazingly beautiful, real, lovely post, Jen. There is nothing I want for you more than to be that regular old mom once again! God has this, sweet friend... Rest and heal in His peace... It will be ok. Never forget, not for a single minute, that you are covered in well as Todd and each of your precious babies.....and your Auntie dealing with the puked-on stuffed animals, your personal medical team, and all those that will be "holding down the fort" until you are back home and able to do all those mundane and glorious household chores all by yourself.
Love you, Jenifer Moss... ❤️

Melissa said...

Thinking of you today.

ashley said...

Been thinking of you today, Jen. Thanks for the Facebook updates Todd! All our love & prayers for your family, medical team & speedy recovery. :)
Thank you for this post. You have many gifts that bless so many others' lives. I appreciate you making the effort to post, because it blesses me each time you do. This one was especially poignant today. Hugs dear girl!

Maren said...

Reading this has exposed one of my own raw spots. While my experience has been a cake walk compared to what you've been through, it definitely left me with some scars....probably more emotional than physical. After trying desperately for 3 months following my c-section (including pumping after every hour-long feeding every 3-4 hours all day and all night long, working with 3 lactation consultants, using a supplemental nursing system, taking herbs that made me smell like fake maple syrup, and reglan that pushed me further into PPD), I had to give up nursing my son. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried, it WOULD. NOT. WORK. I didn't heal quickly at all from the c-section, and was in a lot of pain for months. And then my son had reflux and wouldn't sleep. He has pretty much never gone to sleep on his own, and has only slept through the night a handful of times in his almost 3 years. The only way he sleeps is laying on top of me or nestled in my side in our bed. And then a year ago, I fell down the stairs while holding my son. I held onto him as tightly as I could in an attempt to protect him, and in the process, severely injured my back. Last May, after 4 months of agonizing pain from my back injuries (and being unable to do housework or care well for my son because I could hardly walk or lift anything, or stand for longer than a minute or two), I had back surgery. And then I couldn't lift, bend, or twist (all of which are necessary in caring for a rambunctious toddler). Or sit longer than 10 minutes. I had to let my mom and/or my husband rock my son to sleep for nearly 3 months. My mom mostly took care of him during the day, and I hardly felt like a real mother at all. All this while we were selling our house, moving 3 times to temporary homes, and finally building a house. When my son turned 2, he still wasn't really talking - he only said a handful of words. We eventually discovered that he has Sensory Processing Disorder, which explains a LOT of the issues we've had with him (especially the not sleeping) and the speech delay. Part of the treatment for SPD is providing a lot of sensory input (roughhousing, bouncing/jumping, climbing, swinging, etc.), most of which I am unable to do with him because of my back problems. Anyway, I finally realized that the reason why not being able to nurse my son was so traumatic for me is because I felt that was how you bond with your babies. It's what makes you mom - the ONLY one who can give them what they need. Because of his sensory issues, bonding was initially difficult. The solution for me was sleeping with him. And then it was hard when I couldn't do that either. Although my struggles are merely a tiny fraction of what you've experienced, I think I have caught a glimpse of what you're feeling through my own experiences. My heart aches for you and your family. But I'm grateful to know that somehow the Atonement can heal our raw spots eventually. And I'm grateful for the blessing that you have been in my life through your candid posts. Love and prayers to you all.

Corine Moore said...


Jenifer Moss said...

Oh Maren! I feel your pain. Nursing is, in my humble opinion, harder than natural childbirth sometimes. Add to that years of worry and concern, falling down the stairs, surgery, moving 3 times, and diagnosing a disability-- WOW!! You are a survivor and a warrior mother. Thank you for sharing your story with me. I believe you are trained for a marathon and will breeze through the next ten years. (Haha). I feel goodness on your horizon! That is one lucky little guy you have- he is blessed to have you as his mom. And, I'm not one to judge, but your trials are not a tiny fraction of mine!! We are climbing together friend.

Jenifer Moss said...

Thanks Steph! I'm sure my abdomen is "one amazing work of art". I appreciate your encouragement more than you know.

Jenifer Moss said...

I know!! I love that quote. You really don't know how nice normal is, until you can't do it.

Jenifer Moss said...

Marie- your comment made me smile. As we were kneeling for family prayer, Todd reminded the prayer to bless me and my upcoming surgery. My aunt piped in, "and don't forget me here with the pukes!" She was a saint!! Thanks for you thoughtfulness!

Jenifer Moss said...


Jenifer Moss said...

Oh, thanks. I'm always glad when anything I say helps someone else. Thanks for your comment too!

Jenifer Moss said...

As my kids would say (quoting Nacho Libre), big kiss, little hug, little kiss, big hug.
Back atcha!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...