In Matthew’s first few weeks I felt like things were perfect. We went to church when he was 8 days old, showered, clean, and decently rested. I had time during his naps to declutter the house. He didn’t cry without explanation, there was always a dirty diaper or a feeding needed or a desire for cuddles. H’ even slept great, sometimes sleeping seven hour nights five days in a row. Once he even did two nights of ten hours. But the exhaustion of new motherhood crept in and is a giant monster now. And sometimes now Matthew gets overtired and angry or cries just to cry. And in comparison to the sweet/easy/sleepy baby times, rough times are SO rough. I don’t know how other moms and dads handle more difficult babies (though I’m sure we’ll find out with future babies of our own, let alone other seasons in Matthew’s baby-hood like teething).
This post by Jillian Lauren resonated so well with my recent thoughts, even though she is years ahead in experience and self thoughts. http://www.jillianlauren.com/2013/02/enjoying-a-suck-ass-day
At church recently they said we will all be given a chance to shine this week. I realize that every opportunity with my son, who won’t even remember these moments, is a chance to shine. And often, especially late at night I don’t shine at all-I dim myself, I dim the room, I dim the love I have for my own son. Which is NOT at all what I long to do. With every fiber of my being, I want to shine even if I am not happy with it. I can shine with God’s help.
So I have been trying to self-talk myself and wake up thinking: It’s Not About Me. | God can shine through me. | This is only a short season and this one night just one of thousands in my whole life. Problem is, when I am exhausted and it’s the middle of the night my words of affirmation don’t come to me when I hear him cry over the baby monitor. Groans come first, every single time.
Is that terrible? I love my son, ridiculously. But I grumble and moan and take minutes to get out of bed to go rescue him. I grumble as I pick him up, I grumble as I check/change his diaper, I grumble as I settle him in for a feeding.
But then as I get him and me all tucked into the chair, a blanket, the Boppy perfectly wrapped around me and balanced for him, burp cloth nearby, nipple shield or bottle lined up, at some indefinable point my mood changes. This is okay, I can do this, I will be tired tomorrow-yes. I will probably be tired a week from now, a month from now. But this is my SON who grew inside me. I sustained him for over nine months inside of me where I couldn’t see him or hear him or hold him in my arms. And now I can. I can hear him breathe, I can listen to him sing-song in happiness as he is fed, I can hold his hand as he stretches it out to grab something, someone. I can love him with all my senses and not just my mind and body as I did when he was in utero. Goodness, how God must love us then in turn too.
I can love Matthew now, at 1 am and 4 am, and at 6 am when he cries again tonight. I can love him now as I nurse and as I pump and as I bottle feed. I can love him now and tomorrow and everyday till forever. And maybe, if I keep praying and seeking my Heavenly Father and asking him to teach me how to mother and maybe if I keep self talking the groaning and grumbling and selfishness will keep melting away in God’s love for me and my love in turn for Matthew.
“…Spirit-led parenting doesn’t work like that. And the reason for this is yet another radical idea: the first year should be less about training our babies and more about God developing us as parents and human beings. If we let Him, God can use that first intense year of baby’s life to TRAIN US how to live a life that is fully surrendered to Him. To cultivate in us a trust that follows His lead, seeks Him first, and understands His grace.” -Spirit-Led Parenting by Tietz & Oyer