Tuesday, October 15, 2013

*New Mom Diaries 3-What I Didn't Know*

There are so many things in life I learn as I go. I hear what life will be like from other people, but until I experience something for myself there's really no way to truly know. I've also realized that people have very selective memory including myself so the stories people tell that are twenty years later are not exactly lining up with all the people I know experiencing it NOW. Like the people who had a newborn over twenty years old that say: "Oh, it was just so wonderful and easy" make moms in the thick of it go, huh? All phases of life that seem so huge at one point fade over time into a small montage of memories that remind us of once was. The details and emotions are lost somewhere along the way and we are left with whatever stands out.

I find myself trying to hold on to what Beau is like right now because I know it won't last long. I want to remember the memories because they are so special to me and the sweetness that a newborn brings is nothing short of a gift from God. It's truly one of the best things that ever happens to you. I love my baby so much. I can write that down, but it doesn't do nearly the justice that I feel. I would do anything for him and I love being around him so much. I love playing with him and holding him close. I love the sounds he makes when he sleeps, and how his hair sticks up after a bath. I love finding new things about him like when he's super tired and going to sleep a while, he puts his hand in the air. I call it "The hand of surrender to sleep"…it's so, so cute. He's so adorable and he gives me so much joy.

But that's not the only side to this time…there's a whole other side to it as well. It took me about three weeks of sleep deprivation to get there, but I have finally made it to the land of desperation people speak of. I totally thought in my last blog post that I was going to miss out on that, but it just took a few weeks to finally make it to the point of exhaustion I've never felt before. The one way ticket to crazy town.

Like…I thought it was Tuesday when it was really Thursday.
I slept on spit up and didn't even care because I thought "Well, my tshirt can soak it up"
My emotions are literally on the next level.

It's not parenting that's hard…it's the sleep deprivation. Getting eight hours and then taking care of a newborn would be the best and easiest job EVER. I was reading a book for bible study on how to battle depression as a mom and the main thing was to GET SLEEP. Ummmmm….not really an option here! I DO sleep when the baby sleeps, it's just that two hours here and there just doesn't cut it. That advice from people does not really make it any easier, I still feel like I've been to a bad junior high sleep over all the time. Emotions on almost a month of no sleeping is something I never knew was possible. I have literally turned into nothing short of a lunatic.

They say it's the best thing and hardest thing you'll ever do and it's so true. But they forgot to tell me that it would make me absolutely bonkers. It's that selective memory thing, I think. Who is this person?! And when will she ever have her toenails painted and eyebrows less jungleistic?! And for heavens sake when will she think strait ever again?!

I know times like these shape us and mold us into even better and stronger people. I know the best place we can be in life is being fully aware of our need for the Lord and strength from Him. I'm not wishing away this time because it's one of the most special times I've ever had…but I am fighting through this time as well. It's something I know I'll look back on and be proud of what I did and also scared of how crazy I was. On Duck Dynasty the other day after his son had his wisdom teeth taken out Willie said: "John Luke is sporting some nice crazy eyes to go with his new personality" I am sporting those crazy eyes…I feel ya, John Luke, I feel ya. Only my drug is sleep deprivation and it doesn't feel nearly as good.

Thanks to my many friends with newborns right now and my moms group at church, I know I'm not alone and it's completely normal to sport crazy eyes. That truly helps. We always need someone going through the same things in life to help us make it through and let us know our feelings are NORMAL.  People outside of this phase treat me like I'm still a regular person like: "Hey, are you going to this or that?" Ummm…no…I'm barely alive here actually, but thanks for asking! And "Can I help?" can only be answered truly by "Yes, come take a night shift!!!" but that's not happening, haha. That's really all I need…ONE NIGHT…just ONE NIGHT!!!! *Crazy scream voice*

One day I want to invest in ministry for new moms just like my bible study leader is doing. I didn't know how deep the need there was. Yesterday it was raining and I had been up since 3 am and it's a 30 minute drive to church but I was going to make it there no matter what. I forced myself up and prayed to God that Beau would have peace in the car because I had to go to my moms group regardless of how hard it was to get there. It's like a cool, refreshing drink with like minded people that helps me get my week started right. I NEED that ministry probably more than I've ever needed a ministry in my whole life.

What I didn't know in my former years of looking enviously on the smiling pictures of people with newborns was how happy they truly were…and how desperate at the same time. Those smiles are very real and there's nothing that can brighten up your life like a baby...but oh, I've never felt so much need for encouragement from people and strength from the Lord. Not in my single years, not in college, not in my job. If I wasn't allowed to sleep those times, it would be just as bad but I was able to get those precious eight hours. Eight hours is all it takes for sanity to reign and there's many out there that are not able to get that. I will never ever take sleeping for granted again! It's truly a gift that we are given everyday to help us meet life the way it should be.

Taking care of a newborn would be the easiest thing in the world if they came out sleeping all night…BUT since they don't..it's kinda like trying to take a nap out in a hammock on a tropical island…with a fire set underneath your toosh. Fire-no sleep. Hammock on a tropical island- your baby. I'm so thankful I have the most wonderful husband in the world to be there beside me being so understanding and helpful and strong for me when I'm weak. I don't have my family close, but God gave me the right husband to support me and help me through anything. I love him more than ever because of how he has handled all of this. He is my hero in so many ways. When I cry in a loud cry from exhaustion that scares the cat and makes him run…Brian is always there to hold me close and pick me up. He's never afraid of what any man should be. He's truly amazing. :)

I'm holding my sweet baby right now and my heart swells to levels I can't even explain. He's worth it…he's so very, very worth it. I'd do this forever if it meant being with my little Beau. He has my whole heart wrapped around his tiny, chubby finger. I would never, ever go back…I would go back into this knowing everything that I know now over and over again. I love him…with the true meaning of love. Maybe it's the first time I've ever known so deeply what the TRUE meaning of love is. Giving of oneself when the other can't give much back in return. We are just as needy as a newborn and the Lord is the one that takes care of us and sustains us when we can't do much back. But He finds delight in us like we find delight in our babies. He sacrificed so much when we were unable to do anything for ourselves without him. And the bible does say in Psalms "The one who guards you never sleeps." I get a tiny glimpse of what that relationship is like now that I have this baby in my life. Just a tiny one.

I hear the sleep deprivation phase gets better, so stay tuned….this was written in the thick of the trenches so it won't be forever! Keep fighting new moms, keep fighting! :) We can do this!! With God, everything is possible!!!! Enjoy that cuteness of your baby and how sweet they feel in your arms and don't let the tiredness make you miss out on this precious and fleeting time. Find reasons to laugh everyday…it keeps me going. A smile makes greasy hair and crazy eyes look more appealing anyway. :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

*New Mom Diaries 2- The First Days*

It's been two weeks since I met my baby boy and it might as well of been a lifetime ago. I have never had such a short span of time seem so far away. I look at pictures of the day he was born and he already looks SO different. He grows and changes so much each day.

Right now as I type this, I have my sleeping baby in my arms. MY baby…I still can't believe it when I say that. He rocks slightly back and forth with each letter I type and I can tell he finds it comforting. If only you could hear his little soft snore beneath me and see his sweet face. He is truly a gift. My son…I can't say it enough.

It's hard to believe now, but before I had a baby, I was absolutely terrified. I heard horror story after horror story about the first weeks after giving birth and how your life is over and was honestly scared out of my mind. I am really bad on no sleep, so I didn't know how that was going to work out. There were so many doubts in my mind that I had, you know? Will I be a good mother? Will I know how to make him stop crying? What if I get overwhelmed and fall into major anxiety? Newborns seem so breakable, how will I know what to do? I let my realistic personality take away a lot of the joy that I should have been feeling. If there's anything I've learned in the first days it's this….motherhood,  is so much better than I ever thought or imagined. Motherhood comes more naturally than I ever thought possible. Motherhood does not make you lose your life, it breathes life into you like you've never known.

You hear mothers say "It's worth it" and before I was a mother I didn't understand that. There's no way to explain it, but every hard thing truly is worth it and the good far outweighs any of the bad. I have gotten about three hours of sleep a night in the past two weeks and I wouldn't change that for the world. I wake up to my son and although I am sleepy and my bed has suddenly become much more inviting and comfortable than it was before…the face of my baby boy perks me up and I somehow come to life in the night…over and over and over. We spend many minutes of the night together, but it has truly bonded us together as mother and son.

I remember the very first night I spent with my sweet Beau. I was extremely tired from laboring two nights in a row and having him at 6:29am so I sent him to the nursery just for two hours to get a little bit of sleep. I told them to please send him to me if he was upset, because I really wanted to be there for him. Not long after, the nurses brought him back to me crying and in a fit. He was completely upset and the nurse said that she thought he was just missing me. Sure enough, I took him in my arms and he stopped crying immediately and just looked at me with little loving eyes. I cradled him close and we spent the next few hours sleeping as near to the way we had the past ten months as we could. The nurse smiled when she saw how happy he was and said: "I think he thinks he should still be in the womb!" I just couldn't make myself take away the comfort that our closeness brought him on that first night. And honestly…he's been a part of me, too. I needed him as much as he needed me. I pick him up a lot because I'm used to him being near me- a part of me. It's not easy being separated when you are so used to someone hiccuping and wiggling inside you for so long.

I've already become better at being a mom in the first two weeks and there has definitely been a learning curve. When he first got home, I barely knew how to change a diaper but luckily babies are VERY forgiving. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and fumbling around with his diaper trying to figure out how in the world it goes, and he just stared at me like he didn't care that I had no clue what I was doing.

I barely slept the first few nights he got home (literally about forty five minutes) because I was so busy checking if he was still breathing. When a human being that small is sleeping next to your bedside, it's a little bit unnerving for the first few nights! I would put my hand under him to get a reaction just to make sure he was alive and well! That lasted for about four nights and I am proud to say, I now sleep soundly and am comfortable with him there. But…maybe I still check a few times. ;)

These past fourteen days have been absolutely wonderful for me. Even though I have been recovering, it really has not been that hard at all. I once asked a new mom with a one month old if the past month had been hard. She replied with an answer I'll never forget: "We've wanted this baby for so long. If you want something this bad, it's not hard to do what you need to do."

Maybe that's why it hasn't been that hard for me. This is what I have always wanted my entire life. This is what I have been wanting to wake up to do everyday since I can remember. I look at my baby at this very moment and my heart swells with purpose and meaning and the hard parts just fade away. Sure, I haven't showered, I'm in pain, and I look like I have two black eyes from lack of sleep, but that's what I wanted. Nothing truly meaningful in life comes without a sacrifice.

I truly believe that these days where my baby needs me for everything and I sacrifice even the ability to go to the bathroom or get a drink when I want are the times that will keep us close and bonded forever. We care about the things that we put our heart and souls into. We care about the things we sacrifice for more than anything that is just given to us easily.

Even though it IS full of sacrifices, it has been much easier than I thought. MUCH easier. I think it's because before I couldn't imagine how much I'd love him and how much I'd want to do things for him. Plus, those motherly instincts the Lord gives us are such amazing things and help us new mothers get it done! I feel like I have these new traits inside me that are super powers that I never hard before. I see myself doing these things and wonder who on earth I am. But I really like who I am.

My heart has overflowed with happiness time and time again and I have yet to get too overwhelmed simply because I've made it. I've finally started this journey that I've been waiting to start since I can remember.

So with tired eyes and a pleasant heart….I say goodnight to you. My little love is about to wake up and right now it's my job to put everything else aside for my baby. The one who is entrusted to me for these precious moments that will end far too soon.