Jan 1, 2013

It’s Not Supposed to be Easy

     James Patrick turned 6 weeks today.  That means he graduated from newborn to infant.  And maybe I’m technically not postpartum anymore, I’m not sure.  These past 6 weeks have easily been the hardest of my life.


    “Wait, Laura…you meant to say the happiest, right?! Like you can’t remember life before little James came along?!”


     Nope, you heard me correctly the first time, these days have been plenty happy, but definitely hard. You see, before the baby came along.. I was selfish. Nothing out of the ordinary, but I did what I wanted when I wanted. I liked control, plans, schedules, me time, socializing and well…doing what I wanted. I envisioned a quiet little baby just fitting into my life. I looked forward to drinking cups of tea in the morning while rocking my sweet little one.  Reality: I have not finished an entire cup of tea for the past 6 weeks.  I’ve learned that a shower is a luxury, not a necessity, and that you won’t die of hunger if you don’t have breakfast until noon.  I’ve learned it might take you three weeks to write a blog post and that prayer and devotion time is recognizable only as a plea for grace through gritted teeth as you try {for the hundredth time that day} to decode the baby’s cry.  Conversation with your husband consists mostly of “Hey, what color was the baby’s poop?”  I figured I would happily continue to see my friends/family to my hearts desire- I did not envision a little one that HATES the car and car seat. I never thought I would contract flat-butt syndrome from so many hours spent in the same position nursing, but being thankful for the periods of time when the baby does let me sit! I’ve learned that ‘sleep while the baby’ sleeps only works if you don’t have some crazy postpartum-induced insomnia. I’ve felt the resentment rise up in me when Marcus is able to calm the baby in minutes after I have tried for an hour. I’ve experienced the mild heartbreak of watching James’ suffer through unpleasant acid reflux.  I understand now that I am most certainly NOT our baby’s baby whisperer!  And while I replayed complained about all these things I’ve learned to God, whining about how hard it is {and I only have ONE!!}, he revealed to me: It is not supposed to be easy!

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      Being a wife and mother is my vocation which means Marcus & James are the means in which I am working out my salvation-they are my path to heaven.  And it is not easy to get to heaven.  Remember the whole ‘camel through the eye of a needle’ bit from the gospel of Matthew?  You can call me camel.  James’ through me for a loop since before he came I was all convinced I was such a selfless wife and had laid down my life for Marcus & Christ. Let’s be real, though- I am a newlywed who has enjoyed numerous blessings and little hardship thus far.  Laying down your life for an incredibly handsome man who doesn’t need to be nursed, changed, burped and swaddled is entirely different from giving yourself to your child. For the very first time in my life I have had to truly give my body & exist for somebody else.  I’ve had the ultimate opportunity to imitate Christ. And it is definitely has not been easy!


James & Mama after a very, VERY long night!

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      I’m so grateful for the past 6 weeks, mostly because they have been so hard.  I’ve been stretched and I can feel I am growing.  I don’t think I have ever heard the Lord whisper to me as much as I have since sweet James came along.  When I am bouncing around in circles at midnight, my eyes meet the Crucifix and I am reminded how to love.  When I am frustrated because I just want to go to sit down but James wants me to walk around, I hear God urge me, give of yourself, give a little bit more of your self..  And when the nursing is not going the way I want and I’m tired of trying, I know God is telling me..You don’t want to, you don’t think you can…but I can give you the grace.   If there was any way to sum up how I have survived the exhausting newborn days it would be simple: grace.  Through grace I’ve been able to have the humility to accept help from others, through grace I’ve been able to care for James’ when I feel like I can’t do it anymore. And through grace, God has bestowed unspeakable joy to me through my son.


     All hardships aside, James Patrick has truly stolen my heart. There is SO much I want to remember from these first 6 weeks.

~How perfectly perfect you were while I was recovering. I am not sure I heard you cry in those first two weeks, without very good reason. You were sleepy, yet gazed into my eyes whenever I looked at you

~the way you do a little tin soldier pose and go cross-eyed when you need to get things moving toward the diaper

~Your little cry, which sounds like ‘Maaa, Ma!’ to your daddy & I

~watching you smile yourself to sleep

~your hands, always folded underneath your chin, as if you were constantly praying

~your grunty, grunty little grunts. It’s no wonder we refer to you as Pookie, our potbelly pig

~your disdain for the carseat, but mostly how you are obsessed with staring at the handle and the designs on the shade

~your love for all things white noise- running water, the dryer, but mostly the fan in the bathroom

~you’ve smiled at mama a couple of times, but I’ll remember the way you smile like a fool for your daddy nearly every time you see him. {starting around 5 wks}

~Sleeping with you on my chest in the early morning

~your love for lights and the black robe hanging on the white door in the bathroom

~gurgly coos, sweet sighs and constant sneezes when you are awake and breathy ahahahas when you are going to sleep

~and can you ever stare! Those dark blue eyes love the birds on your bouncer..you win every staring contest with them

~the way your daddy & I just kept you nakey {with a diaper} for those first couple weeks. We couldn’t be bothered with those difficult to get on onesies. We would double swaddle you in two blankets instead

~I definitely won’t forget you peeing on the Nurse Practitioner… she SO deserved it..telling your mama & daddy we needed to supplement because you were not making enough diapers. Well played, son.

~Speaking of NOT supplementing..guess who is 10.5 lbs?

~And yes, I’ll remember all the crying. The gas pain & the acid reflux. The way your face turns bright red and you let out a painful cry :( The arched back and mucusy spit-up

~I’ve never met a baby that ate his own spit-up. You also make a chewing motion..we tell you that you are chewing your cud. DEEESGUSTING!

~ your eyelashes..is it me or are they getting darker and longer by the minute?

~the sweet way you always sit so nice for Cecilia and Thomas. Or anybody else, rather…just to make sure you pass Mama off as crazy when she complains about your fussiness ;)

~the way you scratch your fingers, seemingly feeling anything and everything! It used to be your face but now it is your clothes, my chest {yooouuuch!}, blankets, your Lamaze toys

~the hilarity of watching you gag your reflux medicine down

~your dramatic eyebrows

~when you ‘ghost nurse’ in your sleep or after you are done eating!


and so, so, so much more!!! I know as time passes, the hard nights will fade in my memory and I’ll long for the littleness of this stage. In the meantime, I can count on God’s mercy to bring me more sweet times with my little man and the selflessness I need to be a faithful mama.

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1 comment:

Ashley said...

Well said Laura. Thanks for somehow getting to write this.


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