the past couple weeks (or more) our little one has been growing immensely. it seems this is his biggest and longest growth leap yet and his first tooth has come in on top of that. (hooray for first teeth!) but my once happy, relaxed baby is now needy and fussy. i feel like i’ve handled it the best i can, but it has been a really difficult time for me. there have been days where i know i've only survived through the grace of god. i’ve had a lot of self doubt and worry that somewhere i have gone wrong. i think we had it so easy the first four months, that this has just kicked us in the booty! also, this is not a pity post. i'm fine, but wanted to share my experience in hope of helping other mama's going through the same thing.
around four months going to sleep became our enemy. suddenly he was screaming and arching his back like i’ve never seen before. many sleepless nights we've had. this is a baby who hardly every cries, so of course i can’t help but cry with him sometimes. i feel like i’m letting him down and for the first time, i really don’t know what he needs. when i can’t figure it out day after day, it gets discouraging. i finally figured out that he was just overly tired and that he would calm right down and fall asleep if i nursed him. it’s strange to do this because he has never been into that. even when he was small he didn’t fall asleep nursing. so we’ve been doing this for a week now and yes i know this is what they say not to do. not to form habits, but teach him to soothe himself. but i just can’t expect that from my little boy.
i know that he finds some magical comfort in me, his mama. and if i can teach him anything, i want it to be that when he needs me i am here for him. even if it means i am offering my whole self for a while. i know this is a season of sacrifice and i won’t be taking care of an infant forever. i know i'll look back and miss these days. and though it is oh so very trying and tiring at times, it is teaching me so many lessons. the past week i’ve been sad and tired and resentful and wishing i could have just one night to sleep and recharge. to say i feel guilty for feeling this way is an understatement. please tell me i'm not the only one who has felt this way! but today was the first day i looked down at him and saw it from a different view. once i pushed my selfish heart aside and thought about the many things he's experiencing, i was humbled. i looked at his beautiful face. peace, security, contentment. i saw the way he immediately relaxed into me and closed his eyes. i listened to his breathing gain a steady rhythm again. i saw all the things i want to instill in him. i finally had answer to a lot of prayer and pleading. but the answer was not that he will sleep the way he used to, which is what i've been asking for. it was for me to see the blessing of being able to nurse my son and comfort him in whatever way that may be. it's a gift to be able to nourish and comfort my child in the most natural form and i've taken that for granted. i was also inspired to reflect on the fact that this is a small moment in time where he and i will have this inner connectedness we can never get back. it is an extraordinary blessing to be a mother and in the wee hours of the morning i've acted like it was a burden. motherhood is hard, of course, but it is also the greatest thing to ever happen to me.
*also, i wanted to share two books that have helped with understanding what he is going through developmentally. i don’t read parenting books because i always just listen to what he is telling me with his cues and feel like i know my baby best, but these are more of a resource to reference when your baby is acting different. the fact of the matter is that babies go through so much in a short time and they are always changing. it's been a while since i was a baby, so i need help sometimes! after being hesitant, i read the sleep one that a friend recommended and was very pleased with it. it has suggestions for any type of parenting style you are, and i like that a lot. i reference the wonder weeks often and definitely recommend it. healthy sleep habits, happy child + the wonder weeks