It's been one month since I gave birth to our wonderful, squirming baby boy. I can't believe he's a month old already and is getting chubby cheeks and chubby hands and chubby thighs. Not to mention the cutest, little tummy I've ever seen or kissed in my entire life. I'm finding that his nap times, while are certainly welcome breaks where I can catch up on some sleep, shower, brush my teeth or actually eat something, leave me watching the clock and wondering when he'll wake up so I can hug him and squeeze him and kiss him some more.
We had a long week. My husband came down with a sore throat that morphed into a full-blown sinus infection and guess who got it next? Me. That'll teach me to kiss my husband when he's sick (actually it probably won't - ha!) but being sick and not being able to sleep it off was really pretty miserable. Joel refused to nap like at all, which left me with some pretty long days, not enough sleep and way too jacked up on NyQuil. A couple mornings ago, after a two-hour ordeal of trying to get Little Man back to sleep, my husband found me standing over our son's crib, sobbing my little heart out. New moms cry. This I know.
I know he won't always be this little or this demanding. I know that as time goes by, we will teach and encourage him to be more and more independent. I'm trying to treasure every second of his littleness, because I know it won't last forever. I know I won't always be waking up every two or three hours to hold him and feed him and go through another package of diapers. I'm slowly adjusting to my new sporadic sleep schedule. It's amazing how love compels you to adapt. Demands it.
A week or so ago I was listening to some praise and worship music in the hopes of refocusing my tired self and Luke 6:45 came to mind: "... for out of the abundance of the heart, (the) mouth speaks." My fatigue was making me impatient and empty. I pretty much walked around in a fog and didn't have many reactions other than to cry whenever my limit had been reached.
So, I started thinking about my attitude. Fatigue or no fatigue, the fact remained that I had (have) a choice. I could keep thinking about how tired I was or I could get over and be thankful for the two hours I have here and there. I could focus on how wonderful and selfless my husband is, how precious our new baby, how blessed and amazing pregnancy and delivery had been, etc. The list goes on and on. Sure, sometimes times are tough... but more often than not, there are full blown blessings everywhere. You just have to change your focus and dial in.
My circumstances haven't changed. I still have a newborn who is a full-time job. I still don't feel like I know what I'm doing and sometimes I exhaust myself and my baby, trying to figure out what is wrong, when all he needs is a new diaper or a bottle. How easy is that? But, I'm learning. We're learning together. I'm used to sleeping when he sleeps and taking really fast showers and eating even faster breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
It's kind of a mind over matter sort of thing. Or looking for the silver lining kind of thing. Or better yet, a committing your way to the Lord kind of thing (Proverbs 16:3). It's kind of like when I was having contractions and going through the process of preparing to give birth to Joel: I couldn't stop what was going on. The contractions owned me. And I got to that point where I looked at my husband and said, "I can't do this anymore!" But I knew, deep down, that I could. And more than that, that I had to. I didn't have a choice. And at 2 a.m. when I want to keep sleeping, but baby is crying and I think, "I can't do this anymore!" I know that I have to. I know that he needs me to. And I know that I can.
Because this is what love does. This is what mothering does. And I know this is just the beginning of loving my son. We're going to go through so many more stages than late night feedings and icky diapers. There's going to be skinned knees and hurt feelings and temper tantrums, unfairness, discipline and girlfriends I don't like. But love is not selfish. And I'm learning how true and precious that is.
I can't say I always have this optimism and focus, especially not when I'm so tired my head could roll off my neck, but I'm trying, because I know the truth. I know the truth of the blessing of our child and I know the blessing of learning to go beyond your own physical limits. That when you say, "I can't do this anymore!" that that's when a wonderful lesson, a gift, is right there... at least that's how it is over here on my side of things.
Love my baby. Love my husband. And love our God who has given it all.