Real Motherhood

It's 3:00am and I haven't yet met up with sleep. Peaches is fussy. She doesn't want to stop nursing at all but can't handle the milk load when she continues. I don't mind feeding her. I do mind the projectile spitting. And the crying when her stomach has exceeded capacity. I assume that she is increasing her milk supply so that she can grow and grow. But I'm tired. I take a "real" photo just for something to occupy time. My smile is not how I feel on the inside.

It's 4:00am and I'm frustrated and disappointed. I thought for sure she would have collapsed into sleep from sheer exhaustion by now. Instead, she is screaming. That just succeeds in filling up her stomach with air and more discomfort. She still wants to nurse. I let her. Maybe this time she'll just fall asleep...

It's 5:00am and I am now crying with her. I don't mind losing sleep but the physiological affect of sleep loss is nothing to be trifled with. I feel terrible and weepy. It's one thing to lay in bed unable to sleep... another to have to bounce and walk and care for someone in the wee hours. I sometimes feel emotionally caught between anger and compassion. I purposefully look at her face so that I can muster compassion for her helplessness.

It's 5:30am and I have just roused Cookie. I need your help. And she immediately rises and begins to love her sister. I lay on the couch and wait for the big sister to work her baby magic. I listen to her singing lullabies and hear the gentle compassion in her voice. It was a good idea to wake her. Sometimes we need other people so that we can love better.

It's 6:00am and I am finally laying down to sleep. Hoping for a few hours but willing to take any.

It's 8:30am and I hear the baby yell out loudly. I know by the volume that she has probably been giving little sounds and signals for a while. The yell is her I need attention NOW tone and I jump up to hold her. I reluctantly look at the clock. Not enough. It wasn't enough time. And she is bright eyed again.

It's 9:30am and she finally falls deeply asleep in my arms. I lay down with her on the couch and we sleep deeply together.

It's 10:00am and the phone rings loudly. I know the rest of the world is awake and that this is a reasonable time to call... but it grates on me. I just want to sleep. I cannot answer it without disturbing the baby and I lay there unable to return to sleep, knowing that the person who called back will try again soon. I admire my beautiful sleeping daughter and know that this is a small trial. I'll take it over battles for souls. It hurts but I can do it. I kiss her head and sigh and let a few tears fall.

It's 10:30am and the phone rings again. I was waiting for it but I lay still with my hand over baby's ear. It stops and my cell phone rings as the person tries harder to get in touch. Children start to roam around my part of the house and someone answers the phone. And I know... there will be no sleep for me again until I get another shot at it tonight.

It's 11:00am and Button offers to take the baby. I gladly agree and get up to... to do what? I am not hungry. I am not focused. I wander into this room and leave the light off and breathe in the alone moment. I remember the photo I took at 3am and decide to write until I recognize God's grace in the words.

This is real motherhood. It is ugly and beautiful and terrifying and freeing. Jesus asks me to hold my baby when she needs me. So I hold my child and love her when I do not feel like it. I try to imitate our Lord and pour myself out in love. It is not something that I thought of consciously during the night... but it is a decision that I make over and over again. And He blesses it. And there are many weary mornings... and many, many joys.

God is good. He does not sleep when I need Him. He holds me when I cry and walks with me when I need someone near. Even when I cannot be consoled, He stays with me. I am blessed beyond measure.

I hear Peaches asking for me again... with her little grunts and whines. One step at a time, mama... just love her in the moment and don't fret. Jesus wants you to hold her again. Can you do that? Yes.

Posted on August 8, 2013 and filed under "family life", "motherhood".