By Amy Mason
Please learn more about Amy by visiting her website at www.amyemason.com.
Hey sweet Mama. Here you are, up again in the middle of the night, half-asleep, holding your precious child and nursing. You are probably hoping and praying that this feeding will give you at least a 4 hour stretch of sleep (or longer)! You look enviously at your husband sound asleep and wish you could conveniently sleep through shrieking baby cries like he can.
This is written to the mothers out there who are exhausted, whose night time feedings leave them wondering why it doesn’t come naturally or why it is so much harder than they expected. Getting up at night is stressful and hectic. Once you finally lay your head back down the tears are flowing down your cheeks because you know you’ll be up at it again in about 45 minutes. This was my experience with breastfeeding. The best advice someone gave to me was this: This is a season.
This season can at times make you wonder if you’ve lost your sense of identity. Maybe you’re so tired you can hardly function and you think baby-brain has reduced your once sharp mind to mush. Maybe you look in the mirror at the dark circles under your eyes and the way your body has changed and wonder if you’ll ever get back to normal.
This season is bittersweet and it’s okay to feel that it’s hard sometimes. Motherhood will challenge you for sure. Right now it’s mostly the physical challenge of surviving erratic (if any) sleep and nursing when you’re SURE there is not one more drop of milk left in your body! This season is the aching arms and stiff neck from holding your baby who by some force of their 8 pound body absolutely will not let you put them down. It’s going to bed at 7:30 PM because you sleep when the baby sleeps. It’s lazy mornings in bed adoring your baby’s angelic face even though at 2:00 AM you were sure he was a spawn of the devil and not your child. This season is a blur of days and nights and feeding, sleeping, changing diapers, and doing it all over again. But it’s a season where your baby loves you unconditionally and needs you fully. It’s a season of wonder over how all 10 toes came out so perfect and tiny. It’s scrumptious baby smell and how soft their skin is next to your cheek. It’s chubby little thighs and whole conversations of sweet cooing. This is a precious season.
Suddenly, just as quickly as you became a mother to this baby, you will become a mother to a toddler. Toddlerhood has its beauty in the curiosity and questions and messes. It is the next season full of wonder and challenges of its own.
Will your life ever get back to normal? Well, no. You will never go back to who you were before you became a mom. But you will be a better person than you who you were before. You will know the beauty of sacrifice and the distance you would go for love of your baby. You will be ever loved by this little person who one day will thrill your heart when he finally says, “Mama” for the first time. You will be stronger than you thought as you walk your child through their own struggles. And physically? Those stretch marks and loose skin aren’t scars to abhor - they are beauty marks to adore. They are witness to your participation in the miracle of bringing new life into this world. Your new title “Mom” ushers you into so many possibilities for sisterhood as you meet and share friendship with other lovely ladies who hold your same title! It’s the season that gives birth to all the blessings that come in every season of motherhood.
If you are waiting for this season to be over so you can get a good night of sleep for the love, you will get there soon enough. I promise your child will probably be sleeping through the night before they go to college. The challenge in this season is to be present with your baby despite the difficulty. For now try to soak it all in. Engage all your senses fully in this moment so that when this season does pass you can be at peace knowing you savored it as best you could.
So, for now it is quiet in your room. It’s just you and baby snuggling close. Your little one is safe and you are nourishing them as best you can. These quiet moments with just the two of you go by so fast. Soak them up, smell their soft hair and marvel at their little toes. As they grow so do their problems. For now, you can handle a night time feeding because you know a new season is just around the corner.
Remember, you are a wonderful Mom. You’re never alone. You are surrounded by sisters who are up holding vigil on the night shift with you!