Parenting: “Doing it right”

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The carseat also works for naps.

I’ve recently found a new determination to make sure Cody naps.  In a search for different methods, I kept hearing people say how much “Babywise” had helped their baby sleep through the night and nap.  Sounding like a great deal, I bought the book on my kindle and immediately started trying “cry it out.”  Cody cried, and I did, too.  Every time I would go in to calm him, he would look at me like, “why are you abandoning me,” and my mother heart just couldn’t take it.  Immediately, I looked up “no cry” methods and found “The No Cry Nap Solution.”  This book has helped so much in getting Cody to nap.  I simply follow his tired cues, and stay in the room with him for the allotted time it takes for him to fall asleep (usually about 15 minutes, which is how long he would have to cry before he slept, anyway).  I just take my laptop in and check facebook while he settles in and gets cozy.  

Not long after I read this article. 

Here’s the thing, though…as mothers, we feel pressure to do things certain ways.  Cry it out or no cry, baby wearing or strollers, cloth diapering or disposables, breastfeeding or formula (not to mention exclusive breastfeeding or pumping/bottles).  We could keep adding to this list all day long and not feel any better about ourselves, and there is compelling evidence for each and every side.  The whole experience I just mentioned made me realise that the best thing we can do is go with our motherly instincts and do what works for our baby.  It probably won’t have a label or be one side or the other, and that’s okay.  I was thinking all of this, and then my friend posted this article on facebook, and my heart cried out in delight at the fact that someone could put this into words in such a beautiful way (and, by the way, I totally relate to the mom-in-law story at the beginning of the article).

I feel so much more at peace knowing that I don’t have to choose a side, and no one is a bad mother for doing what works for her baby.  Lets join together and agree that every mom (mum) is doing the best she can to do the best for her child.

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Double Rainbow all the way across the sky

Grüße aus dem Regenbogenland...

 
PHoto by Claude@Munich via Flickr
Soon after we moved to Australia, I got a job at a local tea shop.  I had to drive about 40 minutes to get to or from work each time, and sometimes the drive would get a bit monotonous.  One rainy day after work, I saw three rainbows.  I couldn’t believe it, and I thanked God the whole way home for His promises and symbols of His promises.

Recently, the Lord has weighed on my heart to use this year as a time to learn how to give…to be others centered instead of so focused on my own needs.  Simple things like sharing my gluten free cookies at church even though everyone else can eat all the other things available…like making meals for families in need at church…like crocheting things for women that need encouragement…you get the idea.  I was baffled to realise how me-focused I’ve been.

Today, as I reflected on other ways I could give back, I thought about the nature of God.  He gives so freely and so regularly.  He enjoys giving…takes delight in giving.  The day I saw the rainbows, I knew God was giving me some encouragement and beauty on my drive home.  And each day He does this for me.  Sometimes I see it, and other times I don’t.  What I do know, though, is I want to strive to be more like Jesus.  I want to give freely and take absolute joy in each way that I give, whether others notice or not.

What are your favorite ways to give?

Letting go a little more

Daniel asked me “What’s wrong” tonight, and I didn’t know how to answer.  I knew I felt emotionally shaky but couldn’t figure out the source.  

Today, my little man took a bottle for the first time.  This might sound silly to get upset over, but with all the trouble I’ve had with breastfeeding, I want to be the only source of his nutrition.  The bottle was a madela calma, which works like a breast (in that Cody will have to suck to get the milk), and it contained breastmilk I pumped, so it’s not like it wasn’t coming from me.  But in that moment, I missed him.  I was sitting right there with him feeding him, but I missed him.  

I start working next week.  I teach piano and will only be teaching a few lessons after school 3 days a week.  It’s a wonderful situation for a mother, but I feel nervous nonetheless.  Daniel will watch Cody when he’s not traveling for work.  Enter bottle for feeding.  I will still feed Cody during lessons at times, and I’m not sure how that will go…how distracting it will be to the students and myself, and how hard it will be to not just be focused on my beautiful son.  When I’m not feeding Cody, I will miss him.  I will miss these days of it only being the two of us duding it through the day and not worrying about a work schedule or people showing up 3 days a week.  Who knows, maybe I will have to go back to this if working doesn’t work out–a tempting thought.  My wish is that I will be able to process this next step of letting go a little more and that teaching will be something of my own that I will enjoy in the years ahead.  When he’s a little bigger, it might be easier…because he won’t need me for feeding anymore and he will be too active to have with me in lessons.  

I think it’s true what they say…that when you have a child, it’s like having a piece of your heart walking around outside of you.  And mothering is forever a process of letting go a little more.  I just hope I can keep up and not be discouraged by the letting go but encouraged by the man my son will become.

What they don’t tell you about post partum recovery

  • You may have a plan for just after the birth, but if something during the birth goes differently, your plan will have to change.  I wanted to have skin to skin in the pool and breastfeed immediately after the birth.  I wanted Cody to do the breast crawl and have Daniel, me and Cody in a peaceful little after birth bubble.  The reality ended up being that I tore and bled, so I needed to immediately get out of the pool holding Cody, who was still attached to me, and lay on the wood floor so that the midwives could evaluate my tear and make sure everything was okay.  I felt faint and exhausted.  The floor quickly became uncomfortable, and it took over an hour to get the placenta out, the cord cut, the stitches evaluated, and the baby breastfed.  By the time I left that spot on the floor, my bottom was sore and numb at the same time.  Not exactly picture perfect.
  • Even with a home birth, if you have stitches, there will be a good chunk of time when you’re not with your baby.  I remember getting to the end of the day and feeling like I had hardly seen my son.  Between showering, eating, getting stitched up, and resting, I had very small glimpses of Cody, mostly to try to breastfeed, which was confusing and not at all what I thought it would be (as you know if you’ve been reading my blog long).
  • If you lose a lot of blood, you will feel more faint than you’ve ever felt in your life.  This is not just a slight fainting feeling.  This is an “Oh my gosh, the world around me is feeling very unstable, I can’t stand up, and I know I’m going to black out any second and hope I have time and energy to tell someone.” I had to be dragged from the bed to the bath on a blow up mattress.  Thank the good Lord for my husband and midwife for all they did to take care of me that day.
  • Breastfeeding is hard work.  ‘Nuff said.
  • You won’t be exercising a week after you have the baby (yes, I thought this would be possible since I was going all natural).
  • If you have tearing, it will take FOREVER to heal.  I’m now 10 weeks post partum and still feel tugging and discomfort on a daily basis.
  • The weight will not just melt off, even if you’re breastfeeding.  Granted, I gained probably 60 lbs or more, but I cannot seem to get the last 40 off.  Terrible.  
  • Placenta capsules are a God-send.  I truly believe God doesn’t waste anything, and the placenta is a wonderful tool He has given us for recovering from birth.  On the days where I felt the most emotional, I could pop these and felt SO much better.  Made a world of difference.
  • Speaking of emotions, you will cry.  You will cry more than ever before and about the most ridiculous things you could ever think of.  The first few days, I cried because Cody is so beautiful and I was so happy (a pretty good reason to shed tears of joy, but these were a lot of tears, not just a glistening).  When I had to supplement with formula, I cried because Cody “didn’t smell like my baby” (formula smells very different to breastmilk.  He hasn’t smelled quite the same since).  Every joke Hubby made, I cried.  These are just a few examples.  I’m surprised I didn’t dehydrate from all the tears I shed.
  • Your body won’t be the same.  Okay, I knew this one, but seriously…I still look at least 3 months pregnant and have stretch marks, can’t lose the weight, have mondo boobs (not a bad thing, but I’m not used to having to worry about cleavage so much), and don’t feel normal down yonder because of my stitches.  I have only just recently been able to get rid of these massive chapped areas I had on the corners of my mouth that I finally found out were caused by a vitamin c deficiency.  I know to allow myself a lot of time to get back to normal, but I will be so excited to fit in my jeans and button them up again…*sigh* one day.

All this to say, postpartum has been the hardest part of pregnancy/birth, and I truly didn’t expect the curveballs I’ve been thrown.  Like I said above, I’m now 10 weeks post partum, and I’m only just starting to feel normal in my day to day life.  

What were you surprised about with your post partum recovery?  What would you add to this list?