remembering.

thinking a lot about the last time i held a newborn in my arms.  thinking about things that were good, and things i wish i would’ve done differently.  thinking about the uniqueness of each family — of all the personalities and preferences living under one roof and asked to get along; of the demands life asks of each father, mother, child, and how they are different; of how much this verse has impacted my thoughts on mothering, and how i want to delight to give my body, time, and life to my children (and you, too, hubby! — you’re right in the middle of this mix).

i stumbled upon this post today and was remembering those early days of Jones’s life.  i strongly dislike how sharing my thoughts and experiences in the area of newborn parenting makes me feel as if i am choosing a side.  so let me say that i have come to a solid and firm belief that all families and their situations, personalities, pasts, likes and dislikes are different, which necessarily demands that all families be different.  as christians, our theology and beliefs should be the same, centered on the Word of God and the person of Jesus, but our implementation of beliefs and doctrines can and should be various — we are one body with many parts, and are called to be unified, even in our differences. i have no desire to make others feel unincluded, ostracized, or wrong in their choices.  this is my heart, please know it!

this part of the post in particular struck me as i think about Jones’s first months and the first months of this next little guy:

I can write this now as a Not Quite Shiny Mama, a mama who looks back on those days with such regret. Not the aching, desperate kind of regret that follows me around all day. Nah. Just the resigned regret of knowing I missed out on such sweetness in D’s earliest days. I missed out on having her sleep contently on my chest (as AJ is doing at this very moment). I missed nuzzling and snuggling her off to sleep. I missed experiencing the unforced rhythms of life with a newborn because I was so angry that she wouldn’t sleep when she was “supposed to”. I couldn’t allow myself the joy of getting to know her amazing and vibrant personality because I was too busy fretting over how I was failing her. If only I had possessed a crystal ball in those days . . . some manner of seeing into the future and being able to be assured that yes, D would eventually be able to go to sleep without being rocked for even a minute. That, indeed, she would sleep through the night. It didn’t happen until she was around two, but it happened. And it’s wonderful. And she’s wonderful. And I did not fail her.

the post is good, gentle, and full of wisdom.  here’s a link to a few of my own posts on the subject, written more than a year ago.  if you have any thoughts to add, please do, with freedom and with grace.  we are all learning how to stumble through this mothering minefield!  encouragement is always needed.

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4 thoughts on “remembering.

  1. Thanks for this post Jamie (and for the link to Sorta Crunchy – awesome blog!). I have been praying about walking the line between trying to “be prepared” as much as one can be for our baby, and just rolling with things when he or she arrives, learning as we go what works for us. I am definitely the type of person who likes to face any situation armed with as much information as possible, so all the baby books and blogs are like catnip to me in some ways. 🙂 I think it is good to try to absorb what other parents have done and listen to their advice (after all, they have more experience than I do). But it’s hard to do that and not feel like there must be “the one way” to do things. Fortunately I have a personality that is generally impervious to peer pressure, so I’m hoping that stubbornness will serve me well in learning to parent our baby the way he or she needs, without too much outside pressure. 🙂 But we’ll see. Lots of prayer is definitely in order!

  2. Jamie—

    I’ve been wanting to respond to some of your earlier posts (and recent ones) regarding parenting styles, but have not because, well, because. Now that you’ve invited thoughts, though, I think I will share a few of mine.

    Let the record show that I am a type-A, linear thinking, list loving, schedule freak, so that may shed some light on my choices. We do implement Babywise, and I am sorry that it caused you so much grief. Though we aren’t to the teething stage, I have PLENTY of experience with “the plan” not working as Anson has severe reflux, was colicky until 3 months old, still is cranky in the evenings (at 4.5 months), and is a chronic 45 minute napper (despite my best efforts!). For us, though, our routine is sometimes the only thing that keeps us sane. If we just fed him whenever he was fussy/crying, he would be eating all day and night. So for us, we enjoy the predictability of our routine/schedule.

    Two common criticisms of Babywise is that children are underfed and lactating mothers lose their supply. My child has almost tripled his birthweight— his is not a face of a undernourished baby! As far as supply goes, I am VERY careful about that— I pay attention to possible growth spurts (and feed accordingly), get plenty to eat and drink (and have even tried beer to get it up!), and pump every morning (and sometimes after feeds, just for extra stimulation).

    When it comes to naps and sleep, teaching your child to soothe himself is not just a selfish one… babies need sleep! Though sleeping through the night is a plus for moms and dads (and helps them be better moms and dads), it really benefits the child— uninterrupted sleep is irreplaceable. It seems that the more people I talk to, the more I hear that (with the exception of babywise kids), their kids don’t sleep through the night until ONE OR TWO YEARS OLD. Not only does this seem unhealthy for the child, it can’t make for very energized parents. Do I miss rocking and cuddling with the boy? Sure. I do take it when I can get it, but not to his detriment.

    So those are some of my thoughts. Families do need to do what works for them… Before Anson was born, I was dead set on using Babywise. When the crankster arrived, though, I drew from other books as well. The funny thing about Babywise is that it is Parent Directed… meaning you, as the parent, use your brain and do what is best for your baby. Go figure. We did that and have a healthy, [mostly] well rested, happy kiddo.

    You have a good brain, so I’m sure you’ll do well for boy #2. (name???)

  3. Sorry— one more thought about feeding—

    This is totally second hand, but a friend of mine told me her pediatrician told her that if you add new milk to old milk sitting in the kid’s stomach too soon, it can cause stomach problems. Babies need time to digest.

    Also, feeding a baby whenever it fusses (this is what I think of when I think of “feeding on cue,” as it is sometimes almost impossible to figure out why the kid is crying) seems to promote eating for comfort. Since being overweight runs in our families, this doesn’t seem like a good habit to get in. Just thoughts.

  4. bethany– stubbornness, eh?? 😉 impervious to peer pressure? i think that will definitely serve you 😉 and baby books and info were most definitely “catnip” for me, too!!! 🙂 i couldn’t read anything but baby related stuff when i was pregnant the first time (now i’m reading a lot more toddler-related stuff). it is so good and necessary and helpful to be informed and to be read up on what to expect, and to have an idea in mind of what you’d like to do! there are so many unknowns, mamas would go insane otherwise. 😉 it is nice, though, to feel a little more confident than freaked out about a baby’s arrival — i must say that i’m enjoying that. 😉 i think you guys will be great parents.

    miranda (and everyone) — i started a comment, and it just got too long, so i’ve just made it a post. i can’t imagine having to deal with reflux — it sounds like you are waaaaay more realistically minded than i was at that stage in parenting. and judging from the pictures and random things you guys did pre-baby, i think you and jason would be super FUN parents, fyi.. wish we could go camping together 🙂

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