Thursday, November 6, 2014

gospel mama: part 3

I checked my voicemail yesterday. It was an old friend, whom I hadn’t talked to in a few years.

“Hey, Carrie! I have been thinking about you so much lately. The other night I was up four times with the baby, and all I could think was, ‘How did Carrie do this for so many years?’ Hahaha! Call me so we can catch up!”

This is the 87 bazillionth time someone has called me with this message. It’s how I know that I was right about motherhood being the most horrible wonderful thing that will ever happen to you. It’s also how I now that we had a freak show going for a few years there.

{Come one, come all, see the: Three. Babies. Two. Years. Freak. Show.}

But actually, there are some highlights in life with a new baby that positively rock your whole world. Sure, the not sleeping sucks. Yes, you have horrific healing hurdles after the miracle of childbirth does it's thang to you.

Cling to the good, endure the hard, enjoy the wonder of it all. That's how we make through. Here are a few of the perks of life with baby:

10. Pajamas, yoga pants, and leggings can be worn almost every day. Sure your wardrobe choices are partly inspired by the simple desire not to get spit up or strained peas on your favorite jeans. But the truth is, being comfortable is divine, and there are some seriously cute yoga pants at Target, so live it up, girlSomeday you will have to go out in public again and this "sloppy chic" look will have to go, but for now you finally get to wear cozy things all day long.

9. A whole season of __________ can be watched in a week's worth of naps. I must confess, I kind of wish I had a baby so that I could rewatch seasons 1 and 2 of Downton Abbey. (Those were the only seasons I liked, so I pretend it ended there. Take that, PBS.) Newborns are oblivious to the television, so I could put that baby in a crib or bounce her in a sling and find out all over again if Mary and Matthew will ever figure it out. But I have big kids now, so I am left the hours after 9pm for that kind of stuff, which means I feel like a sleep deprived new mom after staying up until 2am to watch it all. Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to, I guess.

8. Coffee is a refuge. New babies make for tired mamas, and some nights as I dragged myself down the hall for the fifth time, the thought that a vanilla latte awaited me in the morning was like a tonic for my soul. It's the little things that get you through some days.

7. Two hours alone in Target feel like a week at Disneyland. After spending the first few weeks at home, focused on a baby, that first trip out of the house without the baby is so surreal. Suddenly, you remember that you are a human, with thoughts of your own. Mostly, there is this thought, "There is a life beyond a baby, and what in the world have all these people been doing while I have been getting that baby to flip his days and nights to a normal human schedule???... Oh my goodness, those new scarves are so cute!!!" The world is your oyster until you have to go home and fire up the breastpump.

6. Time for books. I used to read while I nursed the baby. I read many good books in fifteen minute intervals. It was heavenly, and made me feel I wasn't actually losing brain cells as I lived out my small life of motherhood. Of course, I was also so tired that I rarely remembered what I read, so maybe I did lose those brain cells after all.

5. Becoming an expert mama. No one knows a baby like the baby's mama. The first time we left our son with a babysitter I wrote six pages of instructionsI described every signal he made for every possible need. I gave her every possible option on how to respond to those signals. I laid out a schedule, told her what to do, when to do it, and what to do if it didn't work. I had studied that baby and I knew him perfectly. I was finally an expert on something in life, and I would use my knowledge for good. (Of course, she ignored everything I suggested and I came home to an over-stimulated mess of a baby, but that's just the way it goes.)

4. Adult conversation becomes a precious commodity. New dads are deserving of great empathy. The minute they come through the front door, their wives bombard them with conversation. We can't help it, we have been thinking about stuff all day and we need to get. it. out. If a friend calls on the phone during the day, we can't wait to tell them half of what we were planning to tell our husband because talking now is better than talking later. Keeping a journal helps hone these words that build up all day, but really, we just want to talk and talk and talk....

3. Friends become your allies. What time did you last feed? How long did your baby sleep last night? Have you read the chapter in the baby book about how to calm/ feed/ play with/ soothe your baby? What did the doctor say about colic? On and on these conversations go between new moms. My closest friendships were forged in the shared experience of having no idea what we were doing with as new moms. We learned together, complained to one another, and encouraged each other every day. It was awesome.

2. Sleep becomes a delicacy. On the days I was really tired, I would walk by my room and glance at my bed with longing. The fan was spinning cool air over the bed, the covers were all fluffy, the pillows looked soft and called to my weary head. When I finally did get to sink into the bed it was delight like no other. And when my mind would drift beyond wakefulness I knew true joy and peace. Sleeping was heaven, and I was so, so happy.

1. Your regard for your body sky rockets. Sure, pregnancy does some less than pretty things to your body. But birthing babies is like becoming a super hero. Once you realize that your body can grow life like that you realize it's more than a physical thing: your body is a miracle making machine! And, miracle machines can't be held to these silly standards of vanity set by the media. If your body can make babies, who cares if it doesn't look like a super model today? It's in another league now, and so are you. Like a super hero who has learned her true power, you will change the world by loving another person more than you love yourself. And you live like you never knew you could in that pre-baby season, because everything has changed, and it is all. so. good.

related posts: gospel mama: part 1 and gospel mama: part 2

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