Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dear New Mother,

A few days ago, we had the privilege of opening our home up to a young family with their first newborn child. While we had a lovely time, their baby was a little unhappy (not colicky, just crying -- as if he could not quite get comfortable). As any new, caring mother would, the Mommy nursed, held, and rocked the baby to no avail. I could tell she was worn out and just wanted to go home and go to sleep (and put the squirmy bundle to bed).

Anyway, my heart just went out to her as my own memories were stirred, and past-recent feelings quickly flooded to the surface. I knew I should have spoken to her my "words of comfort" (not really knowing if they applied to her or not). But, I didn't say anything. So, I emailed her later my thoughts. [I'm sorry I wasn't brave enough to vocalize them, if you read this!]

Now, I don't really think these words helped her, but it sure helped me to write out these thoughts of mine, as I don't think I had gotten them out of me yet! Because I need this pondering of mine recorded in my journal (and this site is my family and personal journal), I am including the email below:

"I know how hard it is to go out with newborns especially. Conscientious of their every breath and attending to their needs and making sure they're okay and don't need anything, hoping all will go smoothly -- they'll nap and nurse like perfect angels, never whimper ;) -- not wanting to impose on anyone or disrupt them or me thinking that my baby might be annoying people with their crying... Most of all, the hardest thing for me (which I didn't realize was true until I read it on a blog and realized just how this articulated my feelings as a mother) was that each cry felt like a little dagger, from my precious baby directed at me, as if to accuse me, "You are a failure of a mother. I have a need and you aren't meeting it. You are a failure." And, it was true (for me). I would feel like this every time my baby would cry. And when we were out, it was worse because then I would feel embarrassed (I'd think "now others know and see and must agree that I am a failure and must be doing something wrong or he wouldn't be crying (like this)"). I always prayed everything would be quick, so I could get in and out without my babe causing a ruckus that made me want to hang my head in shame. That's one reason why I hated going anywhere with my baby -- to avoid the judgement from others (that I felt, whether it was real or not) about my mothering ability. Anyway, no pat answer. Just recognition for me. Satan's lie over me was evident once I saw it written out -- because I am not a failure of a mother. I love my kids, keep them safe, warm, fed, and give them lots of attention and affection. Most kids in the world cannot say that. Remember: babies cry and that's their job. Check them and meet their needs. Hold them and be near them. If they still cry, just shrug it (not them) off. It is not a reflection on your mothering ability.