Mommy Brain

Super strange phenomenon.

And it’s only happened to me less than a handful of times. I am sitting with or near one of my kids, they will be gabbing away about something…persistant in getting my attention, of course.

I’m usually super distracted and will try as hard as I can to master the parenting art of Multitasking. Parenting is 99.9% multitasking, mind you. After a few minutes, my annoyance level peaks on about a 3 on the 1 – 5 “Why Did I Have Kids Again?” scale. I break my attention on whatever I was doing and end up looking in my kid’s direction.

My eyes sweep past their tiny frame and I manage to lock eyes with them as they excitedly tell or show me something, seemingly insignificant to me, but they find fascinating. And then I notice it.

The spark of personality. A growing personhood that, in this millisecond, appears complete and whole. And I feel like I didn’t realize that I had a child like them UNTIL THAT VERY MOMENT.

I think, “Holy crap. I’m actually a mom. This is my daughter! Oh, wow. She is so beautiful. Look at her little face!!”

It’s feels like I’ve been away for awhile or in a coma and I’ve only been a mom for a day, actually. Once my emotions catch up with reality, I do realize that I’ve been active and present for many, many more moments. My heart is flooded with images of their births, first feedings, funny and frustrating moments. I relive it all as if my life is flashing before my eyes…but in a good way.

Advertisements

#takingbackpostpartum (part one)

About 5 weeks ago, I gave birth to my son, Noah Michael George. I spent the first few days in awe that God allowed us to have a quiet, uneventful pregnancy & a quick 2 hour labor. My husband and I sat in the hospital room just hours after he was born, anxious to get home with our family.

When my son turned a week old, a dark cloud settled over our home as we struggled through the onset of what turned out to be silent reflux & severe colic that plagues many newborns. Noah screamed all day & night. My mom had gone home by this point and my husband was back at work. We stayed up nights and he rarely napped during the day. I was angry, resentful, and lonely. I actively fought off depression, having been acquainted with the symptoms, but was unable to keep the tears to a minimum. It was a struggle to feed him even though I had an oversupply & was conquering engorgement. The way we’d described him in those days would be “cranky”, “high maintenance”, & “needy”. He hated everything it felt like…and I was not bonding with my son.

I missed spending time with my 2 year old daughter (who was a much easier, more pleasant baby) & I felt myself mourning it just being the three of us. Luckily, my marriage survived this period. I cried in my husband’s arms more time than I can count, but I could see how hard he was working to keep our family afloat.

The turning point for me happened when Noah turned 3 weeks old. My mother-in-law was here to spend a week with us & she, my daughter & husband had left that morning for church. After feeding Noah in the living room, I turned on the tv to catch a local church’s worship service. One of the songs they sang was “It is Well with My Soul”.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well, with my soul

It is well

With my soul

It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul)

It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul)

It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul)

It is well, it is well with my soul

With my son sleeping in my lap, I lifted my hands in worship and wept cleansing tears to my Heavenly Father. The lyrics reverberated deeply in my soul & I felt His presence wash over me.

Things are still hard. However, His grace and strength is more than enough. I’m becoming more acquainted, in this season, with God being my Daily Bread. He gives us exactly what we need, daily.

Glory.

We’ve finally announced it.

…I’m pregnant again. 12 weeks and 5 days to be exact. And while this pregnancy has already been so different from my last pregnancy, I cannot help but remember where I was mentally and emotionally 2 years ago.

I remember being excited and fresh. I also remember not being prepared at all for the news we were going to get in 7 weeks. If you’ve been following, you know how it changed us. But God, in His sovereignty, decided to allow us the gift of seeing our daughter be born healthy and fully developed. Not a day goes by where I don’t consider how differently things could have happened.

So.

Here we are again. Armed with more medical knowledge, more hope, and a bit more spiritual vitality. Because we know that if God “did it before, he can do it again”. Prior to my first appointment with my midwife, I caught myself formulating a Plan B for this pregnancy. A safety net so that the likelihood of pregnancy loss or preterm labor would be next to nothing, spiritual intervention aside. And, it just so happens that I am not eligible for this special medical provision.

So.

Here I am again. Warmed by the growing miracle inside my belly & holding on to the only thing I have/need: A Promise. This promise was spoken to God’s people before. It was a promise of being the vessels of God’s glory.

Isaiah 60:19-21

“No longer will you have the sun for light by day, Nor for brightness will the moon give you light; But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And your God for your glory. “Your sun will no longer set, Nor will your moon wane; For you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And the days of your mourning will be over. “Then all your people will be righteous; They will possess the land forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified.

How crazy is that? God promised them that they wouldn’t need natural means to see & feel light in their lives. He wanted to be so prevalent in their hearts, that the only illumination they would need to see their way, would come through Him. Their glory would be His Glory.

I want my life’s purpose to be to hold and reveal the Glory of God to others and to be used to encourage and inspire others through it. It’s a humbling thought, because God could have chosen a different platform for me to display his Glory. “Why this way?”, I wonder. When I am tempted to question God’s plan for this pregnancy, I train my mind to remember what’s already been spoken.

…the day I took my pregnancy test, I was alone in the bathroom at home. My husband and daughter were in the living room and I managed to sneak away without having my daughter accompany me, as usual. I wasn’t “late” by extreme measures and I was barely symptomatic. I had a feeling and was curious. The moment the test turned positive, I (almost instinctively) placed my hands across my stomach and prayed.

After my “Amen”, I heard, “Joy. Joy this time around.”

Little Me.

So, our little Naomi is coming up on 3 months.

…sheesh…can I just pause and say that happened really quickly?

Anywho.

She’s been doing a really terrifying thing lately:

While I breastfeed her, she will pause and stare at me.

(That’s some hilarious imagery for you, huh?)

No, I am quite serious.

And her stare isn’t, in itself, frightening. Meaning those big ol’ beautiful brown eyes aren’t creepy or eerie. They are very, very intentional. Observant. And almost…”knowing”.

As if whatever secret or shame I am hiding or fronting for at the time, she has already found it. She knows it. This little person stops for a few moments (which feels a lot longer), takes a big, long look at me, & break wide my whole world.

I’m afraid because I remember that soon she won’t be just an ornament on my hip. A super cute, 10 lb. ball of soft flesh wearing a diaper that I can show off on Facebook. Sure, I will blink and she will be an independent, capable young adult who lives her own life and makes her own (hopefully wise) decisions. But, there exists a sliver of time in the near future where she will be at her most impressionable. And not only will she see me, but she will mimic me.

The scariest part?

I can’t control which parts, which moments of mine, she will mimic. “Do as I say, not as I do” has to be the biggest paradox that exists for a parent. And I don’t want too see those big, brown eyes filled with confusion when I chastise her for repeating something that she’s seen her mother do often.

I will naturally try and hide from glances that have a knack for seeing too much of me, too quickly. But I don’t ever want to hide from her.

Not her.

So, after a few moments of Naomi’s glancing up from feeding….

…most of the time, she will giggle or smile at my nervous expression, as if to say,

“Chill, mama. I love you anyway.”

10 Things I Love About You

My daughter turns 1 month old today.

This past week, in particular, has been quite a unique one, because I’m beginning to see small bits of her personality become clearer. I stare at her more often. And she spends more time awake than she has since she was born. I thought I’d create a list of 10 things I find cute/lovely/funny about her. I’m sure in the days/years to come, this list will grow…

10. Naomi loves to cross her ankles while feeding

At first, I thought this was a coincidence, considering I habitually cross my legs/ankles while relaxing, eating, etc. I remember when we went to the mid-pregnancy ultrasound appointment to find out her gender, but couldn’t see her private parts because she was lounging with her ankles crossed. Ha. She’s definitely my child.

9. “The Pirate Eye”

Something unique that she does that I find adorable. While floating in between awake and milk coma stages, she will open only one eye…as if she’s considering whether or not it’s worth waking up yet.

8. Her sleep positions

When asleep, this child looks like she has worked 2 12 hour shifts back-to-back. It’s hilarious…

7. Her lips

Our poor little one has baby acne concentrated around her mouth because her dad and I can’t keep from kissing her little face. Her lips are so distinct and I’m guessing will be one of her many unique physical characteristics.

6. Her eyes

GORGEOUS. The prettiest baby eyes in the history of baby eyes. Hands down.

5. Flatulence

She will “poot” in front of anyone, anywhere, anytime. She could really care less. If she’s being held by the POTUS one day, I suspect he’d better be prepared.

4. Sound sleeper

Hopefully this observation will continue until she’s well into high school, but when in deep sleep, she has slept through 2 hours of jackhammering, noisy street traffic, and loud video games with shooting and car chases.

3. Her smile

There’s nothing cuter than a tooth-less, squinty-eyed, wide-mouthed baby smile. And she has one that will stop your heart for a few seconds.

2. Her chill-ness

I didn’t think I’d have such a chill kid. At least for right now, (when she’s not fussy of course) she is as cool as a cucumber. Not really bothered by much 🙂

1. She’s our miracle

I’ve concluded that she and God conspired about the day she was to be born. Even though we were all worried and concerned that she’d come too early, everything about her points to the fact that she was already in on that little secret from day one. (See number 2)

2014-06-12 21.53.10

1 Week.

2014-05-19 21.43.00

Haiku #1

By: Jill Scott

It was a loud cry

when I was brought to this world

been loud ever since.

To our little Fighter: may your heart grow larger by the minute & your taste for adventure soar far beyond the places where our feet have taken us.

Happy {{1 Week}} Birthday, my sweet girl.

My Little Girl.

I gave birth to my daughter, Naomi, this past Wednesday.

By far, THE most incredible, hardest act that I have and will ever do in life. Hands down. Many people emphasize the pain part, which is definitely noteworthy. But, the amount of focus, patience, and determination it takes to labor a little one into this side of existence is so undersold. There was a split second where I’d actually changed my mind about the whole thing. I wanted to take it all back. It was too great! The whole experience was coming to a head while I labored, and I was overwhelmed by a rush of emotion, pain, pressure, and exhaustion. And no medication was going to make it all go away. It was too late. I was here and I had to do this.

This isn’t an attempt to preach whether I am for natural child birth or medically assisted childbirth, by the way.

…it honestly doesn’t matter, at the end of the day, how your little human being was born. The “how” pales in comparison to all the other aspects, I think. Especially, the “who”. Women are the gateway. Literally. The gateway God uses to introduce life. We spend months protecting and nurturing the Way. We endure tests and examinations where we’re poked, prodded, and sampled. Pregnant women worry over negative anatomical scans, uterine and placental check-ups, and potential health declines. Almost a year’s worth of worry climaxes into a short blink of time (which could stretch up to 48 hours for some women) when labor happens. Biblically, it started out as a part of our curse for disobeying God (Genesis 3:16). But in the light of Jesus’ redemptive power, labor becomes our cause. Simply because God the Father used the processes of pregnancy and labor to bring the world its Messiah. The time that Mary was pregnant with Jesus, she was literally filled with Promise. And the night she birthed Jesus, that promise was fulfilled.

…I understand that, in my own small way…and I think every (pregnant) mother can.

What it is like to hold a Promise closest to your heart, and to trust God with every part of it; both seen and unseen. Known and unknown.

I trusted God to give my little girl life, and NOW I am faced with an even greater act of faith (a daily act, too):

Trusting that God will sustain her life. Believing and claiming that John 10:10 pertains to her as well.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (NIV)

Here she is, guys, my little girl….

Naomi Alese