Tuesday, December 14, 2010

becoming the mother

(a little practice we did of Pea's outfit for Christmas Sunday :))

As I find my way through motherhood I am learning that I am the kind of mom that is okay with my babies needing me a few times through the night. I have discovered that I don't expect or need them to sleep all night long when they are little. It is sort of a joy to spend those dark minutes cuddled up in the rocking chair together. I was much more regimented and scheduled with George, and though it was awesome that he was sleeping through the night at 5 months, I am learning that I am not that mother any more. I still had a lot of school teacher in me right after he was born :).

John teases me that I spoil Pearl more than I did George, but the truth is really that I am just figuring out what feels right for ME, as a mother, trusting those things, and moving forward.

It feels more right to me to nurse my baby when she cries at night rather than let her cry it out. It feels more right to me to give her extra cuddles and reassurance when she is clingy rather than get impatient and frustrated that she won't "just go to sleep." I don't feel like I need to make excuses for these things or feel guilty for them-- I feel like I am finding myself as a mother more and more, and I am so grateful to be figuring out what works best in my home, with my children.

I remember feeling so completely conflicted and burdened at the thought of letting George cry it out. So many people told me it was a necessary part of parenting at that stage. (Though I am realizing right now that my own mother was one who told me the opposite-- and I cannot for the life of me remember why I didn't just listen to her.) I believed them, and though things turned out just fine (and I was really grateful that he was such a good sleeper), I cannot get over the peace that comes from following my mother-heart. It feels like freedom, to be honest.

Along those lines, I just came back into my room from nursing Pearl to sleep. For the THIRD time tonight (it is only 9:12). Not sure what is going on with her right now. I'm hoping and praying it will be a short-lived phase because it gets a little more difficult to be upbeat and grateful when you are needed 7 times throughout the night :). Her need clearly isn't nourishment (have you seen those thighs lately?), but I am actually pretty happy to still be nursing her a few times throughout the night. I REALLY want to keep my milk supply up and continue to get her as many of her calories through breastmilk as possible. Nursing is like an addictive drug to me. I love it so much.

Other things I could be addicted to?

Pregnancy. Childbirth. Babies.

I know I sound like a ridiculous, stereo-typical baby-making machine, but really, I can't help myself. I didn't know I would be like this (though I could have expected it-- the two women I admire most in the world honored pregnancy, childbirth, and having children as sacred and miraculous and the greatest blessing in their lives), and I surprise myself sometimes when I get that feeling of wanting to add another baby to our family. I almost want to talk myself out of it. Pearl is only 9 months, it is too soon! It took me SO long to feel ready for baby #2, but baby #3? I was ready months ago.

This isn't an announcement, and I don't plan on being pregnant any time soon. I am just sharing some thoughts. I just really love being pregnant. And I really love giving birth. And I really love breastfeeding. And I feel like the window of time in my life that I get to do/be those things is so small in comparison to everything else and I want to squeeze and wring every last drop out of it all.

This wasn't the post that I sat down to write tonight, but it just kind of happened. I guess the point is that I am feeling really grateful to be a mother, to have the opportunity to discover what being a mother means for me, specifically, and to be surrounded by so many good mothers who have taught me the essence of mothering. I feel really humbled and thankful.

Here are a few pictures of my littlest. I just love her so. (I just realized that all of these pictures were taken in the same spot-- the deliciously soft and delightful rug in her room (we call it our "plush piece of heaven" and can often be found hanging out there). There must be good light in her room or something, I didn't realize that I gravitate there to snap photos.












These next four pictures are taken one right after another of Pearl discovering her headband, discovering she doesn't like it, and pulling it off.

And then I put her down to sleep and was most impressed by the crazy wave that her funny hair was doing so I snapped a picture. Goodnight!


Katrina said...

"I cannot get over the peace that comes from following my mother-heart. It feels like freedom, to be honest."

LOVE this. I feel so blessed that I've been able to do this too. I rarely feel the need to seek outside advice when it comes to mothering my babies. (My older stepkids are another story!) My biggest piece of advice for new moms is just to follow your instincts. Feed and cuddle babies when they are upset and stop worrying about schedules. At least for the first few months, I think this almost always works.

Lemme said...

i just love your raw and honest posts...it makes me so excited to be a mother (any day now!). I also love the butt riffles on little girl clothes!!

Jill said...

You are so beautiful Liz and you have gorgeous children. You are a wonderful mother and I hope to share those same sort feelings and follow my "motherheart" someday. Lovely post. Thank you.

Cam and Linds said...

Oh my goodness!! Could she be any cuter!! Adorable Liz!

Katie said...

Pearl is so adorable! Oh I just love her.

I felt like with my second baby I was in such a better position to treasure every moment. With Lucy I kept wondering when she would do the "next thing" but with David I realized how quickly that time passed and I found myself living so much more in the moment. I loved getting up with him in the night and having our time together (I was also glad when we taught him how to sleep through the night, but honestly-YOU'RE the Mom on this one). Thanks for the thought provoking post. ;)

Jenny said...

You are doing such a great job! Your kids are so lucky to have you:).

Hot Hot JJ said...

Another beautiful post. Your children are so beautiful. Gives me inspiration to play in Photoshop a little more because you in inspire me!

Emily said...

Sigh... I actually could echo nearly every thought you so beautifully put into words. With my first I felt so much pressure to conform and have my baby conform to something that I was not. With #2, I was (and am) so much more relaxed and confident and I just love it.
And ditto on the addicted to babies/pregnancy/childbirth. Aren't we sooo lucky to be women and experience all of that!?

Mama Janet said...

You are such a special daughter, mother, sister and friend. What a beautiful post. I can't believe how lucky I am to have you in my life.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sweetheart! I haven't been on your blog forever! I've been busy with Baby K...OK, so these are the coolest pictures of your baby! And, I love what you say about being a mother...It truly has been the light of my life having a daughter and lately a grandaughter...nothing better! I don't know if Jes has talked to you yet, I told her Aunt Carmie said you didn't know if she liked the photos! Oh my gosh, ok, she loved them, made a Christmas card with one and a really cool book with about 10 of her favorite pics in it that she gave me and other G'ma's for Christmas...I can't wait to show you! Oh, yes, we love the photos SO MUCH! You're the best! Want to see you soon! Love you! Terry