(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!