Babies – oh how sweet they are. They are cuddly and squishy
and funny and loveable in so many ways. That’s how they look from the outside.
That’s how the outside sees them.
Babies are also demanding and exhausting and challenging.
That’s how we see them. The we, that is, who are in charge of their feeding and
changing and care.
God makes them cute so we don’t kill them. Seriously. And interestingly
enough, He endears them to us so that as they grow out of that innocent
cuteness, they grow into a kind of beautiful maturity. This saves the older
ones from extinction as well.
I recently read something a mother wrote about how she
understood how a mom could shake her baby. I thought, finally, someone is
speaking the truth. Then I read the hundreds of scathing comments about how
I have held screaming babies in the middle of the night and
thought the same thing. Therefore but by the grace of God go I.
Now before you begin firing off your “how dare you” comments
to me, understand that I am not saying that it is in anyway okay, under any
circumstance, to shake your baby. I am saying, however, that I’ve been in that
moment of sleep deprived desperation where I’ve had to put that screaming baby
back in the crib and take a breath for a moment or two.
I’m not proud of it.
The combination of raging hormones, a recovering body,
long-term sleep deprivation, and a screaming ten-pound kid can make you crazy.
Somehow, in the light of day, I stare at that same kid the
very next morning and think how amazing this tiny human is. I gush over the
cuteness (See? Saved.).
God brings me to the edge and then lets me step into His
This has been a long, hard season preceded by a long, hard
pregnancy. This baby has brought me to my knees crying out to God on many, many
nights. It’s been so bad that I’ve wept in front of people other than my mom
and husband. It’s been obvious enough that a few of my friends offered to take
the baby and all the kids so I could get away (that’s when I kind of knew that
I was not holding up the façade as well as I hoped).
I don’t write this for sympathy. I’m okay – really I am. I
write this for all you moms out there. Especially for the moms of many, the
moms who had babies in their “later” years, the moms who have big gaps between
If you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on
Facebook, what you’ve seen is the sweetest, happiest baby on the planet. My
goodness, the rolls, dimples, AND red hair – total strangers stop me to gush. I
post the good pictures for goodness sakes.
What I need you to know is that those first six to seven
months were some of the hardest of my life. I went to more doctor’s appointments
than I care to remember because she was so fussy, I just knew there had to be
something wrong, only to leave the office disappointed that she was perfectly
healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful for a healthy child, she was
just so incredibly fussy that I didn’t want to admit that there might be
nothing wrong and I simply had a baby who cried…a lot…for no apparent
Somewhere along the way, I realized that I set myself up for
I had an unexpected pregnancy. I felt that would be rewarded
with a dream pregnancy. It was anything but.
I had the worst of my five pregnancies. I kid you not when I
say, if it could go wrong it did. I suffered the entire time. I thought because
of this suffering, I would have the perfect, peaceful baby as a reward. Not so.
I complain about this current generation’s entitlement
disease and yet, I have the same attitude with God. I deserve an easy
pregnancy. I deserve an angel baby.
Goodness gracious, thank God He doesn’t give me what I truly
God didn’t promise me a rose garden. This is not the end.
This is the means to our end, whatever that end may be. Some days I wonder if
“raising angels” is going to get me to Heaven or send me to Hell. Depends on
the day. The point is that this world is not Heaven. It’s not perfect. It’s meant
to be a trial to help us get there.
I know all these things. I’ve known them all my life. I knew
them that glorious moment I became a mother for the first time just like I knew
them as I held this screaming baby for months. Don’t think I haven’t asked God…begged
Him in fact, to show me what I’m supposed to be learning from all of this.
Don’t think for one moment I haven’t consistently asked Him to let this cup
pass me by. I have…many…many…many times.
The writing is not on the wall. I’ve heard no trumpets, seen
no flashes of light. I have no idea what the point is – yet. But today, as I
put Felicity down for her nap, and she looked at me, rolled over, grabbed her
elephant, and went to sleep, I stared in disbelief. I was absolutely
overwhelmed with gratefulness for this incredible gift. I felt blessed beyond
measure to have the opportunity to be given this wonderful responsibility. This
baby is mine, part of me. I stood there, stroked her chubby cheek and thanked
God once again for allowing me to share in His creation.
Felicity turned eight months old on the 18th
July. Sometime, over the last two months, she has changed. Her eczema has
disappeared. Her reflux is under control. Her sleeping has finally become
peaceful. Those smiling pictures are now a reflection of who she is rather than
glimpses of who I hope she’ll be. When I realized this, I also realized that
those last six or seven months are quickly fading away. I am telling people
what a good baby she is instead of convincing myself I won’t jinx it if I say
she’s had a good day.
But before that happened, I wanted to share it with you in
hopes that this will help other mothers out there. I want you to know that I
never, for one second, stopped loving Felicity. However, there were moments,
even days, when I didn’t like her very much at all. And perhaps, I love her
even more because I had to work so hard at it in the beginning.
You are not alone. You are not crazy. You will get through
this. You will be better for it. You are a mother. You are amazing.
And that sweet little one of yours, he or she is amazing