Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lessons in Motherhood, Pt. 1

 I recently wrote a paper for my English Grammar class about things I've learned since becoming a mother. I've edited it some and broken it up into parts to share with y'all.

As a little girl playing with dolls I dreamed of the day when I would have a real baby of my very own. Ben and I were married just five months after my 18th birthday and a positive pregnancy test not six weeks later meant my childhood dreams were going to be a reality. In February of 2009 we welcomed Katie and then in December of 2010, Benjamin. With two children so young, my days are filled with nursing, snuggling, boo-boo kissing, cleaning up messes, playing with toys, reading cardboard books, fixing snacks, and more love than I could have dreamed of. Who would have thought a couple babies could teach me what it means to live a life of self-sacrifice, patience, and forgiveness--what it means to really love as God has called us to?

There is nothing quite like the experience of holding your baby in your arms for the first times. You’re filled with so many hopes and dreams and, as it turns out, a lot of adrenaline. In my first days of motherhood, I learned what a great blessing the adrenaline was when I went from Thursday morning to Sunday morning with a total of four or five hours of sleep. Katie was what they call ‘a screamer.’ The moment she was delivered, she screamed louder than I’ve ever heard a baby scream and she kept on screaming for a few weeks. My romanticized ideas of motherhood were quickly dispelled, though I was eventually able to get a little sleep as she started sleeping through the night at just five weeks.

Benjamin is a completely different baby. He was one who took his time crying at birth and still only cries when he is hungry, tired, or has a messy diaper (or if his big sister inadvertently pokes him in the eye or otherwise offends his sense of personal space). He slept a lot in the first few days after his birth, allowing me to rest and recover quite well from labor and delivery. However, five weeks came and went about six weeks ago and he is still waking up two times most nights to nurse. This means I am often quite tired during the day, and with a busy two-year old I don’t usually get to rest a whole lot.

As long as I’ve been a Christian, I’ve known that loving someone was being willing to sacrifice yourself for them, but mothering two very different newborns has brought this lesson to a whole new level. In order to meet their needs, you have no choice but to lay down your life and put their needs ahead of your own--and you do it because you love them more than words can say.

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