Thursday, September 29, 2011

Giving Birth to a Baby Gives Birth to a New You

There may be people in this world who stay the same as they were before a baby after having one, but I am not one of those people.  The saying "having a baby changes everything" really is true for me in so many ways (including becoming proficient at typing with one hand as I am doing now)

I distinctly remember a very emotional moment for us when Gordon Lee was only 5 days old.  We were checked back into the hospital due to elevated bilirubin levels.  And after having a doctor tell me that he may need to go to the NICU to have a blood transfusion, I was a complete mess.  I was sobbing over the phone to my mother who was gently trying her best to keep me calm. I'm sure that hormones weren't helping matters.  But all I could see was my poor little newborn having to lie underneath these lights with an IV hooked into his arm and I couldn't hold him or comfort him.  I would have done anything to take his place.  

Both of my parents and my in-laws were so helpful and reassuring.  My mother-in-law had been through this when Lee was a baby so she knew EXACTLY how I felt.  My mother took some time to tell me about their own story of feeling at a loss with a brand new baby.  When my sister was a newborn, she had a heart murmur and it was very scary for them.  She also told me of other people we know who had to watch their babies go through tests, surgery, etc.  My dad said something along the lines of "When you have a baby, your whole perspective changes.  It suddenly isn't about you, but it is about that child." I definitely agree with that 100%.  

There are so many things that have changed for me after he has come into this world.

  • I never knew I'd start getting into homeopathic medicine as much as I have been.  When something has been ailing him, I don't want to let him just suffer through it.  However, I also want to be careful of what I put in his tiny system.  I have been blessed to find so many homeopathic cures for things that actually work wonderfully well with him.
  • I never thought I would be so hesitant to get him immunized.  He actually hasn't had his shots yet because he had a rash at his 2 month appointment that prevented him from getting them.  But something in me feels like if he got sick with a fever after his shots, it would be my fault.  Granted, I could technically see it the other way around as well because if I neglected to get him a shot and then he got sick, I could blame myself that way too.  I'm not saying whether he should be or shouldn't be immunized, I just never realized I would see it the way I did when it came down to it.  
  • I was procrastinating A LOT.  When you have maybe 1-2 hours at a time to do things like, oh say, shower, you realize how MUCH time you had before.  And also how much of that time was wasted! I think now of days I went to work and came home feeling exhausted.  I didn't know what exhaustion was!  I also didn't know how easily I could bounce back from it and keep going along.
Like I said, having a baby really does change everything, but I'd say it's definitely in a good way. ;)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Anything You Can Do I can Do BETTER

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." -Robert Burns
I love this little boy.  Kenny Chesney has a song with lyrics that say, "There goes my life, there goes my future, my everything.." And I can say I truly know how that feels.  A child changes your life; it is suddenly not about you at all anymore.  Your child is your everything.

With that said, I have been contemplating a rather serious topic for something I have learned.  I've taken some time to think about it and pray about it before posting.  In Galatians 6:14, Paul says, "May I not boast in anything except in the cross of our Lord Jesus." Things such as lying, cheating, and stealing are rather straightforward and clear. We know for certain when we are doing them or when we are not.  However, the most cleverly-disguised issue we all find ourselves in is pride.  It can be hidden in the very best intentions.

I have had a variety of conversations with my parents recently about generational differences in parenting.  My mother was in Florida visiting her friend's mother who commented that it is interesting how people of my generation tend to ask "why" more often when parenting.  Her granddaughter will wonder why her son is crying.  And, being from another generation, she said she doesn't recall wondering why her babies cried.  She just chalked it up to "babies cry" and moved on with life.  

Once while my parents were visiting, we got into a conversation of breast feeding versus bottle feeding.  My dad isn't sure what his mother did, but he was pretty certain that during the time he was a baby, bottle feeding was actually more popular.  Since his parents are not around to answer it and my mom's mother wouldn't be able to tell us now, we asked a lady we know from the same generation.  She had bottle fed her children.  We took a guess, from a story that my grandmother told about a "bottle hitting the floor," that both my mom and her brother were formula fed.  During the 1980s, when I was a baby, things had turned the other way and more babies were breast fed.  We actually looked this up online to find it (however, I no longer know where it was we found the information).

Anyway, the point is, styles of parenting are changing all of the time.  As a mother who loves her son, I want what is BEST for him.  I don't want to mess up. But who does?  As a parent, I have also become more acutely aware of the fact that the vast majority of parents love their children more than their children will know.  Yes, there are a few who leave much to be desired.  Yet, most really do care deeply for their children and want what is best for them.

But it is easy, in this seemingly wonderful attempt of loving, to become arrogant and proud.  If I am honest with myself, coated underneath "I want to do what is best for my child," I am also partaking in the thoughts "I will do things right." "I will do things better." So, that leaves the question, who did it wrong? Am I judging others who aren't doing things the way that I am? And if I think the way I am doing something is so good, I really need to be careful, because there is pride hidden in that.

Many (if not almost everyone) knows that "pride comes before the fall." In the movie "I am Sam" an attorney tries to prove that he is not fit to father his daughter because he stated he made "mistakes that were huge." To this, his attorney fires back, "didn't you feel as a parent that you made mistakes, mistakes that were huge?" I LOVE this part of the movie because it makes a valid point, who is to say they truly know better? Everyone will feel, despite great attempts to be the "perfect" parent, that they made "mistakes that were huge." 

So, instead of striving to do things a certain way in the name of "what is best for my child," I am going to aim to start taking it one day at a time knowing I will mess up.  Because really, if I am honest with myself, I am not really thinking about what is best for my child, I am thinking about being the best and that, my friends, is nothing more than selfish pride.  God will guide me to do what is best and humble me through it because nobody can parent perfectly except Him.