I have so many conflicted feelings, it felt only natural to return to this blog and share, immediately after nursing and rocking Lilah Grace to sleep.
Tonight is Papa G's first night duty since May 6th, the day our sweet baby was born. Every night since then, I have actually enjoyed waking up multiple times in the night to nurse and rock this perfect little being. The moment I hear her cry, of course, I take a deep breath and wish my slumber hadn't been interrupted. But as soon as my eyes lock hers, and I know we are the only two awake, and we connect...the bond is so palpable, and the love is so perfect, unassuming, and reciprocal...it is just one of those moments that is so pure, it is truly miraculous to be a part of, and I'm certain that it is because of that attitude that I can honestly say I don't mind running on little to no sleep.
I am forever grateful to my partner for stepping it up in ways I couldn't have fathomed my last month of pregnancy. Because of his new job, I was able to take a total of 8 weeks away from work. I was once the breadwinner of the relationship, and carried an immense amount of anxiety about balancing that role and "new mom." Amidst pregnancy hormones, a housing contract that fell through, and financial stress, we fought!! Things got ugly at times. But we made it through, as usual. The two of us have been through a lot, and this is just one more thing we can check off our list. We've been in love for 8 years now, and it has been a blessing to see George evolve and grow, from a Sonic carhop, high school tutor, college student, pizza delivery boy, pyromaniac, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, husband, and now father. His love for music, family, and friendships have remained constant amidst a constantly changing backdrop. I am in love with his character and I love seeing him fill each role with integrity.
I am forever grateful to my parents for letting us stay with them until we find a house to buy. We were in a rent house, signed a contract on our first home (to own), and it fell through at the end of the pregnancy. With our lease up and a voided contract, we found ourselves in a stressful situation, and our parents were quick to step in and let us live stress-free for a few months. We have been able to save up money (we are also 100% debt free!) and have a lot of help with becoming new parents. Thanks to both sets of parents, we have enjoyed dates as "mom and dad," and I have been able to go to my mom as a quick resource instead of the annoying "What to Expect" books. Lilah has really bonded with my mom, since she's home now more often (she is a school teacher and in summer mode now!). Seeing Lilah smile everytime my mom reintroduces herself, "Hi Lilah Grace! It's BINKY!" is heartwarming. And that happens like, twenty times a day. Hearing my dad's voice jump an octave when he talks to his granddaughter makes my heart pitter patter!
Taking her to George's folks and seeing them stop what they're doing just to ooh and ahh, and kid about who gets to hold her first...these moments are my pride and joy. They even hosted a "Meet Lilah" party this month, complete with a keg and photographer, and seeing dozens of people congregate because of our creation is so rewarding. To the outside, it might look like we are homeless. But I feel like we have two homes. And though I have overplayed the song like a madwoman, the lyrics still ring true, "Home is wherever I'm with you."
I am also grateful for my employer. I used to work Monday-Friday, some days from 6:30-4ish, and some days 8-5ish. The manager and staff have been extremely empathetic and understanding, and (thanks to George becoming the main income in this duo!) are providing the staff necessary for me to work Tuesdays and Thursdays. This way, I can continue to breast feed, and pump at work. I didn't want breastfeeding to come to an immediate halt. My heart goes out to those working moms who don't have a choice. I thought I would be one of them.
Whether it is a medical condition (or prescribed drug) that prohibits breast feeding, or the mom just doesn't want to...I respect every mom doing what she has to do. After having a birth experience that was the polar opposite of what I wanted, I feel like I have a very renewed sense of empathy and understanding for people in judged situations. There's an entire community of people who condescendingly berate c-sections, and I was one of them. I never wanted one, and I still believe they are performed entirely too frequently, and not often for the right reasons. But after needing an emergent one, I have to say, my feelings are hurt when I hear people assume for the worst. I had a c-section, but I also have a story. And had a long labor. And I imagine mothers who can't breastfeed feel similarly. Of course, "breast is best!" And I LOVE nursing my baby. It's probably the most rewarding thing I've ever done. But pushing that on women is a little righteous if you ask me, and doesn't consider the many factors that are involved. Breast feeding requires A LOT of support. And if a woman has to return to work, even if she pumps at work, she might not have enough breast milk stored up to feed that baby while she's at work. I exclusively breast-fed and pumped between feedings, and still don't have enough milk just for TOMORROW. My baby eats every 2 hours! She will need supplemental formula. If I had to work two days in a row, my milk would probably dry up, and breastfeeding would no longer be an option. I would be devastated! The added judgment from stay at home moms who are able to breast feed would really get under my skin.
My days have been very simple. Very different from just a year ago. I have thrived in the "stay at home" role, and have loved appreciating the little things. I have been living very simply. Seeing the world through a newborn's eyes has given me a fresh outlook on life. The world seems more simple, and more wondrous, than ever before. Lilah Grace has no language yet. She doesn't perceive male or female, she doesn't think "mom" or "dad." She doesn't think "young" or "old," she perceives people in their entirety. Through the eyes of a newborn, you have no labels. She is such a wise soul, in this brand new body, without the aid of language or a developed brain to express herself. She is both amazing and helpless. Her soul is wise, but her mind is a blank slate. Her heart is pure. She has no motives or hidden agendas. Her love is the purest form I've ever known.
Getting to spend time with my daughter is like spending time with God. She is the closest to Him that one can be. Each day that she is here, she is becoming more mortal. What a blessing it is to be her mama. She is the most perfect human I've ever met, and I'm so grateful she came to us.
As I go to bed tonight, knowing my alarm will wake me rather than your helpless cry, I hope you know that we are lucky to live in a country where women have choices, and can contribute to the family in many different ways. I will miss you all day tomorrow. Your two grandmas love you very much, and are excited to spend time with you! I hope one day you know that your mom was more than a mother...I'm also a daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife, a feminist, and a nurse. Whether I work in the home or out of the home, a strong work ethic is important to me, and I want you to work hard one day, too.
|Working IN the Home|
|Working OUT of the Home|
|I hope you value female friendships. They are so important!|
|I hope you are passionate about a cause, and surround yourself with people who will help you make a difference.|
Sweet Lilah, I will love you purely and unconditionally, forever.
"When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew."