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Week 5, Day Five

Wake Up Laughing: Offbeat Devotions for the Unconventional Woman
by Rachel St. John - Gilbert
Chapter 11 "Wake Up and Smell the Baby"
Babies and Disillusionment

Before my first child was born, I remember older, wiser women saying things like, "Enjoy the time you have to yourself before that baby comes!"

At the time, I wasn't thrilled with the time on my hands due to the weight on my bod and the anticipation of seeing the baby in person. I couldn't wait to play dress-up with my real live baby doll. Diaper and formula commercials sent me into La La Land, day-dreaming about holding my bundle of joy. I especially liked the ones in which a buff-bodied daddy peeks into Junior's crib in the middle of the night, picks up a porcelain-skinned baby, and nuzzles him. (Notice how the babies are either sleeping or smiling in these propaganda pieces.) I know that's what I had in mind- a studly husband and a picture-perfect baby bonding at 2 A.M. in the Ralph Lauren designer nursery while I'm sawing logs in the next room.

But my daydream images became fuzzy with the arrival of baby and the relentless longing for a few hours of uninterrupted shut-eye. My cowardly friends who went before me to baby boot camp didn't clue me in to reality, and I wanted to wring their necks. I ended up with not only a newborn who never slept but also with engorged breasts, each the size of a Goodyear blimp. This turned out the be doubly bad news when I heard the lactation specialist's declaration: "Now remember, the baby's stomach is about the size of an avocado seed." From the looks of things, my baby would need a tummy roughly the size of a water tower to give me even a smidgen of relief.

And what of hubby turned new dad? Well, he discovered talents he never knew he had. He had the uncanny ability to sleep through our baby's cries. So, while he sawed the logs I could only dream about, I cradled my gargantuan mammary glands in my arms and waddled down the hall to the Wal-Mart-decorated nursery, bonding with Junior at 2 A.M.... and 3 A.M.... and 4 A.M. I did enough bonding that first year to be the prototype for human superglue.

And I would love to know where the television producers found that porcelain-skinned infant. I quickly became acquainted with the oxymoron "baby acne." My newborn would have been a shoo-in for a Clearasil commercial. I was so self-conscious about it that I made excuses to strangers in line at the grocery store. "Yes, I try to keep him away from colas, chocolate, and potato chips, but you know how newborns are...."

If you're a mom, I'm preaching to the parental choir. First comes love, then comes marriage, and on the heels of the baby carriage comes disillusionment. Of course, we do experience precious moments with our babies that we will forever hold dear. But on the whole, children are needy and can wreak havoc on your housekeeping, sleep quota, and love life.

When we're knee-deep in diapers, it's important to put things into perspective by reviewing two facts. Fact #1: This is an intense time of life. Fact #2: Babies grow up quickly, and as they do, things get easier. These are time-tested truths- just ask any mother with older children. If you're a relatively new mom or know someone who is and have had a particularly exhausting day (or week or month!), ask God to help you put things in perspective. He may just help you see that beneath your exhaustion is still a heart brimming with gratitude for you priceless, albeit tiring, gift of children.

Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Psalm 127:3.

4 comments:

Sarah said...

Amen to this. Sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is his reward!
I was so tired too, especially after I had to care for my sons alone when two were still in diapers. I think it was harder physically when they were little, but it got harder emotionally when they got older. Now they are grown men and sometimes it is hard for me not to play mom to them.
I have to wait, on purpose, for them to ask for things that I can help them with rather than offer. I see that it is very humbling for them to ask for anything, and I wonder if that is why God wants us to ask each day for our daily bread, so we will be humble before Him.
There is so much dignity though, in letting my sons work on their own lives and for me not to interfere like I would love to.
I feel God gives me dignity too and appreciates when I come to Him with my life, just like I appreciate my sons whenever they come to me with a part of their lives. I usually only give what they ask for and no more, so I don't nueter them. God is good to me to give me the strength of character I need to LET my beloved sons become the men God wants them to be. I used to try to control, then I understood Psalm 107:27 and started praying with the attitude that only God can do this business of making a man out of a boy. I have seen tremendous growth since then. Glory be to God!
In His Mercy,
Sarah

Twisting His Arm said...

That is exactly what I assumed Sarah. Children are usually more physically demanding when they are little and more emotionally demanding when they get older. I look at my 4 month old and it slightly breaks my heart knowing there will be a day when I won't be able to cuddle him like I do now. But then I remember my job isn't to just cuddle my son but to try and help him become a great and Godly man. I hang on to the advice women of older or adult children say, 'enjoy every minute of them because they grow up fast".
:-) Christina

Janel said...

Wow. This devotional is exactly what I needed today. I've been praying hard, really hard to finally hear God SPEAK in my life. Today it happened.

A friend talked to me about what a wonderful child I have, and on too many days I'm caught up with my own feelings about his age-appropriate choices to remember how quickly he's growing. This devotional, then, after her comment let me finally hear God, feel His hand on me saying, "Look, things are what you feel they are."

Thank you God for this day. Thank you for reminding me what a gift my son is, even when he's challenging me.

DA Wagners said...

That devotional made me so happy that my newborn is now 6 mnths. He is now on a schedule and life is going back to normal (a different normal now that I have two boys). I like your comments, Sarah. It makes me interested because it seems that you've been down the road that I'm just starting. I'd like to hear more of your comments during the next study.