This past week was an exhausting one with my little man. Basically a combo of no sleep + lots and lots of fussing + needing to be bounced and swayed while walking around in order for calm to happen (aka I got a BOSS arm and leg workout 😉). We aren’t totally sure what is going on yet, but his pediatrician thinks it sounds like acid reflux or a protein sensitivity – both potentially fixable, so that’s good news! I started him on some reflux medicine yesterday, and he’s either had a few coincidentally good days in a row, or the medicine is working and reflux was his problem. But – regardless, it’s been a rough week for little Ford and me.
My husband is deployed right now and will be for the next several months, so there have been several times this past week where I have been sitting and splashing around in my little pool of self pity. “This is way too hard to do by myself.” “It’s so unfair that Seth can’t be here to help me right now.” “I am NOT going to be able to make it through these next several months alone.”
The reality is, being a parent is hard. It’s exhausting sometimes, mentally taxing when your little one is crying and you can’t figure out why, and leaves you essentially ZERO time for yourself. It’s also the best thing I’ve ever done. Hands down – no competition.
Today, I was browsing a blogger’s Instagram that I follow. This past December, she went into labor at 23 weeks pregnant and lost her son on the day after he was born. She held him in her arms as he died. I was looking through all her recent posts, reading and feeling her grief. Since having my son, her story resonates so much more deeply with me. Once you have a baby of your own, it becomes infinitely more devastating to hear about people losing theirs. The grief you feel for them almost chokes you.
I was scrolling through pictures of her and her husband sitting at their son’s grave. Of his tiny, wrinkly toes right after he was born. Of his name tattooed across her forearm in remembrance of her sweet little boy. I was looking at all of this while holding my three month old son in my arms while he slept, his warm little body laying across my stomach, tiny, soft breaths on my arm. My heart felt overwhelmed with equal amounts of love and gratitude for his little life and heartbreak for Lindsay and her husband’s devastating loss
It took me back to when my husband and I lost our baby last September. The deep, clawing sorrow we felt when we lost not only our child but also our hopes and dreams we had built so firmly and confidently into our future was unmatched by anything we’ve ever experienced before in our lives. There’s just nothing like losing your baby – nothing.
Reading about Lindsay’s loss and thinking about my own last year really had me going over those thoughts I had been having all week, about how hard parenting can be. Thinking about her loss took every tiny little complaint I had and every exhausted thought and made them evaporate instantly. Because no matter how hard our day, week, month is with our kids, we have our kids. No matter how fussy Ford is, how little he sleeps, or how little time he gives me for myself, he is here. With me. Breathing and alive and needing me.
This is not to say that days still won’t be hard sometimes, and there’s no reason for us to pretend that being a parent is peachy and perfect and comes in a pretty, challenge-free package. But this is what today put into perspective for me: parenting can be hard and exhausting sometimes. But that is completely and totally trumped by how amazing it is to have these little humans in our lives. And instead of looking back on my week and thinking, WOW – that was hard, it’s more important to look back and think of laying forehead to forehead with my baby in bed as he falls asleep before I move him to his bassinet. Of how good he smells right after he gets out of the bath and is in clean, soft PJs. Of the way it feels when his tiny little fingers wrap around mine. How he rests his hand on my chest when he’s sleeping on me. How he kicks his little legs forward and back with excitement when he’s in the bath. How his whole face wrinkles up with a big yawn, and the little sharp breath of air he takes before closing his tiny mouth.
So to those tired, exhausted, worn out mommas out there – I’m right there with you sometimes. But instead of looking back on your day and focusing on the hard parts, take some time to remember and breathe in those sweet moments that happened throughout the crazy. Don’t wish whatever phase you’re in away, but try and grasp onto and cherish each one, because our babies grow and change by the hour, and you don’t want to look back and realize you didn’t cherish every moment that you could.