January 11, 2016

Dear Aria {four months in}


Dear Aria,

We've made it through a lot already, you and me. You've only been on this side of the womb for four months, but we've tackled so many challenges in that short span.

First, birth—that was quite an experience. I loved it. It was beautiful, exhilarating, intense work for both of us. After hours of your little body not moving down, you bracing yourself insistently inside with that stubborn arm raised, we made it work. You and I (and the homebirth team of our dreams) worked together, and you were born. Our first accomplishment.

Then there were those early days when I hadn't yet learned your language. You cried and cried, and I cried too because I thought I had tried everything and still couldn't help you. I just couldn't read your cues yet, little one. I'm sorry I didn't learn to interpret them sooner. But we've mostly got that figured out now, haven't we? We're like a well-oiled machine most days, or partners in a pretty dance. You communicate what you need in the best way you know how, and I usually understand before you even get to the crying part. We've got this.

After the early days there were weeks of sleepless nights. You seemed to think that day was for sleeping and night was for playing, a pattern you were clinging to from prenatal months. At first I resented the lack of sleep. A few times, at four in the morning, I had to apologize to you for my frustration. I wish I could go back to when you were that tiny and instead of resisting, smile down at you and rock you and admire your smallness. Eventually you figured out what nights and days are all about. Now when you wake briefly to nurse in my arms in the wee hours, I cherish those silent moments (most of the time).

And nursing. Sweet little one, who'd have thought there would be such a learning curve for both of us there? There were weeks when your every meal brought me to pain-provoked tears. There were stretches of time when attempting to nurse elicited hungry, frustrated cries from you as well. But we got help and pushed through. Now you're a nursing champ (hello, fifteen pounds at four months!) and I treasure the sweet excuse to steal away alone with you every few hours.

Just when we had settled into a happy nursing relationship, it became apparent something in the food itself was bringing you pain. After heartbreaking days and nights watching you cry, your little body contorting, I took most of my favorite foods off the menu. It was entirely worth it to see your happy smile and peaceful demeanor gradually return. We figured that one out, too, and it was so rewarding.

It's only been four months. Being a mother is as new to me as being a baby is to you. There will be plenty more fresh experiences and obstacles ahead. But I promise you this: all these early challenges you won't even remember have set the precedent. We'll keep meeting challenges with patience, grace, and prayer. We will figure things out together. You won't be alone, and we won't give up even when the challenges bring pain and tears. We push through, together. We have years of this ahead of us. Good thing we've gotten so much practice in four months.

 Love,
 Mama

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