They all mean well.
That is what I have had to tell myself multiple times in the last two weeks.
I was blessed with an incredible daughter, Micah, born to me August 29. She is a total sweetheart, and a great joy… with one minor exception… she is not “average” by any means. What I mean by this, is that in quite a few areas she is really far on one end of the spectrum, and this has not made it easy in multiple ways.
For instance, the “average” newborn goes through about 12 diapers a day. My daughter goes through about 18-20 diapers a day (meaning I am changing almost a diaper an hour!). The “average” newborn also eats about 8-12 times a day. Week one Micah was crying for food about 15 times a day, and most of those at night. Oh… and the best part… the “average” newborn sleeps 16-18 hours a day, and about 8 of those at night. Well, my little one generally sleeps only 12-14 hours a day, and is only getting about 4 broken hours of sleep at night.
And the sleep thing… well the sleep thing is torture.
And that’s where the “they all mean well” comment comes in.
You see, everyone seems to have an opinion for me. For the most part it involves either smiling and saying “oh yea, everyone has to deal with the sleep thing” or telling me their hard-fast rule for how to fix the sleep thing. Funny though, once I tell them she only sleeps for one 2 hour section at night and then for about 3 or 4 half hour sections, people usually respond with “oh! Wow! Mine wasn’t that bad”.
I am learning to smile and nod, but I am realizing that true support looks very different than the oft given advice.
I have cried myself to sleep almost every night since I became a mom, and I completely did not expect this. But, I have also been completely overwhelmed by the true support offered by my family and some unlikely sources.
First unexpected source of support has been an online mom’s group that set up a meal train for me. When I am running on very little sleep and trying to force myself to sit down more to let myself heal properly, hearing a knock at the door and opening to a warm meal and smiling face has been the biggest blessing ever!
Second source of support has been my amazing mom. She leaves her phone by her bed and wakes up to my call between 7 and 8am every morning, so she can come up and watch my darling while I get two hours or so of quality shut-eye; also, completely wonderful and more than I could expect.
Lastly, my largest source of support has been my husband. I know he is amazing, but I have been so overwhelmed by his constant attention and sacrifice on my, and Micah’s behalf. He goes to work all day, but still willingly wakes at night to comfort me, comfort Micah, change a diaper, or even just sit with me while I feed her. When he was not working I guess I expected it, but he has so impressed me with his love as he has continued to self-sacrifice for us, even with his 5am wakeup hanging over his head. A few days into our journey as I was crying, Micah was crying, and Luke was holding me, he gently whispered to me “I am washing your feet”.
This has been the theme. Just as Jesus washed his disciples feet to exemplify his servanthood, and just as we symbolically washed each other’s feet 3 years ago on the wedding alter, he has been sacrificially washing my feet during the most difficult two weeks of my life. He has been a type of Christ to me, and all I can do is thank him and remain humbled.
Being a mom is teaching me already. I am learning to respond with grace when people mean well, even if I know 100% that they cannot understand my given situation. I am learning to have patience and try to be joyful when every fiber of my being shouts out to be mad and sad. And lastly, I am learning to receive love from others, and say thank you. It is not easy to have to sit back and accept help because you literally have no ability to continue on by yourself, and this is probably the greatest thing I could ever learn. I know it will make me a better mother, a better wife, and a better daughter. I am being broken, my pride is being broken, and I am understanding more and more the love my Jesus has for me, and the love of those around me!