Malachi will be 11 weeks tomorrow. In some ways I can’t believe it’s already been 11 weeks, and in other ways I can’t believe it’s only been 11 weeks. (Mostly the sleep deprived side of me feels that way.) There really isn’t anything that can prepare you for parenthood. Having Malachi has been such a blessing. I’m so thankful for our promised miracle.
With that being said, I knew parenting wouldn’t be easy, but… wow. I always heard babies slept a lot, but I never knew some only slept for an hour at a time. I knew babies cried a lot, but I’d never heard one scream so loud you’d think their arm was being cut off. I didn’t realize inconsolable crying could happen at any moment for any reason making you afraid to leave the house because he might start doing that in public. I knew they needed a lot of attention and care, but I didn’t know they had to be held whenever they were awake. Please don’t take this as me complaining, but the last 11 weeks have been hard. Really hard. And because of that I’ve been fighting a lot of guilt. I feel guilty for getting impatient. Guilty for letting him cry it out when I don’t know what else to do. Guilty for wanting time away from him. Guilty for not sticking out nursing longer. Guilty for taking the easy way out and exclusively pumping (which is far from easy). Guilty when people comment that they don’t see him enough. Guilty that I don’t get more accomplished in a day. I’ve just been fighting a whole lot of guilt.
As I started to express some of this guilt to Joel over the weekend, he told me I was being too hard on myself. I started thinking about it again yesterday and began to wonder where the guilt was coming from. I feel guilty because my reality hasn’t been meeting my expectations. My expectations 11 weeks ago were of a happy baby, where we would spend time outside and go grocery shopping during the day, and I would clean while he napped. These expectations came from things I had seen other moms post about their days on social media. But no one’s posting a picture of their crying baby, or talking about how brushing your teeth is a luxury some days. We only share the good parts of our days on social media. But not today. Today I’m showing you a picture of my crying baby because this is the real deal. This is real life. I don’t try to make my Instagram fake; I don’t even use filters on my pictures all that often. But I’m not posting about a bunch of negative things either because who does? Don’t let your expectations be built off of someone else’s highlights. I might be stuck in the house more often than I’d like to be, but my baby is getting the sleep he needs. My house might be messier than I want it to be, but the chores will be there tomorrow. Some days I feel like a slave to the clock to get my pump sessions in, but I’m providing all the breastmilk he needs to be healthy. The last 11 weeks haven’t gone like I thought they would, but I’m the mom Malachi needs, and I’m thankful for that. I’m doing my best, and I’m going to let that be enough. So do your best, mamas, and let that be enough.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.