Many nights I have wondered this- "What is wrong with my baby?"
Not in the sense that she literally has something wrong with her. But in the sense of, why does she want to torture me?
I have an 11 month old who still wakes up once a night, usually sometime between 3-5 am.
When it's closer to 5am, I'm not always mad about it. When it's earlier than 3 am, there's a likelihood she'll wake up more than once that night.
Any mix up of schedule means she'll probably wake up more than once for the next few days.
I have been lead to believe this is not supposed to be the case. I've been lead to believe that sleep training and diligence and schedules will give me a great sleeper.
But also, I have been lead to believe that if your baby is less than one and still wants to wake up for nursing once a night, by all means, why would you deprive her? It is completely normal, completely right, even. Even if it is just for comfort- this is fine.
These are the things that make me crazy in the middle of the night, I think.
Not that my baby is still waking. That contributes to it. But really, it's that there are a thousand different opinions and books written on the fact that my baby is still waking at night. It is good, it is fine, it is wrong, it is not.
So I tell myself to work on it. Work on the schedule. Live by the schedule.
And then I also tell myself to stop being so scheduled. We need to live life. Should life revolve around the schedule? It is my fault she's so accustomed to the schedule and doesn't do well outside of it.
All of these thoughts are shaped by the opinions of other moms. Mom-friends, moms with babies just as small, moms on online forums, moms with grown babies, my own mom (love ya, mom!).
And though I am ever-thankful for all of the mom-advice I get, and often I ask for it, sometimes it's hard to distinguish which thoughts are my own and which thoughts are others'.
What do my momma instincts really tell me about Gemma waking up once a night still? About her nap schedule? About being on the schedule and living by the schedule?
It takes a whole lot of inward reflection to get to the point where I feel like I know what I actually feel.
Here is the truth: I like the schedule. It's hard to admit because I am not a scheduled person. But as a work from home mom, I need the schedule. It helps me get things done.
Here is also the truth: It's okay that Gemma still wakes up once in the night. Sometimes, it's really hard to keep waking up, keep nourishing her in the early morning hours. But when I pick her up, when she's sleeping and nursing in my arms, I know that this season is slipping through my fingers faster than I can say "sleep training."
I know that I'll blink and she'll be done nursing. She'll be walking and talking and she'll grow into a little girl and I won't even know what happened to my baby.
Time flies, they say. This season has taught me that there is startling truth in this tired, overused statement.
There are a thousand questions I ask myself as a mom, and most of them stem from the fear that I'm not doing it right.
They stem from the fear I'm not being the mom Gemma needs me to be. That she's sleeping too much or not enough. Eating too much or not enough. Nursing too much or not enough.
And unintentionally, maybe we do this to each other. With all our advice and our books and our oversharing on social media. I'm a culprit, too.
We look at each other, at one another's babies. And we wonder if ours should be doing the same.
But isn't every single one of us unique? With unique gifts? Crafted individually by a loving God? So maybe our parenting is going to look vastly different. And maybe our babies, also uniquely made, are also going to look vastly different.
So thank you, to every momma out there who has given me good, heartfelt advice. And to every momma out there that will ask me for advice in the future:
Here's the truth for us all to remember: We are all different. Our babies are all different. And this is all kinds of levels of hard for all of us. Let's share stories, but give each other, ourselves, and our babies all the grace.
Because in the end, we're all asking the same questions. But there isn't just one answer, other than this:
This season is fleeting and soon, our babies won't want us to hold them in the night. Breathe them in, love them hard, do your best. and cover it all in grace.
Oh, and you. are. enough.
A Journaling Resource for Moms
Want to write about motherhood but don't know where to start? I started this series on the blog, and started blogging in general because I feel writing is one of the best ways to learn from our life experiences and process what we are learning. I've also recently started journaling and writing just for myself.
I've created a resource for you that has 30 days of motherhood-themed journal prompts so you can begin writing, too, if you don't know where to begin.
Know that your own journaling can look however you want it to- lists, memoirs, a few sentences a day, whatever! All that matters is that you begin writing if you feel lead to do so.
Think of how wonderful it will be to look back on the journey you've walked in motherhood through the words you've written- and I promise it will help you process some of the crazy!
Also, if you want to write a motherhood memoir for a guest post, this is a great place to start because you've got 30 topics to help you brainstorm!