Embracing Reality

When Kyle and I decided that we were ready to try for a baby, I immediately began imagining what our little Alcock would be like. Would we have a boy or girl? What would we be like as parents? I fantasized about buying cute little baby clothes, setting up a beautiful and perfect nursery, staying at home and playing with my cheerful little bundle of joy. Life would be amazing and we would ride out the sleepless nights on the blissful happiness of having our new baby.

Some parts of this fantasy of mine did come true. Despite Judah’s rough couple months, we get through it with some sort of bliss, whether it be caffeine induced, slight insanity, or the possibility of a 10 minute cat nap. We are definitely love drunk on this little boy and so happy to have him in our lives. We did buy him plenty of cute little baby boy clothes, and I am fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my precious babe each day; although, as stated in my previous post, this is not as glamorous as I had envisioned, however, it is far more rewarding. I was not, however, able to set up Judah’s nursery and this is something that I grieve each day.

Things are not always as you expect them to be. When Kyle and I were ready to start our family, we had the prospect of a steady future. Kyle was in his final year of graduate school and with this degree and some pretty great references in the college world, we thought for sure he would be a shoe-in somewhere for the job he has always wanted, a Resident Director at a college. As my pregnancy progressed, Kyle had more and more promising interviews, but all to no avail. Job or no job, Judah was coming. Because of this, Kyle and I had to make one of the most difficult decisions we’ve had to in our married life- we decided to move back in with Kyle’s parents while figuring out the next step for our family.  Because of this, Judah has yet to be given a nursery.

Once we found out that we were having a boy, it was decided that his nursery would be full of sailboats, anchors, and whales. I carefully researched crib bedding and color pallets on Pinterest and Etsy.  We found a unique changing table at our favorite little store in Warsaw (find them on Facebook here). I even had an old high school friend specially make him a mobile. Go here to see her other wonderful creations. I had the crib, the bedding, the decorations, even the paint color picked. I envisioned where everything was going to be placed in our house and was so excited to put it all together. But, the reality set in that this would be put on hold and currently, everything is boxed and stored, waiting to be set up someday.

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So many of my friends and family had babies during the past summer months. It was such a fun time to watch all these new families being formed and added to. I loved seeing so many photos of the preparations unfolding as eager parents awaited there little ones. I loved seeing every photo except for the pictures of their nurseries. It brings tears to my eyes to this day, knowing my little boy is almost 4 months old and is still sleeping in our room in a pack-n-play, his beautiful nautical decorations stored and stuffed away in boxes in a cold dark storage unit.

Things rarely turn out as we expect them to. I will be forever grateful to the generosity of my mother and father-in-law for opening their home to us. It’s been a very humbling experience for my husband and I to give up our independence, grieve the loss of what we thought was our sure future, and await whatever it is that God has planned for us next.

Throughout this season of life, I have come to learn that grieving is important. It was important for me to grieve that fantasy of the perfect baby that I had imagined and to embrace this beautiful baby boy that is my reality. Sure, he screams some days for hours on end, but I can no longer possibly imagine any other little baby boy stealing my heart as much as he does.  It has also been extremely healing and strengthening to my husband and I to work through the grieving process of where we thought we would be compared to where we are now. No, it’s not where we wanted to be, and yes, it’s hard. But we have grown in our marriage, know now, more than ever how we want our family to look and how we want to raise our little Judah, and what things are important to our happiness.

No, Judah doesn’t have a nursery right now but someday soon, he will, and it will be even better than what I imagined.

Rough Stuff

Let me start out by making a few things clear. I am not starting this blog to seek advice. I have heard more advice and “you should’s” to last a lifetime. This blog is a place for me to speak my thoughts, perhaps to share some commonality with other young mothers who are going through the same things, and to just provide a healthy outlet for myself. Secondly, and most importantly, I love my son more than anything. There is no way to describe with words the way I cherish his life, his well being, and his happiness. He is the best thing that my husband and I have ever done, and I would do anything for him.

Being a mom is hard. It is the hardest thing ever. Being a mom of a baby with colic is almost unbearable. You go through bouts of screaming for hours and hours on end with no consolation. The only thing that keeps you sane is that 10 minutes of time when your baby is happy and content. You get a glimpse of that sweet, loving personality that is hiding behind the tears that seem insurmountable some days. Those 10 minutes are what keep me going. Those 10 minutes are priceless. That and knowing what time my husband will be home to relieve me for 5 minutes. Single parents out there, MAJOR props to you.

I have tried everything to relieve Judah’s colic; I mean everything.  My husband and I have even recently purchased those amber beads that you put on your baby’s ankle. Typically they are used for teething, but they are also supposed to work to help reduce colic. They have seemed to help with his gas pains a bit, so I would recommend them. We got ours here.  Judah is 3 months old now, and from everything I’ve read, most babies with colic begin to start coming into their own between 3 and 4 months. I am sure hoping we are coming into the home stretch with this, although I’m convinced we have a boy who defies all the odds, just to be stubborn. You will hear more about that when I write his birth story.

Not only does Judah have colic, but he has a dairy allergy. Being a breastfed baby, that means no dairy for mama. No more ice cream, lattes, milk and cookies, all that good stuff. Okay, that kind of stinks, but if it’s going to be best for my boy, I’m okay with cutting that stuff out, no matter how much I want a chocolate milk shake at the end of a rough day. Along with the dairy allergy, he also has reflux. I feed him as upright as I can, avoid laying him down shortly after meals, and burp him frequently. With the reflux comes the side affect of ear infections. Because of this, my poor boy has already been through 2 rounds of antibiotics and has been pumped with Tylenol. It makes me cringe to think of the amounts of medication that have already entered my little boy’s tiny body. Me, the mom who is taking the slow route of vaccines, who was so against anything foreign in such a small, still growing system, is forcing Tylenol and antibiotics down her baby’s throat with a syringe. I hate it.

Sure, when I was pregnant I heard that motherhood was tough, but I never in my wildest dreams expected this. Again, let me emphasize, I adore my baby boy to pieces and would go through all of this again just for him. That doesn’t mean it isn’t unbearably hard at times and that some days just really suck.  Yes, people tell you to be sure that you want to have kids because your life changes forever, but they don’t go into much detail past the obvious things like they are expensive and going out isn’t always as easy, and you lose some sleep. Okay, no biggie. I’ve accepted that some days I have to choose between shaving my legs and brushing my teeth. I go to the grocery store with ragged hair and bags under my eyes, and have yet to return to my pre-pregnancy body. Who cares? I’m a mom. And with that title comes the confidence I didn’t have before to go out in public looking less than my best. My lack of abs is proof that my body was a well lived in home for 9 months. My dark under eye circles show that I am there for my child 24/7, without hesitation. And, I know my husband loves me for me- unshaven legs, bad breath and all.

Parenting is hard, whether you have a screamer, a constant sleeper, a pleasant non-crier, or anything in between. It’s hard on all fronts. It’s tiring, self-sacrificing, stressful, scary, intimidating, messy stuff.  Talk about an emotional roller coaster. Some days I feel like I’m walking on eggshells, and would literally do anything to keep my baby from crying. Despite all the difficulty, it’s absolutely amazing. It’s rewarding, stretching, and growing. It is beautiful.

This is the purpose of this blog. To be real. To tell you why raising a child is hard, not just from the obvious sleep deprivation and stinted social life, the real stuff. The stuff no one tells you about. This is my journey and I want to share it with you. The ups and the downs. Hopefully some of you will be able to relate and will find strength knowing that another mother out there is sharing some bad days too, in spite of all the good ones.

So concludes my first post in the blogging world. And with that I leave you a picture of my beautiful babe taken by my most talented friend. Check out her website here.