Friday, October 24, 2008

Isaac's Half Birthday

Isaac is six months old today. Gosh, it’s so hard to believe.

I was thinking this morning about how far we’ve come. The first few nights at home with him were terrifying in ways that I never expected. Motherhood seemed so easy in the hospital! I loved having these amazing nurses taking care of us night and day. Once we got home, I realized I had to be the one taking care of us, and it was so much harder than I expected it to be. Not only was I terrified of the responsibilities motherhood was suddenly thrusting upon me, but all of a sudden, also racing through my mind were thoughts of every horrible thing that could possibly happen to us. I imagined someone breaking into our house at night or snatching Isaac from his stroller while we went for an afternoon walk through the neighborhood.

I remember this overwhelming feeling of aloneness washing over me at night. John went back to work just days after we brought Isaac home, so he refused to help soothe our crying newborn in the late night and early morning hours. So in addition to all of these newly emerging fears were feelings of exhaustion, incompetence and uncertainty. So many nights I think I spent as many hours crying as Isaac did.

I think of how difficult breastfeeding was in the beginning and how many times I almost gave up. I think it was partly guilt and partly sheer bull-headedness that kept me from abandoning the idea altogether. Actually, it was probably neither of those things. It was the lactation staff at St. John. They were so amazing and the only reason we’re still nursing today.

These memories come flooding back to me so easily. I can’t decide if I feel like they happened just yesterday or years ago. I was so grateful when finally I started to feel like I really knew and understood Isaac. I think it took about a month before I felt like he wasn’t some stranger; he was my son. And while, even during the worst nights, I knew I couldn’t imagine my life without him, it wasn’t until we got through the first three or four weeks that I finally felt like I knew how to mother him. His wails weren’t just undecipherable sirens of expression; they were a language, one I could actually understand! I felt such a sense of accomplishment the first time I was able to read his emotion and soothe his crying on the first attempt. I learned how to listen to and communicate with my son. What a novelty!

Now, everything seems to come so naturally. Breastfeeding, dealing with the fussiness (and now, new development, temper tantrums!), getting to bed and up throughout the night is all second nature. It’s not any less is exhausting, but I can take it all in stride now. Yes, I break down now and then, but I have such support from my family and friends that I don’t feel nearly as alone now as I did in the first couple of months of Isaac’s life.

I think probably the most important lesson I’ve learned is to just enjoy every moment I have with Little Man. To just soak it all in. I love Isaac as an infant, but I know that, soon, he’ll be Isaac the Toddler. And I’m not ready for that. Not yet. I’m sure, when the time comes, I will be, but, for now, I want him to stay this tiny little baby who fits perfectly in my arms, who rests his head on my shoulder and clings to my neck.

He is such an amazing little person, so expressive and with so much personality. He laughs so easily; just a couple of light taps on his nose accompanied with “beep, beep!” is enough to send him into a fit of giggles. He’s not at the stage where everything he sees is his and he attempts to grab anything within arm’s reach. And put it straight in his mouth, of course.

I know the hard parts are far from over, but I feel so much more equipped to handle them. I-Man has taught me so much, and I’m very grateful to be his momma.


Shelly Collins said...

Yes, I think our babies birthday's (and half birthdays) are not only for celebrating their growth but ours as well! As Blake would say (in regards to Gwyn's 1 year) "Does this mean we've made it?" Well, sort least until she turns terrible two!

Tasha said...

Happy 1/2 Birthday, Isaac! Maybe Miles and I will get to see you before you turn 1 [our fault].

Love you both.


blogger templates | Make Money Online