It came as a surprise to me that my feelings and emotions related to a crying, screaming infant (named Zoë) have remained so calm. I vividly remember many long, sleepless days and nights fretting and crying myself because it seemed I was completely unable to console my babies. I was their MOTHER for goodness' sake - if I can't comfort them, does that mean I'm no good at it? And I was SO TIRED! "Please, little darling, just calm down long enough for me to nap - then I'll do better, I promise!" My memory is that my pleas went unanswered!
I had the joy and privilege of breast feeding our sons throughout each of their first years. It's still one of my favorite memories of motherhood (among many); however, it is definitely a job that is only learned by doing. No amount of instruction or reading on the subject can adequately prepare a mother for her own unique experience. You just begin, use your instincts, and as long as your baby is growing adequately, there are no worries. (Well - not many!) That's not to say that advice from experienced Moms isn't helpful - it is, and the support (beyond a good nursing bra) is always welcome! But there is no substitute for just doing it!
Through trial and error, and time, you discover, especially at the beginning, that having to nurse every hour is not a bad or unusual sign. It is a natural, built-in process that helps increase the mother's milk supply, and also increases the size of the infant's stomach in order for them to take in more at one feeding, and therefore sleep more between them. Actually, it's a very efficient and miraculous system. Also, sometimes, babies just CRY! For one thing, they have no other way to communicate so effectively, real words not yet being in the picture. They want and need your attention, and they learn quickly that crying generally gets it, and should! Parents ACHE over not being able to comfort their children. Their constant (at times) and baseless (it seems) piercing crying and screaming is unnerving and exhausting. For the parents. I have found that grandparenthood gives a whole new take on that situation.
Grandparents don't have the first responsibility, for one thing, and the onus is not squarely on their shoulders. But, more importantly, grandparents can relax, knowing that babies cry - it's all a part of the package, and that life with an infant gets better, and routines are eventually established. Grandparents through their own firsthand experience as parents, know how to take it all in stride. That's small comfort, though, to a stressed out and exhausted Mom and Dad. Hence the reason for this post:
Two or three days after our son and daughter-in-love brought Zoë home from the hospital, she had an extended hours-long cry. Zoë's Mom, Suddie, sat on the edge of her and Matt's bed late one night (or early one morning), silently cradling and bouncing the swaddled Zoë on her lap. Finally, near the end of her rope, she slowly turned her head to her husband, and said, emphatically,
"Matt . . .go long!"
Anyone who watches or plays American football will understand the meaning of that phrase, which is for the receiver to run way down the field and prepare for a long, "Hail Mary" pass. I still haven't stopped laughing over that story! It so perfectly evokes a parent's frustrations and distress and feelings of helplessness. At the same time, it said to me that we have absolutely NOTHING to worry about as far as Suddie is concerned. Her sense of humor will be a great source of help as time marches on. Laughter really is the best medicine. God bless her, and God help her - and Matt! It's not an easy job being a parent, but it certainly gives the greatest return on your investment.
So, with this story I send to all parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc. my prayers and hopes that you may all get your needed rest, and above all, of love -
enough. . .
|"Granny!!! Quit with the camera already!"|