They call me mama

Oh what a name.

“Mama!”

I feel tiny hands grasping my legs. The word, the name isn’t just that… it’s begging to be seen, it’s a request for validation from one of my tiniest, dearest loves.

Tonight it utterly struck me… to be called “mama” is one one the greatest gifts I have ever been given. It is my greatest joy. It is my highest calling. It is my God-given, sacred title that I treasure deeply.

Mama.

I am writing these words so that I remember them when the going gets tough. I want to remember, when I am at the end of my rope and I am exhausted and I have just done every single chore in the house and taken care of every single need these children possess, when I am weary and exhausted… they call me mama.

From the moment I became a married woman, I only ever wanted to be a mother.

Even before knowing David would be my husband, I knew my number one dream was to be a mother.

So when I am exhausted beyond belief, worn down, and raw as can be… I want to remember that I am the one they call mama. I am the one God have them to be mama. No one else. And, oh, what blessing it is to be called mama.

how do you take your coffee?

How do you take your coffee?

With a splash of whatever milk is on hand or, if I’m lucky, cream.

Early in the morning, around 6AM, while my babies are still sleeping in my bed.

Bleary-eyed, especially without my glasses. (Where did I leave them?)

Heart open, bleeding, raw, seeking.

Accompanied with psalms, prayers, whatever bible reading is on the agenda for today (or wherever God takes me in the scriptures).

Journaling until my hand is aching.

Silent, selfish prayers for my kids to stay asleep a little longer so I can enjoy the quiet.

A second cup of coffee. I consider adding raw sugar and think better of it.

Reading words written by some of my favorite women-writers because creativity breeds creativity and I am looking to be inspired.

Writing my own words.

Taking a deep breath. Eager for my day to begin and nervous about what it holds.

How do you take your coffee?

late night thoughts after my babies are in bed

lately i’ve been finding my voice again

like a long-lost friend

like the one who got away

like a companion i never knew i needed

lately i’ve been finding my strength again

i’ve been writing, reading, investing in myself like never before

as it feels like everything is crumbling around me

i also feel myself falling in love with my life again

all of the dirt being washed away

being made new, day-by-day

a newfound love for the things that once set my soul on fire

a remembrance of the girl lying beneath the rubble

i gentle pull her out

i dust her off and begin to clothe her so she doesn’t feel so exposed

i gently reassure her that it will all be okay

she is terrified, but i look into her eyes and remind her that she can only control herself

stop trying to make everyone like you

stop trying to prove yourself

stop lying, stealing, manipulating

you were redeemed by a Savior who had nothing to gain by rescuing your sick soul

go forth and sin no more

you are loved exactly as you are

no need to pretend

there is only love for those who walk in the light

so step out of darkness

and remember the purity of first love

remember the joy of walking through the grass barefoot as a child

remember the embrace of the Father’s arms

you will never be enough, no matter how hard you strive

and it was never meant to be that way

rest in His grace and love

On Weaning

I never imagined I would be the one to initiate the weaning process with my son. I have always loved breastfeeding him, it was our haven. We would find a quiet place to sit, whether it was an Anthropologie fitting room or a table in a coffee shop or at home in our bedroom getting ready to go to sleep for a nap, and wherever we were in the world, when we nursed we were in our own little sanctuary.

I breastfed my son for 28 months, and it feels like my breastfeeding journey with him was cut short way too soon. About two weeks after I gave birth to Clementine I developed a horrid nursing aversion. It started small, a strange, foreign feeling of being, and I can only think to describe it as, violated. I felt tingly all over my body, my muscles tensed up, I felt an intense need to end the nursing session right then. I didn’t understand what was happening at all! I googled it, prayed through it, and as soon as he drifted off into dreamland I was able to unlatch him and take a deep breath. And just like that the feeling was gone. It went on like this for a few more weeks, I was able to nurse him as much as I always had and occasionally the nursing aversion would strike but I would power through knowing that as soon as he unlatched I would feel better again. When I was about two months postpartum I was beginning to lose hope that it was ever going to get better. I had read online and talked to other moms who said that with time it usually gets better and they were able to keep nursing a while longer. But for the moms who continued to have an aversion to breastfeeding their older children were forced to wean. I was stubborn and told myself and my husband that I was not going to wean him myself, my plan had always been to let him wean himself when he was ready. By the looks of things, that wasn’t going to be anytime soon. He was, at the time, nursing as much as Clementine and quite attached to nursing as a comforting thing (which I adored).

Over time it didn’t get better, it got worse. I was usually able to nurse him if I was in a public place where the atmosphere around me was a distraction, or if I had a friend sit with me and talk. Occasionally I would try to read or watch a video on my phone, but usually that wasn’t enough. At about three months postpartum nothing helped anymore. David would rub my feet while I nursed Judah to sleep at night and I would be crying the whole time. Our nursing relationship wasn’t sweet anymore, instead it was full of tension and confusion on both sides. Judah didn’t understand why I was telling him no so often and he also didn’t understand why I kept letting him nurse just to ask him to stop a few minutes later.

I was sitting with a friend on a play date and Judah walked over and asked for “boobah” (his word for breastfeeding). I sighed and picked him up and proceeded to nurse him as I took deep breaths, squirmed, and tried to keep the conversation going to distract myself. Nothing was helping. My friend, a wise woman and a huge advocate for extended breastfeeding, said to me “Isabelle, it’s time to wean.” I knew she was right. But where do I start? He sobs when I tell him no and no breaks my heart to tell him no when we have always nursed on demand. But when I really thought about it, the bond I loved so much that we shared in breastfeeding was already gone because of this wretched nursing aversion. I began by simply only letting him nurse first thing in the morning, at nap time, and bedtime unless David was home to help put him to sleep.

It’s been two weeks since we first started weaning and I nurse him now probably once or twice every other day. Usually it’s because he’s extra tired and overstimulated while we’re out in public or maybe he fell and got hurt. I’ve been giving him almond milk, coconut milk, or hemp milk first thing in the morning, naps, bedtime, and any other time he would ask for “boobah”. He fondly calls it his “milky” and it’s been a sweet comfort during this hard process for us both. He will drink his milky and snuggle with me while we read a book and that’s how he falls asleep or wakes up in the morning, and now the sweetness that the nursing aversion stole has returned. While I miss the sweetness of breastfeeding my firstborn, I know it was the right decision for everyone. It’s best for Judah that his mother isn’t pushing him away, becomes anxious when he’s near because he may ask to breastfeed, or even has a full on panic attack when he is at the breast doing what they have done for two whole years.

A week ago I was deeply struggling with the decision to wean. I knew he wasn’t ready because of his constant requests and strong attachment to nursing. Emotionally I wasn’t ready to wean but sadly physically and mentally I was. I was pouring my heart out in prayer and I went into the scriptures to do my usual reading. I was reading in the psalms as I always do and then this verse was in front of my eyes. I burst into tears and thanked God over and over for the beautiful confirmation in this simple verse!

Right now my son rests against me, totally peaceful and fell asleep without hurt or confusion over why he couldn’t nurse. I was so worried but God had a plan, and even though we didn’t nurse nearly as long as I had hoped, it was ordained by Him and because of that I have peace.

My soul is indeed quieted and my heart at peace knowing this is God’s best for me and my boy.

Finding Our Rhythm As A Family Of Four

Clementine is now 9 weeks old and we are quite settled into our new normal. This transition from one to two kids is so much easier than transitioning from zero kids to being a mom! Seriously, I am so shocked at how easy this whole process has been.

I feel pretty rested, I’m getting a good night’s rest most night and I definitely owe that to co-sleeping. I usually sleep with both kids on either side of me or just Clementine in my arms and Judah in another room with David. It just depends on the night. Judah doesn’t wake to nurse in the night anymore but he does love to snuggle and Clem really doesn’t wake very often at all, maybe once or twice. Both of my kids love their sleep! I was so nervous about naptime before Clementine was born. How would I manage napping with two kids?? Especially when Judah still needs to nurse to sleep? But the beautiful thing is Judah doesn’t always need to nurse to sleep, he just loves to be close to me. So everyday I am sandwiches in between both children for at least two hours and it is amazing. I usually get to rest, read, nap, watch a documentary. I’m so grateful because I was sure this would never happen and I would never get my precious rest during nap time.

Soon after she was born (maybe a month) I began watching one of Judah’s little friends, a daughter of one of my friends. She is two and a half and it’s really nice to have another child in the house. Judah has fun playing with a friend and I actually enjoy the challenge of caring for the three children.

I am currently tandem nursing, though it hasn’t been easy. The first two weeks were amazing! I easily nursed them both, at the same time, with such ease. They would both fall asleep in my arms and it was positively heavenly! But around two weeks postpartum a horrible nursing aversion struck each time I nursed Judah, only him and never Clementine. Now, 9 weeks postpartum I am still dealing with the aversion and the creepy crawly feeling I get when I nurse him sometimes. But I am determined to fight through it and pray it passes so we can wean when he’s ready. I certainly am not ready, and there’s no way he would give it up. It’s such a special bond and it’s so healthy. This is the first time in two years I’ve even considered weaning! But I’m pretty stubborn and I plan on pushing through it and praying once my hormones balance out a bit better the aversion will subside.

The burden of juggling motherhood, marriage and being a diligent housekeeper has not ceased. We are working on getting a laundry room in our apartment (city living problems!) which I know will make a world of a difference. I’m also trying to make a cleaning schedule for myself so I can be sure I keep up with household chores while still spending time with my family and taking care of myself.

We are slowly finding out rhythm and it feels so good. This is just a little blog post to update you on how we are doing since Clemmy was born, I plan on doing a blog post soon detailing our daily rhythm a bit more.

I love motherhood. Period. This beautiful calling the Lord has put on my life is the most special gift He has every given me (besides that of being a wife). This hard and holy job of raising these tiny humans and caring for the home our family shares seems small in some minds but it is the biggest, most important thing in my mind. I am so grateful.