**I am a part of a small blogger collective consisting of other mom bloggers and each month we are given a word “prompt” to write about. The first prompt in the series is “define”**
I’ve had a lot of time to think about this post, but honestly, it has had me stumped from the very beginning. The thing that I keep coming back to is how differently I define my priorities from before I became a mother, and how being the parent to a sick baby has defined what I value as important.
I write this for new or soon-to-be mamas who are trying to define what is important for their baby, amidst everyone is telling them what is important. I also write this as a new mom to the experienced mamas who really like to express (and express…) what is important.
Before Lucy was born, motherhood meant cloth diapers, breastfeeding, and kangaroo care. I read all the articles shared by other moms expressing wholeheartedly and fervently how important it was to “_______” (insert random important baby thing here) I defined myself as a “natural parent” (and I wasn’t even really a parent yet!) These seem to be some of the main arguments in the “mommy wars” that I see going on. Things like, who is a “natural mom” and who does the “standard”, and what’s best of those? I had strong opinions about it. I was firm in the type of mother I would be. I had my priorities.
The thing that I never saw coming though, was how completely and totally insignificant these things become when you’ve been sitting next to an incubator with your premature baby who is a few hours post-op and looks like a bionic baby with every kind of wire and tube imaginable coming out of her.
My definition of priorities needed to make a seismic shift.
When your in that situation, you don’t ask the nurse “Why doesn’t she have a cloth diaper on? Are those wipes organic bamboo?” You ask “When will she be off morphine?” ”When can I hold her?”
And after it was all said and done and we were home with our formula bottled (and later tube fed), disposable diapered, not snuggly “I HATE TO BE HELD” baby (which meant baby wearing was not an option) I wondered what people would think of me. All the comments, articles, conversations I had heard or read about natural parenting floated around in my head. I would log into mom forums and see posts declaring”Breast is best!” and feel despair (and would despair even more when people would say that if you don’t breastfeed you obviously didn’t work hard enough at it). Articles posted about how terrible disposable diapers were for the environment riddled my conscience with guilt (we didn’t end up cloth diapering because it was too much to deal with, with all her other issues). I’d also hear things about how baby-wearing was the best thing for baby and mom, try it out and watch my baby scream and squirm until I put her back down (*side note* I think this is because of a few things, 1), she spent a lot of time in a hospital bed in the first few weeks and I couldn’t hold her so she wasn’t used to it, and 2) she had surgery on her stomach which I think may have made her sensitive to pressure during skin to skin**)
Eventually, I had to change my definition as to what was a necessity for her and our situation, and what was just icing on the cake.
Here’s the thing.
Sometimes you just can’t breastfeed. Sometimes you do all the right things to make it possible but your baby might not latch right, or scream constantly, or you have hardly any milk (or all of the above). Sometimes you may have to give your baby formula, and guess what? They will live.
Sometimes you may have to use disposable diapers because there are a million and a half other things that are more important at the time than scraping baby poop off a diaper so you can wash and reuse it.
Sometimes things won’t go as you planned.
And sometimes I just want to shake some of these mamas and say “Just be happy your baby is healthy!”
I don’t say these things to diminish the importance of making wise decisions for your baby. It’s obviously important to give your baby the best care possible. But guess what? In the end, when you go home from the hospital with a healthy baby, that’s all that matters. If your baby eats*, sleeps** and poops*** you are pretty well off. No…not just pretty well off. You are blessed.
*We all know Lucy’s story with eating, or rather, lack thereof eating. Who would have thought that the idea of a baby willingly eating would be such a dream?
**Her heart murmur caused her to sleep a LOT. When she was at the peak of heart failure just before her surgery she would sleep an alarming amount of time. We are only just starting to see her personality now.
***After having surgery on her intestines the first poop was pretty exciting, let me tell you. Whenever changing a poopy diaper, I think about the work that went into making that poopy diaper possible…tiny intestines being stitched together by a brilliant surgeon, you guys. It’s amazing.
“Defined” is the March writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Gillian of Comes in Colours. A few words from Gillian — Hey, I’m Gillian and I blog at Comes in Colours! I am passionate about motherhood and passionate about photography. I am married to my middle school sweetheart and we are now raising our two boys, Roman and Asher, in northern Colorado. My life is real and far from perfect but my blog is a place where I celebrate motherhood through pictures and words. Connect with Gillian on Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin and pop by her blog to say hello.
/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///