Baby Three Changed my Heart!
I was pregnant with my second child when a friend loaned me The Power of Motherhood. “You’re a fast reader, so read this and tell me what you think,” she said. I dutifully skimmed the book but returned it with a mental, “Thanks, but no thanks, I have a mothering system.” You see, I had read a book about scheduling and getting your babies to sleep through the night--man’s wisdom on parenting. I rigidly followed this schedule which involved letting your baby cry it out to teach the child to sleep.
My first child, Kaiser, slept through the night at six weeks. He was also fully weaned by that time, but he cried a lot to achieve that. The chapter in The Power of Motherhood titled “Mothers are Nurturers” especially grated me. I was convinced that this scheduling method was the way I’d mother all my children.
I read in that chapter the Scripture from Isaiah 66:10-13, “That you may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations: that you may milk out and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus saith the Lord, Behold I will extend peace to her like a river, and the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Nancy followed by saying “Nursing is…total mothering to meet every need of the child…to satisfy, delight, console and comfort.” I was not moved. This way of mothering was not for me!
God gave us baby number two, my little redhead named Hudson. I scheduled him and he slept through the night at six weeks, self-soothing by sucking his thumb. I did manage to nurse him until he was 15 months old. This scheduling was so easy; baby number three would be no problem.
Baby number three arrived, my first little girl, Adeline. I tried to schedule her for the first three months of her life. But, she would not be scheduled! She began to NOT sleep! She slept no longer than 45 minutes at a time 24 hours a day. She wanted to sleep with me! A big no-no according to the book. I was reeling! What had happened? Why wasn’t this working?
I was a mess due to the lack of sleep, but God finally had my attention. To save my sanity, I stopped trying to schedule and began to nurse when she needed me. Wonder of wonders, she began to sleep better, though she didn’t sleep through the night until she was five years old!
I began to study the Bible, seeking God’s wisdom. God brought me back to the Isaiah 66 passage and I got it! It had been three years since I had read this passage, but finally I understood. The beauty of mothering by offering my breast for comfort, nourishment, and nurturing brought peace to my soul. I was and am at rest.
Hindsight is always 20/20. Mothering my first two children, I was selfish and controlling. I didn’t want to lose sleep! The book said to let the baby cry. Slowly, I became numb to his cries and my heart turned to stone. Even my husband would ask to pick up the crying baby to rock and comfort him, but I said, “No, the book says…”
After Addie, I pressured my husband into scheduling a vasectomy. He was reluctant as he wanted more children, but because I was such a mess, he agreed. A couple of days before the consultation, I read Isaiah 66 again. God used that to not only change my mothering but to open me up to the possibility of more children. We cancelled the appointment and eventually began to study the manual, Be Fruitful and Multiply.
We began to understand God’s plan for families as we went through each Scripture. I wept for the children I had missed out on by controlling my womb. I began to realize my lack of submission to God and my husband. My husband began to understand his role in leading the house. He now has a vision to change the world through godly children.
Since then, God has added three more blessings to our home. I gave birth to Baby # 6, Noble Elias, on 23 September 2012! He was my fourth home-birth, but my first water birth--It was a wonderful experience. Noble has lots of arms willing to hold him and, of course, he sleeps beside me in the co-sleeper and nurses day and night. The other children love to make him smile and enjoy his giggles so much.
Mothering this way is such a beautiful picture of the love of God! Is it always easy? NO! With every baby I learn more about dying to myself. But, knowing my breasts comfort my little ones brings much peace to me. Now my husband has the opportunity to comfort and rock his little ones too!
Plainville, Illinois, USA