Friday, April 9, 2010


Henry is asleep on my lap right now (see above picture), after a very good feeding session. He nursed in a straightforward way, and then, letting me know he was done, he pulled off and snuggled up on the pillow. I'm working on helping him take naps in his crib, but I allow for special moments like this, when I get to enjoy his sweetness right next to me. And so we've been like this for nearly an hour.

And I've taken the time to ponder, as I've looked out the windows across a beautiful southern Utah landscape. (Red dirt, green shrubs, low foothills, a white Snow Canyon, and snow-covered Rocky Mountains in the far distance. Beautiful juxtaposition.) My mind has rolled over my short experience as a mother--a mere 10 weeks. Since pregnancy was the prelude to being a mother, I've also thought about the nine months preceding Henry's entry into this world. It is yet to be one year since I became pregnant. And here, on my lap, sits a most angelic little boy whose existence was something I could only dream about last year.

How life changes.

I thought pregnancy was hard; but pregnancy really is not much more than a bit of inconvenience when compared to the result--a beautiful baby boy. And a beautiful baby boy with needs. I struggled to understand why anyone would want to be a mother more than once as I worked through the physical and emotional recovery process. Before Henry's birth, I had planned to take a trip down to St. George a week after Henry's arrival. "No big deal," I thought. In fact, Matt and I thought we wouldn't need too much help once Henry was born, so we didn't even schedule Nana to come and stay.

Henry toppled all of those plans. Nana was needed--as well as aunts and uncles--for a few weeks while I tried to just be able to get up off the bed and walk without pain. And while I struggled physically, food needed to be made, laundry needed to be done, and things needed to be cleaned. And Henry; Henry needed 24-hour attention. Where was some sort of oasis for me to just be able to wrap my mind around what had just happened to our family--and my body?

I never did find that oasis.

But now, as I sit here with Henry, I can hardly remember the pain and chaos of those first days and weeks. And month. Time has silently and subtly changed me. I don't feel pain anymore. I'm not walking around in a tired daze. And I don't look at Henry in a stupefied stare as I try to figure out what he needs.

Instead I delight in the milky smell of his breath and the chubbiness of his cheeks. I thank him for sleeping through the night--for two weeks consistently now. I love to change his diaper, because that happens to be when he is most talkative. I like to read him the scriptures each day. We have been able to get through about 10 verses each time, and we talk about what the words mean and what I want him to understand from them. I adore his smiles; I consider them a sound reward for any sacrifices I might be making.

And I'm so grateful for his patience. I'm still learning how to understand him and respond appropriately. He's still learning how to clearly communicate. But we are getting better, and I know we are both eager to forgive one another for any mishap and move on.

I suppose someone could have sat me down and explained how hard this would be. I would have nodded in agreement, saying how much I knew this upcoming change would be difficult.

But I didn't really know anything; now I know. And you know what? I think I could handle doing it again. Especially if the result is as sweet as Henry is.


Sara said...

Wow! That sums up just about exactly how I felt. It was quite overwhelming at first, but so wonderful to see your child grow and learn and figure things out.

Dan said...

Lilon says you are so lucky to have Henry sleep through the night at 10 weeks. He truly is an angel. None of mine slept through the night until 6 months. I lived through a lot of tired haze.

Daniel and Kate Johnson said...

Beautifully said! Isn't it true that no matter how many books you read, mothers you talk to, and friends you consult, you never know how hard, or how rewarding motherhood truly is.

Emily said...

So true...motherhood cannot really be understood mentally to the same degree that is understood by experience. I had similar feelings as you did when Jason was born. But, I will tell you that in many ways, it was easier to have a second one because I knew what to expect after having the first. I knew I would be tired. I also knew it would take time to understand what the baby needed. I used to feel so frustrated because my mother's intuition didn't just magically kick in with Jason, as I found myself struggling to know what he wanted. But, I've learned to be more patient with myself as I become a mother.

Birrell Family said...

Wonderfully thoughtful words... very blessed boy to have you for his Mom & Dad.

Ashley said...

aww what a sweet post. Way to put motherhood into words. I felt the same way when ethan was born that it would be "difficult" but i wouldn't need any help. Boy was I wrong. =)