Tonight my baby girl is having trouble sleeping. She has actually been struggling with this for a while but tonight I believe it is because her ear is hurting AND she is about to cut her third tooth. She also has issues with peeing too much and getting her jammies wet - LOL! So, since putting her down I've been working on a massive decluttering project in the room next to her while diligently keeping an ear to the monitor.
An hour or so ago I heard some cries. I stopped what I was doing, went to the bathroom to wash my hands and quickly swooped in to see what was the matter. Baby girl was all wet, down to her jammies as usual so I made haste to get her changed and all dry so that we could get back to the matter of sleep. She was none too happy about the interruption to her sleep but it wasn't too long before she was snuggled up on my chest ready to head back to her sweet baby dreams. As I was rocking her I began to reflect on the grace of God and the second chances He provides.
You see it was not that long ago when those cries from the monitor would cause my heart to skip a beat. I would feel panicked and completely terrified about entering the nursery to see what was the matter. Becoming a new mom, experiencing post partum depression and having the most unhappy newborn ever stripped me of whatever confidence I may have had in my abilities. Every cry struck fear in my heart because I knew what the outcome would be - hours and hours of me not being able to soothe my baby.
Tonight as I was rocking her I realized how far I've come....how far God has brought me...and how far Olivia has come. I was thinking back to September when we took her on vacation to the beach and how awful it was. I was thinking of how I spent that vacation trying to make an unhappy baby slightly happy and how when vacation was over and it was time for me to return to work from maternity leave, I was thankful. Thankful and ashamed.
I had big dreams of not returning to work after maternity leave. We had worked it out with our finances and I was just waiting to have the baby and make sure it was something I still wanted to do. I was sure that come September I would realize my dream of being a stay at home mom. I took care to hire a replacement at work for my leave that I thought would be a good fit permanently. I even cleaned out my office. I worked tirelessly before my leave to make sure that when I didn't return as planned that the transition would be smooth. Well, you know what they say about best laid plans, right?
By the time Olivia was 7 weeks old I had conjured up more irrational thoughts than you can imagine, had to be put on medication and knew I was not going to fulfill my dream. Making the decision to return to work was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do that I didn't want to do that I knew I needed to do (is your tongue tied yet?!). Not only did I have to make that decision but also knew that I wasn't even going to make it through 12 weeks of leave as the sole caregiver for my sweet baby girl. I actually had to hire a part-time caregiver before I even went back to work. Talk about shame. I was filled with it.
But tonight I was reminded again of the love of God and His amazing ways. Sometimes you have to go through something really hard in order to appreciate it the way you need to. I don't know if God purposely allowed me to go through what I have or He has just worked it for my good but I can tell you that I find joy in being a mother to Olivia in ways I don't think I would have if it were not for what I've been through. I appreciate God's grace towards me and see His provision of a second chance at embracing motherhood and treasuring even the cries of my baby in ways I would not had I not been through what I have been. It's hard to even think this but sometimes I am actually thankful for the hard road for we would never appreciate the easy road had we not walked the hard one. As a famous poet once wrote "I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference."