Naming the struggles: transition to life with a new baby

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(“Maternity” (1935) by José de Almada Negreiros via P. Ribeiro Simões, Flickr CC)

“You name our suffering, and that makes us want to come close to You.”

(Rev. Glenn Hoburg, Grace Presbyterian Church)

The second I heard those words, I put down my pen and slammed my journal shut.

Did I hear that right? I thought. How did he know? How was it possible that those words, preached in a church about the New Testament book of Romans, could have anything to do with my parenting a three-year old and a 10-month old baby?

Although uttered in the form of a prayer, referring to God’s relationship with His children, that sentence immediately reminded me of my three-year old daughter, E., life with a new baby (yes, still, 10 months later), and my ability to accept – and confront – all of E.’s feelings.

Let me explain. Continue reading

It all begins and ends with me: the heart of parenting

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(Photo courtesy of Barbara W, Flickr Creative Commons)

Last Thursday I had to excuse myself from E.’s bedroom. “Necesito un descanso,” I told her. I need a break.

What I didn’t tell her was why.

But, I could feel the anger swirling in my stomach. My muscles were tight. I needed to step away. I needed to take a few deep breaths. I needed a time out.

“Was that okay?” I asked myself. 

Processing the situation later, I realized, “yes, of course! It’s always okay, when you sense you’re about to lose your temper, to take a break.” 

I also realized that there was more going on.  

Because in parenting there’s always more. So much more. Continue reading

Is he a good baby?…& other questions about life with two children

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¡Feliz sábado, amig@s! And, happy September! (How is it already September?)

This summer has flown by as D. and I have been adjusting to being a family of four, finding our new normal. Baby J. is already nine weeks. Two months?!

These past two months have also afforded me time to reflect on my life as mamá to a toddler and infant with all of the well wishes, congratulations, and…questions I’ve gotten from friends and family. What’s it like with two?, I’m asked often.

I’m actually thankful for all of the questions because they’ve got me thinking deep and hard about my parenting. Today I’d like to share a few of the most common questions I’ve gotten over the past few weeks and then offer alternative ones that I think are more respectful and productive in how we view babies.

Since so many other parents and child experts have written more eloquently than I ever could on these topics, I’ve included links to articles and blog posts in case you’re interested in learning more.

I look forward to keeping the conversation going, friends.

Happy weekend!

Continue reading

Reflections from postpartum, round 2

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Friends! In case you haven’t been following me on social media you may have missed the great news: we welcomed baby boy J. to our family on June 28! (That explains my long absence around the blog. I think it’s a pretty good excuse, if you ask me.)

Already a month old, he’s packing on weight like a campeón, grunting like a little old man, and enjoying the moving shadows on the blank wall next to the changing table.

That last one: watching the light on the wall from the changing table. A fine, but important, detail about my son that I completely missed postpartum with E.

I attribute my noticing J.’s intense fascination with a blank wall – and my not shoving baby rattles and mirrors in his face – to the fact that going from one to two kids is so much easier than becoming a mom for the first time. Not easy, just easier than. Continue reading