Faith is something I believe we all have, it's just a matter of what you have faith IN. For me, I have faith in God and that He is in control of all things, despite what I may think at times. My faith has been tested and strengthened in so many ways over the last few years. Most recently, I am discovering a whole new level of faith.
Looking back to when I was trying to get pregnant, I feel like my faith in God and what was meant for our lives was tested. I realize it was only a year and a half and some women take much longer to get pregnant, but in that time, my fears of never being pregnant were coming true. To know that it was my body that was not functioning properly and no matter what I did, nothing was happening. (check out My Pregnancy Story for details). You can never truly know that feeling until you have been there; to desperately want a child, but know it's not about what you want. The journey of coming to terms with the fact that I may not get pregnant was a revelation. It was a moment in my life where I can say I 100% gave up all control and put all of my faith in God - that He knew what was meant for my life. Only He could give us the babies I so desperately wanted. And that was really what it was about: I wanted a baby. When I really accepted that it was not about what I wanted, to get pregnant and to get pregnant naturally without treatments, is when my faith was taken up several notches. And every time I felt her kick, I thanked God because I never wanted to take those moments for granted.
Another example, is when I was waiting for the delivery of my son. I felt as though he was much bigger than my daughter and I had so many pre-labor symptoms that I was sure he would be early. Well at 39 weeks (the week of Christmas) and still only 1 cm dilated; my fears of having to make the decision to induce were becoming more real. I hated the idea of deciding when to have my baby. I felt like it should not be up to me or the doctors and he should come whenever he was ready. We attended Christmas Eve services and I had this overwhelming feeling of peace during the song, “Lord I Need You.” After going to the hospital for a false alarm a few days earlier and my due date four days away, I needed to hear those words. Relaxing and trusting that God is in control, again even if it is not my way, was a significant
I believe we are always growing in our faith. I believe that part of being a Christian is continually learning about ourselves and strengthening our faith in God. We know we should always give control to God, and we know how difficult that can be in our day-to-day activities. God has been such a strength for me in so many areas of life, dealing with family issues, dealing with past issues (aka baggage), marriage, parenting, childbirth, and the list goes on. I am a controller by nature, and I say since I am aware of this and I am working on it, then it's OK. But it isn't OK, and I know I have to put even more faith in God and purposefully take less control.
Since staying home with baby number two, my faith has reached another level in a way that I cannot even put into words. It is so amazing to me how when I am in constant prayer and talking to God, despite how difficult the situation, I can feel His strength in me. It is such a sense of calming assurance because for those that know me, I can be just a little uptight. My husband is polar opposite to me in that area. It takes a mountain to make him upset. This is great for me because he can almost always bring me back to earth when I have gone off on some tangent that is so incredibly irrational and ridiculous. I'm sure he has some crazy stories. But you know, when you are home with a toddler and an infant, all day, alone, and there is no one there to bring you back down, it can be a scary feeling. I mean, really is the toddler going to say, "It's OK if the baby doesn't sleep, here I'll hold him while you take a break." No, I don't really think so.
With my daughter, I had quite a bit of pain with breastfeeding for the first three months. She was also a finicky eater, and it needed to be quiet with no distractions. We also had trouble getting her to nap and back to sleep in the beginning, as in the first six weeks. Once I put her on a schedule, she was napping and sleeping through the night by nine weeks old. I realize this sounds crazy, but it is true. She has been an excellent sleeper since, and I have remained consistent with her and her schedule. My son on the other hand, does not seem to be affected as much being put on a schedule. His eating is even more finicky, and I pumped and bottle-fed all but one feeding for about six weeks. It was emotionally, mentally and physically exhausting. I knew how much he was getting and he seemed more content, but it was not really helping his sleep. He doesn't really like to nap, and he would wake up at 3, 4 or 5 a.m. and I knew he wasn't hungry. I know women who exclusively pump by their choice, which is totally fine, for them. Pumping was not something I wanted to do.
The actual pumping, washing all the parts, warming bottles, all took time, time away from both of them. I continued to pray and one day I could not get him to sleep for his afternoon nap. I had not had lunch, and I was a couple hours OVERdue to pump. If I didn't eat, my supply would dip, if I didn't pump, my supply would dip. The next morning, instead of pumping at 9:30, I decided I was going to nurse him at his 10 a.m. feeding. I asked God for relaxation, strength and patience. I prayed throughout the entire feeding, and he fed without any issues. My faith had hit a new level. It was the most relaxed I had ever felt during a feeding. I have been nursing ever since and that was about three weeks ago. He still doesn't always want to pay attention at the 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. feeds, but I respond differently and just have a sense of peace that our bodies are meant to breastfeed and I have the milk, and the milk will come out (the letdown) and this child will be fed sufficiently. I have friends who could not breastfeed at all, and I felt selfish for even contemplating formula because pumping was "too hard." I have the supply, and I could not be more thankful and grateful for my ability to continue to breastfeed and even more grateful that I have been able to stop pumping. No, I do not have a stash built up like I did with my daughter, but I'm not worried about it anymore. If I need additional milk, then I will figure it out at that point.
The first night I nursed him at the bedtime feeding, he fell asleep and was so much more relaxed and slept better than he had been sleeping. Now of course this did not last. We have since gone downhill in the nap area and nighttime is hit or miss. I do feel at this point though he needs extra time to wind down and he can't go down unless he is in the "sleepy but not overtired" window. This is a short window and it has to be just right, or so it seems.
Sleep is very important to me. My body requires more than average or it literally shuts down ... you can ask my college roommates. So the early morning wake-ups and the 30-minute naps with continuous crying have been wearing me down. He has gone stretches of sleeping well and then something happens. A few times it was growth spurts, other times, I have NO IDEA. I had been following Baby Whisperer's guide and trying the pick up/put down method. I'm not even sure I was doing it right, but whatever I was doing was not working. It seemed to make him even more upset. I was to the point of "rocking" him to sleep (which meant me standing up bouncing) and even then he would usually jolt awake when I laid him down. It was awful. This too was incredibly draining, physically, mentally and emotionally. We are talking two naps a day, seven days a week for four weeks that his naps had gotten this bad. We probably had 3-4 good nap days in that time period .... this momma was about to lose her mind.
I prayed throughout this time, but every time he woke up after only 30 minutes, it's like this huge weight of stress and anger would build up … What woke him up? What could I have done differently? Should we not have gone to lunch? How should I change his schedule? I would get so angry at myself and some anger at him too, why won't you sleep? Aren't you tired? Whereas several months ago I was putting him down awake and he would settle himself to sleep, now it was taking 10-45 minutes to get him down and still wake up after 30-45 minutes. Just when I thought I couldn't get up another night, he would sleep. I always said, God knew I needed a break. :)
Last week, I took a new approach. One that I don't really like, but had I semi done this at 8 weeks, we probably wouldn't have this problem at 8 months. I let him cry. I honestly could not bounce him to sleep another nap. So last week, I did not put him in the sleep suit and did not use the pacifier (at this point it was a distraction anyway) and let him cry for 3-5 minute intervals. Yes, it was still awful, but me bouncing him to sleep was taking us down a road that I knew I did not want to go. I believe self-soothing is such an important tool to learn.
Since then, we have had some very restless nights and some great nights. I'm not sure how to comment on how his naps are at this point. Today, I prayed for help in how to help him relax and wind down. I prayed for me to have patience and to really listen to his cries and what he is trying to tell me. I had faith that I could have the calming confidence I needed to put him down to go to sleep. I remained focused on how God is always with us. It was such a change in my mindset. He did sleep better today, until the UPS man honked his horn; possibly a coincidence. Little Man had been asleep for an hour, which is sometimes when he cries out, then goes back to sleep on his own - must be a change in sleep cycle. But today, the horn made sure he didn't settle himself back to sleep (feel the need to blame something, right?). It took close to 45 minutes to get him back to sleep, but in that time, I felt different. I remained relaxed and calm. Again, I feel like my faith has taken another step.
There are so many areas of my life that I need to continue to work on, but to know what it feels like to have such a sense of peace through prayer and putting 200% of trust and faith in something, but not just in anything- in God -feels amazing. Who can you really say you trust whole-heartedly without doubt, without fear of judgment, without the risk of failing? I have faith in God and trust that I will continue to nurse Little Man and that he will sleep, but if he doesn't then it will be OK and I am not alone.
There was a sermon several weeks ago at our church about the Holy Spirit and how it lives within us. God is with us all the time. We are truly never alone. That really resonated with me and that is what is constantly on my mind, especially when it gets stressful. I try to draw on that inner feeling that God really is always with us. Personally, it is physically relaxing my shoulders and core and just breathing while praying, “God is with me. God is with me.” Of course I forget or I get wound up and have irrational moments, but I know it doesn’t matter. God is still with me even during my moments of insanity or irrationalization. I am amazed and grateful for the wonderful blessings God has given me and our family. And my faith in God is kind of like the love I have for my husband, just when I think it's pretty strong, something happens and it gets even stronger.
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Scripture/Quote of the Week:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
Who Am I?
Hi! I am Pam. I am so glad you stopped by to take a look at my blog. I am a Christian, wife, stay at home PCOS mom to three amazing kiddos and I'm all about all natural living and eating....realistically.
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There are several pages with information on what works for our family, references and my passions. Hop over to the About section for more details on my story and I hope you will follow me in this journey! I'm always open to comments!