letting go

Last Wednesday night was the last night that I breastfed Abraham. And to be completely honest, my emotions are all.over.the.place.

We’ve been taking steps towards this moment for months. Gordon and I have a work trip in May and logistically it was time.

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But it’s made my reflective and nostalgic heart leap into my throat. I had to catch my breath so many times that day. Realising that night before bedtime would be our last time.

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And it was all over so quickly. What once felt never-ending, vanished before me. He pulled off and smiled, and was ready for bed. How? How did this happen?

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Twenty-six books read on my iPhone, in the middle of the night and during the slow hours of the afternoon. Numerous Netflix shows. Two bouts of mastitis (one at 8 weeks and another at 19 months). Colic. Three months where I had to stand and feed him, bouncing and swaying. Feeding though the night until 19 months – when he finally started to sleep through. Multiple biting phases. Missed out on so many social events I have lost count. Had to accept new limits to my own abilities. I’ve fed him on planes, trains, in cars, on buses, up hills, on floors, in toilets, at weddings, at restaurants. Tucked away in rooms. And countless tears shed in the middle of the night, morning, afternoon….alone….wondering if I was measuring up. Feeling all the while I was failing him somehow. Failing myself….missing out on who I used to be. Angry for all the times I couldn’t do more or be more.

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It is, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And yet it’s heart wrenching to say goodbye. We’ve been through so much, together. This wee man and I. My first born.

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But it’s time. It’s time to let go. Just a little bit. Motherhood is this gradual letting go. Of my own perfectionist tendencies. Having a baby who would not sleep, unless next to me, in my arms, or attached to my boob….it forced me to give up so many expectations of what I thought motherhood would be. So many expectations I had of myself, and didn’t even realise. Letting go of my fears and failures. Letting go of my control. And, honestly, letting go of the vice-like grip I want to maintain on this tiny human. His independence terrifies me, and exhilarates me all at once. Ah the paradox of motherhood.

It makes no logical sense. He’s ruined me, this boy. My son…..words that still feel foreign to me.

And I am reminded of another mother. A mother who stood at the foot of a bloodied cross….and let go. Watching her precious firstborn son become a mocked, ridiculed, mangled, broken, and bleeding mess. She let go without fully understanding. I can’t even imagine that pain. She watched her hope die….in darkness and in grief. Without fully knowing that moment was the moment her Hope was actually birthed….how did she not scream out ‘TAKE ME INSTEAD!!!!’? How did she let go?

….Because she knew her son. And she knew her Father. And isn’t that the key to our surrender? Our surrender in the midst of the most horrific pain we know. Of watching the things and people we love most, die?

This is the Father who also let go of His son. Not only let go, but turned his back. What parent would ever turn their back when their child cries out, ‘If this is possible, remove this cup from me?’…. ‘Why have you forsaken me?’

He rejected, forsook, poured out His wrath….and heaped all of the anguish, betrayal, horror, and blackness that is sin on His precious Son…..So that he might rescue all of His lost children. That is an impossible choice that no parent wants to face. Yet our Father did. He faced into it. For love.

We live on the other side of resurrection. We can know now the hope of the third day. Through the midst of all the darkness and pain.

And in this seemingly insignificant letting go in my life…I can know that the loss I feel, as it does….gives birth to something far greater and more beautiful. I don’t know what that is yet….but that is the hope we have. The hope of resurrection.

Indeed. In all our ‘little’ and deep letting goes, in all the mundane and normal, all the big and excruciating moments of life….they are sowing the seeds of resurrection.

And I, for one, can’t wait to see what they become.

‘See? I am making all things new.’

-Jesus.

Midnight Hours

Abraham

You’re asleep on my chest. Like you used to do when you were really little. I’m realising more and more how to lean in to these moments. How precious they are. I know that sounds cliche. But I have no other word to use. Mothering’s language is severely lacking.

I think back to the night you were born. All rush and lights. All pain and fear. Then relief. A shaking and joyous meeting.

Then my utter overwhelmed-ness. As you tried to latch for the first time. How I nervously asked the midwife to help. My hands still shaking in shock from your birth. IVs being placed and the doctor coming in to make sure I wasn’t going to pass out in a seizure. The buzz.

Then the quiet. That first night. Alone with you. My son. The adrenaline keeping me awake even as you slept soundly. Asking the midwife to help me lay you down in your cot so I could go to the toilet. I’d seemingly forgot all my knowledge of babies. Could I just set you down? My first experience of mother guilt and unsurity. Those two ever pervading emotions that have hounded me these last seven and a half months.

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My son. Still a word I can’t quite bring myself to realise is true. You’ve grown so much more into the wee little man you will be. I’m now facing a whole new set of emotions. What’s it going to be like to have you walking? To be able to have a conversation with you?

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I feel so underprepared for this journey we’re on. As do most mothers I think. I feel the lack of myself every day.

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But then I look at you. All curled in my arms. Snuffling and snuggling. And I’m reminded that you are a gift. That of all the babies. And all the parents. You were given to us.

And I’m reminded of another presence. A constant Presence. One that will never leave or forsake. No matter where we are on this journey, He is with us. And when I feel weak with exhaustion, and emotions threaten to overcome me….He is strong. And He gives good gifts…..they may be overwhelming, they may reveal the lack of ourselves, but they are GOOD. Just like He is. And on all journeys into His gifts, of sorrow or joy, He walks with us. When I am weak, He is strong.

So I lean in. Into His grace and into His joy. This is my strength and song.

And you, you my precious sweet boy are my laughter and tears. My gift. A gift of a journey that is ever unfolding. So I’m leaning in.

‘”Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.’
Isaiah 46:3-4

Below is a wee something I wrote in the first two weeks after Bram was born, overwhelmed by the transition into motherhood and the lonely hours of night….

Midnight Hours

These small
short eternal hours
with you

In the dark
dreamy landscape
of night

My selfhood
seeps out and entangles
around this

Your hand
held upon my breast
in a fist

No longer
little only simple me
inside

We expand
entirely encompassing, enshrouding
embracing each other

This calm
comforting moment of peace
to simply be

All I do is for you.

I forget. I forget this a lot. Like. A LOT. During my days it’s easy to resent how little help I have. How much I have to do. How little time there is to do it all. And oh my we only have one of these miniature humans. How we both feel like we’re running around passing a baby back and forth, resentful when the other person takes a ‘break’. ‘What about ME?’ my heart so frequently asks.

But what if all (and I mean ALL) that I do is not for me. Or for Gordon. Or even for this little boy? What if all that I do is for You?

How does that change things? How does that change my perspective? My heart?

I don’t quite know yet. But I want to find out. Jesus help me to live like this. To live in this awareness that every nappy I change, every vegetable I steam, every time I’m hauling the pram up and down the stairs, every time he’s inconsolable and fussy, every time I recoil at the smell of me (all sour milk and spit up), every load of washing I hang out, every sock I fold, every midnight hour…..all of it is for you.

And let me be changed by this.image