Monday, February 16, 2009

Falling in love through the blessing of children

I received a note from a young wife expecting her first baby; she told me that people say to her having a child has led many couples to divorce, because of the hardships of life with a little one. I wrote about this when I was pregnant with Shira, and I feel even more strongly now about what I said back then.

Please don't let anyone discourage you while you anticipate such a wonderful, beautiful, precious blessing. As a new mother I can tell you that yes, bringing a child into this world and adjusting to a new little one in your home is a challenge, but it's so worth it.

I think it's all about one's attitude towards marriage and family. In a marriage where each spouse only thinks of personal gain, and what they can get from the other, any circumstance that requires to put one's needs aside might easily result in unbearable strain on the marriage relationship. I believe it applies not only to welcoming a child, but also to changes such as illness, loss of employment, moving and so on.

To put it simply, children don't ruin marriages - but they definitely test our capability to stick together through thick and thin, which is impossible without a giving heart and a great deal of sacrificial love.

My husband's generous heart shone beautifully throughout my pregnancy. He displayed love, patience and devotion, constantly. When I struggled with morning sickness, he told me to let go of everything and just rest. When I fainted one Friday, he took care of all the preparations for Shabbat. He accompanied me to all the important check-ups, often having to make complicated arrangements at work for that. He was there throughout my labor, supporting and loving me every minute.

Now that we have a baby, I get to see and appreciate my husband's caring and giving heart even more. Every day when he goes to work, he tells me to rest and sleep; he never complains about lack of proper dinner, or about the floors not being mopped for weeks. He works hard, long hours, but instead of grumbling or bickering about who has the heavier load, he only thinks about how he can help.

Our little one started having colic recently, and sometimes she cries for hours, day and night. When my husband comes home, he doesn't say, "my shift is done"; he holds and soothes and comforts her, sometimes until late at night, so I can get some rest - even though he is the one who has to get up and go to work the next day. It warms my heart to see the patience and love flowing from him to our baby girl.

All this makes me feel even stronger that we are a team. The way my husband takes upon the joys and responsibilities of fatherhood makes me see him in a new angle, and love him deeply in the way of a new and very special bond. I thought I was in love with my husband when I married him, but it's nothing compared to how I love him now.

Having a child has blessed our marriage; I'm certain it will bless any marriage built on strong foundations of giving, caring, generous love. I hope you, too, fall even deeper in love with your dear husband in the upcoming months of your pregnancy and the birth of your precious baby.

38 comments:

Ivy in the Kitchen said...

Anna, to see this kind of strength in a familial bond nearly made me cry a bit (in a good way). May I just say I think your daughter is so, so blessed to have loving parents come together like that?

When I was born, it caused nothing but strife between my parents. Since my father would not fulfill the role of breadwinner, my mother worked and therefore controlled the financial side of things; my father then decided he would control me, and upset my mother in the process of doing so.

There have been a few people I have met in real life or read about through blogs that have given me hope that a happy, traditional family is still possible. Thank you for being such an inspiration.

-Ms. H.

Anonymous said...

Colic can be very difficult to endure and you are wise to allow your husband to help you. I think too many new mothers are eager to prove themselves and don't allow others to help enough. I was like that and I wish instead of pushing others away I had allowed them to help more. It would have been better for me and my children if I had done this when they were babies.

Thia said...

I am sorry that the baby has been colicy. I remember when my son was having a difficult time, I don't remember much b/c I was so tired for weeks on end, but I do remember having to walk, walk, walk with him, especially at night. I was so tired though I was afraid of dropping him. So I would tuck him into the sling and walk that way. I didn't have to worry about my tired arms and he was happy curled up in the sling. When he did fall asleep, it was easy to just lay down with him next to me, still in the sling and just move the fabric away from his face.

S. Belle said...

How wonderful that your husband blesses you in that way. You have a rare and wonderful gem, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Do you get asafoetida where you are? Rub a solution of asafoetida powder and warm water around the baby's belly for the colic.

Jacqueline said...

Dear Anna,
As for colic..I used oval drops(the name in my country)and Jess from "Making Home" talks about similar drops.I know of others removing certain foods from thier diet.

My last little one was colicky as well. I found using my sling as much as possible and letting her sleep snuggled close to me at night comforted her. I know that there is talk on that being not a good idea. But I did it with all four of my children.

My husband also enjoyed using the sling.(hehe)He would walk around the house with our last babe, proud as a peacock.It was so sweet. There is nothing that can melt my butter as much as seeing my husband bonding with the children.

I am so touched to see you enjoying the same blessing with your dear husband!

Hugs,
Jacqueline

Anonymous said...

Wow, thank you. My boyfriend and I were discussing this exact topic yesterday. Perfect timing! :)

Julia said...

Anna, it sounds like you picked a wonderful husband.

Rachel said...

gripe water can be helpful for colic if you can find it near you.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

A beautiful and inspiring post - many blessings to you, your husband and little Shira.

Our fourth child did not have classic (screaming) colic, but was miserable and spat up endlessly. At 7 months, I mentioned it to the right person (another mom), and she grilled me on what I ate. Homemade wholewheat bread turned out to be the culprit in our case (unsoaked, so perhaps too much phytic acid?) The difference was increadible, and almost instant (3 hours). We got a whole new child, and a much happier and more restful one. I was mortified when I realised that I (in my ignorance) was the cause of the baby's misery. As a bonus, the laundry was cut in half! (Honestly, we went from 5-8 outfits a day, plus 10-12 spitcloths for just that one child, to just 1-2 outfits and no spitcloths!)

It is well worth considering what you eat a lot of, and what you often eat 2-4 hours before Shira's colic starts each day. Then eat absolutely none for 3-6 days. (One thing at a time.) There's nothing to loose, and if you hit on something that eases the colic it's almost miraculous. I certainly missed the bread over the next year or so, but it was absolutely worth it.

Tracy said...

I can't be of any help with colic matters as our wee ones never suffered from it, but I think it's wonderful that you are singing your husband's praises publicly. You are both blessed!

Becky said...

Beautiful!

A Marriage After His Heart said...

I second your sentiments! It is a beautiful thing to be married to a man who loves God more than he does his wife, because he will treat her the way God has mandated in his word. Your husband sounds so much like mine, and we had such a wonderful stress free, bickering free time putting together our nursery this weekend!

About the colic, my youngest one had that and I found out it was due to what I ate while breast-feeding, I know you are a vegetarian, sometimes those veggies that are very gas producing make baby's tummy really gassy thus making them coliky. You may have to research which foods you can eat that don't have as much gas. I know I couldn't eat any broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, and others while nursing until my baby was about three or four months old.

Amber said...

I agree 100%! I am so much more in love with my husband 3 babies later then I was the day I married him! I see more of who he really is! I am so blessed, and it sounds like you are too!

As for the colic. If you have access to cat nip, make a tea (steeping for 20 mins) and give her a couple droppers full, also drink some your self. What you eat/drink goes to baby. Cat nip and fennel are calming. Andrew had a little bit of colic and I did this and it went away, right away.. Also wear you blessing. The upright, close contact is good for calming and also to help with gas (one of the main causes)

Hope it goes away soon!
Amber

Serenity Now said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. Having a child is certainly a test of a relationship, but if you can weather the storm - it only gets stronger :)
And I second the gripewater suggestions. We used something called colic calm...it's homeopathic and worked like a charm. We got it online from their website.

Breanna said...

Soooo sorry for you on the colic thing. For us it was caffine-- if I drank caffine baby would get colicky and spit up like a faucet.

Just don't ever feel like it's YOUR fault that she's got colic... it just happens to babies and the best thing you can do is just what your instinct tells you-- snuggle her and take care of yourself.

Lovely post.

Bethany Hudson said...

Amen, Anna!
"To put it simply, children don't ruin marriages - but they definitely test our capability to stick together through thick and thin, which is impossible without a giving heart and a great deal of sacrificial love."

You really captured the heart of the issue. This is pretty much verbatim what I tell every one who is frightened of what will happen to my marriage with my second child in three years after the wedding--even though they've seen how much stronger having the first child made us!

Personally, I don't believe in delaying children in marriage: I DO believe in choosing your husband wisely: to be a devoted spouse, a stable provider, and a caring father. If you choose a good man to marry and you yourself are striving hard to be a capable wife, and if you can both be slow to anger and quick to forgive, a child will only increase your joy!

~Bethany

Anonymous said...

Anna -

Even though I disagree with your view points on many many subjects, I truly love your blog. It is thoughtful, intelligent, and from the heart. I always feel that one can learn from differences.

I really wish that we lived in the same town, in the same country, just so that I could ask you so many many questions that I have.

Your husband sounds like a kind and generous man. Your little one is lucky to be raised in such a loving home.

I send you all my best.

Bonnie said...

How blessed you and your husband are to have one another and your beautiful Shira! Keep up your strength and love for one another and you are sure to have many blessed days ahead.

Grip water for the colic worked like a charm for my niece, she was miserable before my sister found it and after the start of this natural remedy, she became ad new child.

Elijah's Mommy said...

Hi Anna, this was a beautiful post! It's such a blessing to hear about loving supportive families.
I wish you the best!

Rina said...

This is a beautiful post, Anna. Your husband sounds like a wonderful, caring man. I'm glad you have him!
As for the colic, we went through that with our first baby, too. Here is something I wrote on my blog about that, I thought it might benefit you:

"Not being able to calm a distraught baby is one of the most heartbreaking, frustrating things a Mom can go through, but sometimes we just can’t do anything to stop the crying. After having five children and going through periods of inconsolable crying with each of them, I finally found that if I absolutely can’t get a baby to stop crying, then the best thing I can do is put on some soothing music and hold my baby while she cries (sometimes I’ll even sit with baby and read a book to get my mind off the crying. You really CAN block it out if you try hard enough!) I’ve heard “experts” say that the best thing to do is leave the baby in another room if your getting overwhelmed with inconsolable crying but, personally, I just don’t feel right about that. So instead I make peace with the fact that I can’t stop the crying, and allow Baby to cry herself out while I’m holding her in my arms. This gives her the benefit of my presence, and enables me to comfort her without pulling my hair out in an effort to keep her from crying. (Obviously, if you tried this and only became MORE frustrated, then I would agree with those who would tell you to put your baby down and leave the room. Go take a few deep breaths, pray, call someone if you need to, and don’t go back to your baby until you’re able to cope with the situation. Leaving your baby to cry does not mean you’re failing your baby and it’s not going to emotionally scar your baby.) So…. When I’ve done everything I can do to soothe my babies, and nothing is working, I simply give them permission to cry along with the benefits of my presence. I take them for a walk in the carrier, or read a book with them in my arms. I’ll do whatever I need to do to allow them the comfort of my presence in the midst of their tears."

http://intostillwaters.com/2008/12/08/hush-little-baby/

lady jane said...

tears falling. this post is so lovely.

yes, Anna, you're right on every point shared.

putting the needs of our spouse first results in a precious home life and relationship. oh, that more husbands and wives would do this.

lady jane said...

one more thing, as to colic ~

an excellent suggestion was made in the above comments. try not eating gas-producing vegetables for a couple days and see if that helps sweet Shira. :o)

Civilla said...

Yes, I have heard people say that, too. Having a child was a big adjustment for us because we had been married 17 years before we had children, but it can be done and is well worth it. How wonderful that you husband is so loving and kind.

Anonymous said...

Hats off to your husband for being so helpful.
I especially admire the fact that he comes home after work and rather than kick off his shoes and relax, he takes the baby. (And I know how hard it is to do that when all you want to do is crash on the couch). Too many guys think that if their wife doesn't work, they don't need to do anything at home. Men don't always realize that taking care of a baby is not full-time work, it's a double or triple job.

I sometimes think though that even your marriage, Anna, has been influenced by modern times and by feminism. Your husband sounds wonderful, and very sensitive and involved in ways that were not always acceptable before the feminist movement (he came with you to all the check-ups, he can prepare an entire Shabbat, he loves to bake challot....all this would have been very rare 50 yrs ago). The men of a previous generation weren't even accustomed to soothing a baby for several hours, certainly not into the night. I know from the older crowd in my family and my husband's that it was very rare for a man to change a diaper, bathe a baby, or do more than 'play' with the infant after work. Once baby started crying, it was back in Mom's arms.

On another note, unfortunately not all marriages are based on ideal mutual giving. Indeed, most aren't, which is why having a baby often taxes a relationship. Your husband has been understanding above and beyond the norm; imagine if he expected you by now to be back to business. Imagine if he were annoyed at the non-mopped floors, or at the fact that after working so hard so far from home he comes back to a simple supper with last night's dishes still on the counter. Imagine he didn't reach for the baby when he got back. You would likely be defensive, tired, maybe resentul. Tension would surface.

This isn't a scenerio of a bad or overly selfish husband or wife; it's pretty normal. Unless either spouse is truly selfless and sacrificial, couples should think long and hard (imo) every time before they have a baby, and ask themselves, 'will we be able to handle this, realistically?'
Tammy

Zimms Zoo said...

I haven't had a baby with colic, but know lots who do and most are able to eliminate it with them taking certain things out of their diet.

Gluten containing products, or dairy things seem to be the most common culprits.

Karen said...

You are right. Weak marriages will be taxed by challenge, but strong ones will grow stronger.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you've been able to "fall deeper in love with your dear husband," but for many of us, our husbands haven't been so dear, helpful, kind, selfless, etc. while we've been pregnant and home with little ones.

Where My Treasure Is said...

What an encouraging post!
I'm due this Friday, and lately I've been having a little anxiety about all the changes that are going to take place very soon. I'm so thankful to have such a wonderful husband. Your post was so uplifting--thanks for sharing your thoughts.

-Kari

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna!
What a joy to hear of another man who loves holding children! It melts my heart to see my husband cuddling with out little one!! Children truly are an inheritance from the Lord.

WARNING: NURSING DISCUSSED BELOW.

My babies never had colic, but my daughter and many of my friends have had colic and spit-up babies. In nearly every case it has been something they were eating. Sometimes it has been multiple things. A very close friend of mine has been nursing for 19 years now. They have 9 beautiful children. Her OB said she needed a new hobby!!! Every child she had to eliminate things from her diet to prevent colic, bloody diaper rash, etc. The main culprits seem to have been mentioned in previous comments, so I won't add any more here. My daughter seemed to help the baby when she drank Roobios tea. I am sure I have not spelled that correctly! It could also be that your milk flow is so fast that your precious daughter is having to gulp, thus getting lots of extra air, resulting in colic. Does she spit up alot? Truly there shouldn't be any spitting up. A brand new nursing mommy's milk flow is still in 'attempting to regulate' mode. And based on one of your previous posts, you have abundant supply. I too leaked everywhere and could practically shoot across the room! And I could have fed 3 or 4 babies... Oo, I hope that is NOT too much information. Try not to express any extra prior to feeding, you just make more, getting fuller sooner, and roudn and round you go! I am not sure if you are experiencing any engorging or painful fullness. Do you have access to another mother-of-many or the La Leche League for advice? It is definitely difficult to offer helpful information based on only a little information. And THIS may NOT be the place you would feel comfortable going into any detail!!

I loved the bonding time I had nursing my children.
Blessings,
~Mrs. R

Walters Inc said...

Wonderful blog as usual! Great motherly words. Women need more encouragement from Mothers. That being a mom was what we were meant for and it should bring us closer to our husbands, and we work as a team.
Also, I know you get alot of suggestions, but here is another one. Try raising up the head of where she sleeps so she her head is higher then her feet. Place a wedge underneath her mattress etc. This was so helpful for my daughter who had some bouts of colic.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Ladies, thank you for all your suggestions about colic. I tried watching my diet but haven't noticed anything suspicious. For instance, we spent last weekend at my mother's, and ate quite differently from what we usually eat around here, and it didn't make any difference.

Mrs. R's suggestion does make sense; Shira spits up a bit - not too much, but still. When I nurse her, I hear gulps, and sometimes she even chokes and coughs so that I have to pat her on the back.

Theresa said...

That really is a terrible thing to tell a pregnant mother. Having children has strengthened the bond between dh and I, it's not always easy and the new baby phase and pregnant phase is exhausting (we have five and I'm expecting our sixth :o)but it has brought us so much closer.
I'm so sorry to hear about the colic it's really awfull, our eldest and out third had it and it was terrible, you have my sympathy. Apparently my Father was a very affected by colic as a baby and my Grandfather used to spend hours rocking him when he came home from work, but it wasn't talked about much in those days. My dh is very hands on with our children too, he gains as much from it as me and the children, he has a very close relationship with them now they are getting a bit older.

Dirtdartwife said...

I fall in love nearly every day watching my husband with our children. I do recall my feelings the first few days of watching my husband with our first born, and it was awe. Seeing this huge soldier, cradling his newborn baby girl and being brought to his knees by her... yeah, it was just powerful and I fell in love with him all over again and more deeply as well.

I *LOVE* watching him with our children. I feel so blessed! :)

I'm so happy for you Anna! You sound very happy as well and you're such a great role model for young women.

Ace said...

Hi Anna,

You said your sweet Shira is having colic, I just wanted to add a bit of a situation I experienced with both of mine. If you get a ton of milk like I did, it can come out way too fast for the baby. This will cause horrible pain, green diarhea (sorry about the spelling) and cramping.

One way to tell (besides the diarhea) is if you FEEL your milk come in hard. You can test this out. When your Shira latches, let her nurse UNTIL you feel the milk come in. Then gently unlatch her and let the milk run into a clean cloth. Once you feel the let down is done (mine used to literally SPURT out of me so I waited until it stopped) you can go back to nursing.

Another sign is if the baby wants to nurse ALOT, but will stop and start alot. But that can also be because she has heartburn or you ate something that is bothering her (milk, chocolate, citris, tomatos...all these can really bother baby).

Anyhoo, you probably already know all this but I WISH someone had told me so I always pass it on.

Many Blessings :)
Ace

Candylei said...

How could anyone read this beautiful post and not cry because we have experienced it, too, with our families. You put it so elegantly!

Homemakers Cottage said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Anna- marriage brings out the best and worst of human nature, and raising children certainly does the same.

Jeremy and I have had 3 children in less than 5 years and let me tell you, it isn't always "easy". And yes, we sometimes run into "issues" brought on by the extra strain on our time, energy, and finances. But since when is life all about what is most convenient for "me"? I can't imagine a life more blessed than living it for something and someone other than Self.

The "stress" children bring into a marriage is far outweighed by the blessing, joy, and eternal reward of raising, loving, and being loved by my little people.

~Kristy

Crystal in Alaska said...

We are expecting blessing #7 and I have fallen more in love with my husband with each child! Watching my big, tough, strong man be gentle and tenderhearted with one of his little lambs swells my heart with love!!!