Kristi Ramey writing today. Normally I rely on my office staff to keep things going behind the scenes, but today I wanted to stop in and share a few thoughts as a mom whose youngest "baby" turned 27 this week.
Behind my heart for teaching and equipping mamas is a LOT of life and lessons. One of my favorite lessons was finding my "voice" right around the time my third (and youngest) was born. That was five years into this wild rollercoaster that is parenting, and so I wanted to speak from that place.
If I could go back to that mama, this is what I would say:
"You doubt yourself way too much for how hard you work and how fiercely you love your family. You're doing a great job. You will continue to learn new things every year. And even if you aren't perfect, you are raising three whole humans who you like and love and who like and love you back. And that is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING."
The day my third baby was born was supposed to be my perfect, healing, redemptive, natural birth.
I'd learned how to work with and trust my body.
I had learned more about the doctors in my area and how I had been manipulated into not one but TWO unnecessary c-sections.
I had done the prenatal classes, ate better, and FINALLY learned about breastfeeding in-depth so I could handle any curveballs.
Life has a way of humbling you, doesn't it?
I won't get into my birth story today, except to say that it wasn't all roses and it wasn't redemptive, but that is a story for another day! P.S. Just get the doula. If I could go back and change one thing, it would have been to have one person there simply fighting for my needs and desires, and giving me the courage to advocate for myself.
All that said, you know what I DID get? A beautiful, amazing baby that stuck to my side and nursed like a champ, unlike my first two.
They had every struggle in the book (and so did I) and it had left me feeling like something in me was failing or lacking as a mom. Was I just not good enough? Was I not trying hard enough? No. What we had was a lot of unnecessary birth trauma, tongue and lip ties, undiagnosed food allergies, and crappy breastfeeding advice.😒
THIS TIME though, I had surrounded myself with amazing moms who gave me every bit of practical support I needed, and that combined with my own learning and my husband's ever-present encouragement made for an incredibly postpartum experience.
Did breastfeeding make me a better mom? Not at all!
But it did allow me to nurture my baby in a way I had not with my other daughters, and that truly healed something inside me. As time went on, I found myself, a mother of THREE, finally feeling confident and willing to speak up.
I felt comfortable asking questions and bringing up concerns when we visited the doctor. We had more discussions about the kind of family life we wanted to create and how to achieve that (for us, a big part of that was homeschooling. Feel free to ask me about it in the comments).
I started to trust my motherly intuition, my mom gut.
Most importantly, I started to understand, deeply, that I was the BEST mom for my kids, even if I wasn't perfect.
I had a fairly chaotic early childhood and it left me with some trauma to unravel around my ideas of love, family, and motherhood in general. Every major step of my adult life-from meeting my husband, to finding my home in the Christian church, to adding babies and everything that comes with that, has been one heck of a learning curve.
Some of it was incredibly painful. Some of it was beautiful.
I can say that I am thankful for most of it (especially my eight sweet grandbabies)!
But today I am especially thankful for my little baby girl, who helped me find my passion for breastfeeding education and support, and the snuggles and bonding we shared as a result of that journey. She helped me to finally find my voice as a mom.
So to all the tired, stressed, moms who feel like they haven't found their groove and still doubt every decision they make...I am so sorry and here is a *hug* from me to you.
You can do this.
You will continue to learn and grow (and that's normal).
Ask for help when you need it.
You're doing a great job.
To the girly that made me a mom times three, happy birthday!