Do you have songs that take you back to another time or place in your life? We all do, I imagine. My life has a soundtrack. And while it may only play in my head, it is always there, and just a few notes from a song can instantly transport me right to where I was when that song became a part of me. I feel all the feelings again. Memories, no matter how distant, become crystal clear when a song plays. One song will forever hold the space in me for when I was a new mother, Home by Phillip Phillips.
Hold on to me as we go, as we roll down this unfamiliar road. And although this wave is stringing us along, just know you’re not alone, ’cause I’m going to make this place your home.
I held my baby around the clock and felt as lost and confused as he did. His birth left us both in an unfamiliar place yet we were in that place together. I would sing this song into his little ears as he cried. The newborn days were not a great time for me. I wasn’t staring at my child, heart bursting with love like I had never known. I was actually down right miserable. I am over four years down “this unfamiliar road” of motherhood, and I am coming to terms with that. Not every season of life is going to feel steady and sure. We don’t treasure every moment and that is okay.
In the midst of those newborn days, where my eyes were filled with tears as much as my breasts were filled with milk, I struggled. Yet something pulled me along, through the sleep deprivation and self doubt, the natural rhythm of life with a baby just moves you in a rhythm, like a wave. Nurse, change, rock, sleep. Nurse, change, rock, sleep. Even on the hardest days, I could still sing knowing that every feeding, every diaper, got us a little closer to this new life together feeling familiar.
Settle down, it’ll all be clear. Don’t pay no mind to the demons, they fill you with fear. The trouble it might drag you down. If you get lost, you can always be found. Just know you’re not alone, ’cause I’m going to make this place your home.
I sent that verse up into the heavens like a prayer. If we could just settle down, if I could just stop feeling so afraid, we would come out on the other side of this. If he could just settle down, he would see that I was just there to give him what he needed, and that all I would ever do from that moment on was fight, even at the expense of myself, to give him what he needs. I would hold him on my chest and stand up, slow dancing him to sleep to the steady beat and strumming of the guitar, “Settle down, it’ll all be clear. Please God, settle us down. Make it all clear.”
The voices in my head that told me I couldn’t handle what was happening, like demons, were relentless. I get chills when I recall the fear I felt before being alone with him for the first time. But my husband had to go back to work. I had to turn those voices off. My home, the place God had always meant for me to be, was with my little boy, even when, no, especially when he cried all day long. No one else could care for him like I did. This wasn’t an accident. We would figure each other out. Every little thing wouldn’t be such a struggle.
I certainly felt lost in those first few months, but I knew I would find myself as a mother. I knew my son was turning me into a brave mom, the mom he needed. And I knew I was turning him into the brave boy that he would be by helping him feel secure and showing him through my unwavering care for him that I would always be there when he felt lost. I would always be his home.
I did come out of the newborn days with a new strength. I settled down and so did my baby. My love for him is the fiercest thing I have ever known, and I don’t feel guilty that those first months were so challenging for me. Those days of struggling to breastfeed, forgetting to feed myself, learning to do things with one hand because I couldn’t put him down, those days changed me in beautiful ways I would have never imagined. When I hear the guitar strings begin to play “Home”, I remember the fear and the doubt. I can hear the baby crying, feel my body aching. However, I can also feel the power rise up inside of me and I can see so clearly how my prayers for us were answered. Motherhood will always feel like an unfamiliar road because it is always changing but through my transformation during those early days I am and forever will be at home.
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Photo Credits: Kristen D.