by guest blogger Amanda Hartman
I am amazed at how much I learn from my children.
They have so much love, not just for my husband and myself, but for everyone. They have shown me so much about how to love and that love is not just words, but actions as well.
As I get older, and we have added more children to our family, I have had so many learning experiences.
I have learned from my mistakes – as we all do.
I have also learned about things I never knew anything about. I learned about extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, home birthing, unassisted birthing, homeschooling, placenta encapsulation, and baby wearing. Some of these were almost instinctive.
Some others took a while to understand.
When I had my first baby, I was 18.
I was very new to mothering, and was a little nervous about what to do.
I was also very scared of hurting my baby if I dared to let her sleep with me.
Because of this, I would not bring her to my bed with me. When she cried at night, I would go into her room, and nurse her in my rocking chair. When she was done, I put her back in her bed and returned to my bed in the other room.
When our second baby came, we took her to see our family when she was only a couple of weeks old.
She ended up with a pretty severe cold, and spent the next week struggling to breathe through her nose. I could not sleep at night during this time. I would get up to check on her all throughout the night (sometimes poking and waking her up to make sure she was still with us). I then began bringing her to bed with me, so she could be close and I could keep watch over her.
This is when I the beginnings of our co-sleeping started.
With my second, and then third baby daughter, I began to bring them to bed more and more with me to nurse them.
Then, by the time we made it to our fourth baby, our first boy, I was only occasionally moving him to his bed at night.
The only problem I had, and I will admit that it did happened, that he unfortunately rolled off the bed a few times.
Oh, how traumatizing for both of us!
Once, I even woke up holding my baby boy (he was actually like 7 months old) by the ankle, dangling over the edge of the bed. I had sensed him going over and caught him, by his foot, in my sleep. That was when I taught myself to curl up around him, to protect my little one from rolling away.
Thankfully, my fifth and sixth babies had much less ‘exciting’ sleeping experiences.
I love the times where I get to snuggle in bed with them.
However, there are the nights when they really just want their own bed. The nights when they just wiggle, and kick, and whine until I put them in their own little bed, away from mom and dad.
That is when I know my baby is growing up. When they want to move away a little bit at a time. It is sad, but exciting too.
I love to have my babies close to me when we sleep. I love the feeling of their breath on me, hearing their little snores, knowing that they are close to me, and close to my heart. I know that when my baby is first born, they have lost that closeness. They are no longer one with my body. They are now their own person, without the warmth, noise and all that they have every known from inside me. They are utterly alone in the new world.
When I snuggle with them, I place them on my chest, over my heart, so they can hear it beating.
I hold them next to me and whisper to them. Telling them how much I love them, how I missed them, and how I am so happy they are here with me. It is so hard for me to let my babies go. To let them grow up and become an independent toddler, then kid, teen and soon – an adult with their own family.
I enjoy watching them, as the days, months, and years pass by. I love watching them experiment, learn, smile, cry, and grow. As my babies grow older, though, I know that I have done well. I know that my babies are happy, and know that I have, and always will, be there for them.
Amanda Hartman is a home birthing, homeschooling, stay at home mom of six. After her first three hospital births, she felt guided with her fourth to birth at home. Amanda went on the birth her next two children at home, the last being her first unassisted birth. You can read about her birth stories, placenta encapsulation information, and more My Heaven.
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Interested in becoming a part of the BBH Guest Blogging Team? Send an email to Kaitlin at KaitlinRose@BringBirthHome.com