Finding a new normal after a baby is born is not easy. It takes time but it is possible.

Bringing Home Baby, Again (an introduction)

I remember the day we brought our third child home from the hospital. It was a memorable afternoon snuggling with our newborn and introducing him to his big sister and big brother. I remember the older siblings’ excitement in meeting this sweet, precious baby. My eldest couldn’t stop looking at him and hugging him and asking to hold him. My daughter, who was not quite 2 at the time, followed the baby and I around. She would copy whatever I was doing. If I would change his diaper, she would change her baby doll’s diaper. If I rocked the baby, she would rock her baby. My husband was given a generous amount of parental leave so we spent those first few days enjoying our freshly expanded family with little concern for anything else.

A Bumpy Ride

Yes, a family of five felt wonderful. This bliss, however, was short-lived as my eldest came down with a mild case of pneumonia. He hadn’t been feeling well for a few days and my husband and I were both concerned. Friday afternoon brought a doctor’s visit and multiple prescriptions. As my son began breathing treatments, I noticed my daughter tugging at her ears. Then she developed a fever. Sunday afternoon was spent in the after-hours clinic followed by antibiotics and an ear infection diagnosis. Now I was really worried about my newborn baby. We did our best to keep the older children away from him, but he got sick as well. He tested positive for RSV at 2 weeks old!

Little did I know that this was just a taste of what was ahead. The cycle of sicknesses lasted forever! A child would get sick, 2 days later another, 2 days later another! I started tracking our sick days on a calendar hopeful it wasn’t as bad as it felt. I stopped. It was as bad as I thought.

Those first few weeks and months were quite bumpy as we adjusted to life with three children! Figuring out car seat arrangements was insane! Learning new nap schedules and getting the baby to sleep, somewhere other than my arms, were all so difficult. Getting everyone dressed and ready and loaded in the car took concentrated effort and teamwork. It was survival mode for a very long time as we struggled to find our new normal.

Shouldn’t We Know What We’re Doing?

My husband and I were both very shocked at how long this process was taking.  “It’s our third baby after all”, I thought. “We should know what we’re doing!” As my son approaches his second birthday, I can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. We have found a new rhythm as a family of five and are starting to truly enjoy our moments together. It didn’t happen overnight and it came through many mistakes and sleepless nights.  Lots of sleepless nights.

Ironically, the turning point came, long before our circumstances changed, when a seasoned mom of three boys shared these words:  It takes at least a year to find a new normal after having a baby. Every. Time.

Every time a child is added into the picture, the ENTIRE family will need at least a year to get a handle on the changes that come with the new addition.” When this sage advice sunk in, everything changed! Well…every thing did not change but my perspective had a major overhaul. I learned to live in grace as I now understood that every member of the family, not just my husband and I, needed to adjust to our new addition.

Come along!

I’d like to invite you to join me in the coming weeks as I share some tips I’ve learned and advice I’ve heeded. I’ll share with you the mistakes we made along the way and share experiences and stories from others on this same journey of finding a new normal after the addition of a new family member.

Read the next post here! Finding A Rhythm

In the meantime, join the conversation! What is one thing that surprised you about bringing home a baby, or fostering or adopting? Did age of the child or number of children already present in the home change what it was like? Comment below!

 

photo credit: Captured Photography by Emily

Steady Me

Yesterday I spent an hour holding both of my children.

Literally.

My three year old was having a moment that was lasting an eternity and my almost one year old was not interested in tummy time. And so I would hold one, while the other cried and then put him down and pick her up only to change the pitch of the tears. There were a few moments where I successfully held both (although Dom was not very happy about it and tried to push Charlee out of my lap).

This scene took place after a most amazing day at work. I checked EVERYTHING off of my To Do List, had some amazing conversations, a few productive meetings. Just a good day. And then this.

It was like  walking on cloud nine only to lose my footing and fall flat on my face.

There’s a very popular song around lately by the group Hillsong United called Oceans. I think most would agree that the chorus is the part with which most people resonate:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

It’s an inspiring set of words. Going to a place in our walk with the Lord where we’ve never been before.  Trust without borders? Awesomeness.

I love adventures. Change is awesome to me. Transitions are pretty cool. Means something new is on the horizon. But adventures, changes, transitions also have dips and valleys.

 It was yesterday, as I had this amazing song on replay, that I heard a line in the song that I had not connected with before:

You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

I forget that valleys often precede mountains. And those high times can have an unsuspecting drop off. But one thing remains the same regardless of the height of my life’s tide:

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLV) says:

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

He won’t leave me. Even when I feel alone. Even when the tears come and it feels like I’ve been abandoned. He’s still there holding me as I held my children with tears streaming down in the middle of an emotional moment.

He has never let me down. And he won’t start now.