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Susan's Story: Learning As I Go

Susan's Story

Meet Susan

Jim Daly

It was only a few months ago that Focus on the Family's "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life" ad aired during the Super Bowl. The upbeat celebration of the bond between Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother. And that is where a young woman named Susan enters the picture.

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Learning As I Go

I know every new mom has to figure things out as she goes along. I’m trying to be patient with myself, but it isn’t always easy. I have good days and better days and not-so-great days. There are nights where I get three, even four hours of sleep in a row. It took a while to get breast-feeding under control, but I’ve got it down now. And I’ve learned that if Avita cries for two or three minutes, nothing horrible will happen. I’m learning more every day.

My best friend’s brother was getting married — two hours away — a day before Avita would turn a month old. I was nervous about the idea of taking Avita to the wedding with me, but I was even more nervous about possibly leaving her at home with a sitter. So Avita came with me. I had to be ready and at my friend’s house by 7:15 a.m. It was the first time I would wear anything besides sweatpants since Avita was born.

I was really anxious about the whole thing. Would I be able to get both of us ready and out of the house at such an early hour? Would she cry in the car the whole way there? Would she cry during the ceremony? Would the music at the reception be too loud for her? Would people I don’t know want to touch her? Would there be a place where I could feed her?

Despite my anxiety, the day went perfectly. We got to my friend’s house only five minutes late (really, no different than pre-baby). Avita was an angel in the car, slept through the ceremony, didn’t seem bothered by the music, didn’t make a mess in her outfit, and I practically forcibly applied sanitizer to anyone who tried to touch her. By the end of the day, I felt like I had more confidence in my abilities as a mom, which is something I’ve needed.

Some of my insecurities come from not trusting myself to know what to do. Do I wake her to feed her or do I let her sleep? Do I turn down the lights and quiet the house for naps or let her learn to adapt to the light and noise? Is she really hungry or does she just want to nurse for comfort? (And if it’s just for comfort, do I let her do that?) There are just some things I haven’t figured out yet.

My washing machine broke last week, so I had to go to the Laundromat. I brought Avita with me. What was I thinking? I had five trips to make to and from the car. It hadn’t occurred to me how I would do that with a baby. Not to mention how I would load a washer with a crying baby or drag all of the wet clothes to the dryers with her in tow. Luckily, the employees and a couple of customers took pity on me and helped me lug things around. But how will I do it next time?

And I wonder if people are serious when they say, “Nap when she naps.” If I sleep whenever she does, when will groceries get purchased, dinner get made, dishes washed, e-mail read, thank-you notes written, and when will I ever shower? (As it is, I still haven’t finished my thank-you notes, and I really would like to wash my hair more frequently).

My two oldest sisters are only 11 months apart. There isn’t a day that passes that I don’t wonder how in the world my mother did it. Every afternoon between 3 and 5 p.m., I see the time and wonder where my day went. I cannot imagine how my mom not only survived, but excelled at motherhood with five of us!

A friend e-mailed me the other day to encourage me, and she commented about how difficult it is to be a mom. In the e-mail, she said something like, “Being a mom is so hard. I have trouble keeping it together, and I have a husband to help. I feel for you because I can’t imagine doing it alone.”

Well, as hard as it is, I can’t imagine doing it alone either. I’m not really alone — not that I don’t feel that way sometimes — but I do have wonderful friends and family supporting me, and most importantly, I have God sustaining me when I feel overwhelmed and exhausted.

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