I feel like my life is on repeat. What if it never changes? I know this is ridiculous because the essence of life is change. But I’m mired in daily struggle.
It’s easy to look at the phase my children are in, with all their big emotions and existential angst, and get pulled into a cycle of anxiety about the future. I feel like a mule working a press, just going around in the circle, blinders on, unable to look up and see the sun. But despite how it may feel, we are moving forward, albeit painfully slowly. Sometimes we have to look backwards to see the future more clearly.
My daughter didn’t sleep much at all for thirteen months. Looking back, I’m not sure how we survived it. I remember nursing her half the night long, and desperately praying for more than two or three hours of sleep at a time. It felt interminable. But eventually, with a lot of work on all our parts, she did sleep. So when I’m faced with her recent bouts of insomnia at age 8, I try to remind myself that it won’t always be like this.
Both my sons had feeding issues and it took a lot of effort to keep nursing them while also pumping on the side. Their issues were similar, but not exact so there was still a learning curve with each one. Both benefited from starting earlier solid foods and generous donor milk from friends and family. I remember, almost two years ago exactly, sitting in a restaurant with my extended family, drunk with exhaustion. I had been pumping and nursing every three hours around the clock. Which meant that I didn’t sleep more than an hour or two before it was time to start the cycle all over again. This was our third baby, and I can honestly say I had never been so tired except right after my deliveries. I remember thinking I wasn’t sure how I was going to survive. Yet we did. Now that slow to gain, lazy nurser but good sleeper (thank God) is more than two years old. He is still the lovely, laid back boy he was as an infant and often he is the high point of my days. The hard things change but the best things can stay the same.
There is more to life than whatever you are struggling with right now. It feels like it eats your whole world at the moment, but eventually there will be more than this. Because things cannot stay the same forever. It is an impossibility of nature. Except for the unchangeable one. The one who sustains us through all the changes, both swift and plodding. His constancy is the anchor which holds us fast and keep us grounded, through the storms and the calms.