To my sweet, sleep-hating baby,

From the moment I learned you were on your way, I was both excited and terrified as I felt those first kicks and watched my belly grow with my anticipation to meet you. Some nights you moved so much, I’d lie in bed and hum to you softly or whisper, “It’s OK baby, Mommy’s right here,” and marvel at how it always seemed to calm you down.

Then came the most beautiful moment of my life as I first laid eyes on you. I pulled you up onto my chest and you were crying hard, scared and confused at this new world. In that moment, my fear seemed to disappear as I was filled with newfound strength and purpose to be there to comfort you and take away YOUR fear. I wrapped my arms around you for the very first time, and I whispered those same words, “It’s OK baby, Mommy’s right here,” and was amazed when you immediately stopped crying. Those big, beautiful brown eyes of yours looked up to meet mine for the first time, and I made a promise to you that I would always be there for you.

Now, almost 15 months later, I am more exhausted and full of love than ever, still nursing you and bedsharing whenever you need it (more often than not). Sometimes I’m shamed by other moms who tell me I need to “sleep train” you, that I’m creating bad habits by letting you come to me for comfort instead of self-soothing. And sometimes, I worry they are right. I hear stories of how their babies sleep through the night and how much easier things are.

But you know what? Those middle of the night cuddles, the hours I spend staring down at you as you nurse and stroke my arm, the times you wake suddenly from a bad dream and then sigh and smile as you open your eyes to find I’m still right there; those times in the middle of the night when you wrap your little arms around my neck to pull me in close and say “mommmm” or give one of your sweet kisses . . . those are some of my very favorite moments, and are memories I will cherish forever with my whole heart.

So while the nights are long, I know the years are so very short. And I know that too soon, you won’t want your mama so much and it won’t be as easy for me to comfort you. While I certainly struggle with exhaustion and at times feel like I’m failing you by not leaving you to cry it out or forcing you to wean when society says is most normal, I do not have regrets, my sweet boy. I’ve learned what works for one mama does not work for all, and some nights you just need that extra love. And sometimes, I think that extra time together is just what my heart needs, too.

So I put aside my worries and exhaustion and I think back to those first moments with you, when I promised that, “It’s OK baby, Mommy’s right here.” And I always will be.

Love Always,

Brooke Behrendt

World traveler turned farmer's wife. First time mom to a beautiful baby boy and sweet mini goldendoodle. Navigating this new motherhood role with love, faith and a whole lot of coffee. Brooke is a Public Relations Associate who works from her home in the country.