Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

My second child slid into the world after an easy labor and immediately latched. I took this as a sign of our blissful future together. Parenting would be so much easier the second time around.

Wrong. I was so incredibly wrong. 

After I had naively sent my husband home to shower and deliver the good tidings to our firstborn, my daughter woke up. She screamed, and then she screamed some more. Her name means bright and clear, and her screams were exactly that. After an hour of trying to comfort her, I placed her in the hospital bassinet and hobbled to the bathroom, leaving the door ajar.

A nurse finally came in to check on us, admonishing me for leaving my baby alone. Was I supposed to bring her on the toilet while I pulled down my hospital-issued mesh underwear and used the peri bottle to squirt away quarter-sized blood clots? I was a postpartum human mama, not an octopus. Besides, I was sure a baby thief would take one of the quiet, peaceful ones.

I managed to shuffle back to bed and began devouring the pumpkin muffins my sister had brought me. I must have looked like a ravenous animal, my wailing baby cradled in one arm like a football while I stuffed fistfuls of muffin in my mouth with the other. Once the snacks were gone, I brushed the crumbs off of her head and began to cry along with her.

RELATED: My Baby Has Colic and it’s Exhausting

I would like to say things got easier when we got home, but they didn’t. She developed reflux and projectile vomited across the room like something out of an exorcism. I tried eliminating dairy and wheat from my diet. We put her on infant acid reflux medication.

The only thing that helped us survive her first year of life was the blue and white striped rocking chair in our living room. I am so glad I took our interior designer friend’s advice and purchased the expensive chair because we lived in it for a year. I would swaddle my daughter like a burrito, blast white noise, and furiously rock back and forth while my 4-year-old rolled around at my feet. Having memorized the scene outside the window facing the chair, I still took solace in the one-way street sign and scrappy trio of trees.

Then somewhere around my daughter’s first birthday, it was like the sky cleared. She was happy, delightful even. She started walking and smiled constantly at her big brother. I was so excited to take them to music classes and story time at the library. Unfortunately, this was February of 2020, so the easement did not last long. Soon, we were listening to nonstop ambulance sirens in our New York City living room, rocking in our favorite chair, and reading stories while the world shut down around us. I found myself staring at the one-way sign, hoping we would all move forward again.

When the world reopened, I had a toddler on my hands who gave new meaning to the terrible twos. My verbal girl used her words to tell me exactly what she wanted. If my vision did not align with hers, she would use her fists. I faltered through the first few months of toddlerhood, unsure of how to handle the nonstop tantrums. One day she worked herself into such a fit of rage that I had to physically restrain her in order to protect her. Stumbling back, we landed in the chair.

RELATED: And We Rocked

Muscle memory took over, and we rocked. I fixed my gaze on the familiar view of the skinny tree-flanked street sign, trying to maintain my own sense of calm. I noticed that her breathing began to slow and her tense little body began melting into mine. Soon, she had her arms wrapped around my neck. She even apologized.

I realized that when she had a tantrum, she actually needed to be close to me no matter how hard she was pushing me away. Over the next few months whenever she had a major meltdown, we returned to the chair and looked out the window, waiting for the storm to pass.

My daughter started nursery school this year. She is a more content child these days. We start every morning in our chair, grounding ourselves by rocking while she drinks a cup of milk. She still has meltdowns, but they usually pass as quickly as they come. The chair is also her favorite spot to reconnect after a long day of work and school, the place where she tells me what she learned and who she played with. I marvel at her confidence and enthusiasm.

We rest our heads on each other’s and look out at the one way sign while we chat, which reminds me that in parenthood, there is only one way to go, and that is to move forward into the future with your children, having faith that the really hard days will pass.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Brittany Bell

Brittany Bell is a special education teacher who lives in Queens, New York with her husband and two tiny humans who call her mom. You can usually find her reading, writing, playing outside with her kids, or snuggled up next to one of the family cats.

I Will Love Them Forever, My Babies They Will Always Be

In: Baby, Child, Kids

The night before my boys were born, I packed this book in my overnight suitcase. I tucked it under their blankies and their going-home outfits (both ended up being too big). It was under all the “necessary postpartum must-haves” and also a bottle of chilled champagne. Long after the family and friends went home for the night and I lay there, in my hospital bed, first with Nick and then a few years later with Dom, overwhelmed with joy and fear and gratitude and pain—and maybe a Dixie cup of champagne—I quietly read my son’s this book. I cried. Maybe...

Keep Reading

I Hope I Loved You Enough Today

In: Kids, Motherhood
child sleeping www.herviewfromhome.com

As you lie sleeping in your bed, the weight of today lifts from my shoulders. The struggles of the day are quickly forgotten and I find myself looking at you in wonder. Memorizing your face and the dimples in your fingers. I want to rewind the day and tell you how good you did. How proud I am of you. I hope that I loved you enough today. As I drive you to school, I catch a glimpse of your sweet face staring back at me in the rear view. I replay the morning and find myself wondering. Did I...

Keep Reading

Why I Won’t Tell You About the Hard Parts of Motherhood

In: Faith, Friendship, Motherhood
Pregnant woman and friend on couch

I gasp and aww as you share the news of discovering the pink double lines on the pregnancy test. I wrap you in a hug and tell you I’m excited for you.  Yet behind my smile, underneath the praise and congratulations I give, I feel . . . sympathy.  I don’t feel pity–I’m genuinely happy for you–but I smile like someone who’s walked (and is still walking) the hard, oftentimes painful, road of motherhood.   Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m thrilled the Lord has granted this desire of your heart. Yet a part of me wants to stroke your hair and say,...

Keep Reading