January 16th, 2021
I wake up at night every time I hear Asher cry. This occurs multiple times. Asher’s shrill voice is not all that rouses me. I also hear that rapid footsteps of his mother in the hallway, as she rushes from their bedroom to the kitchen to make him a bottle of formula. It takes at most five minutes for the young woman to get up from her bed, prepare Asher’s meal, and then feed him. Somehow, that feels like an eternity while I listen to Asher making his needs known.
I could get up to help the young woman, but how? I can’t comfort a hungry baby. Asher knows exactly what he wants, and he wants it now. I can’t help the young woman do her work any faster. It seems like in these instances the best that I can do is to keep out of the way.
Maybe I just have a guy attitude. My wife, Karin, is much more inclined to leap into the fray and give assistance, even when none is required or wanted. Sometimes that works. The young woman is independent in most matters, and prefers to do things on her own. This is usually commendable, but she needs to know her limits. She is learning that the hard way.
She is a new mom.
I hesitate to write about the struggles of a new mother, since I have never been one, and I never will be. I don’t understand all that is involved. I probably don’t understand any of it. I can only rely on my experience in helping Karin to raise three children of our own. Even a dad can learn a few things.
The young woman who lives with us is learning about how to love. She learning what love really means, and this is always a difficult lesson. Love is about sacrifice, so we don’t learn about it, since our society tends to avoid it at all costs. Love may or may not have to do with feelings. In the case of this young woman, she is motivated by her feelings for her six-week-old son. These feelings are no doubt overwhelming. She is starting to understand that she will do anything for this helpless child. Her desires, and sometimes her needs, take second place to what Asher needs. That’s how this works.
The young woman has to learn that her needs do, in fact, matter. She cannot adequately care for Asher without taking proper care of herself. She needs to eat and sleep in order to help her son. It is hard to to know when to receive help and when to give it. We have already run into situations where the young woman has pushed herself too hard for too long, and the consequences have been unpleasant. The girl is slowly becoming aware that Karin and I, two old people, are here to assist her. We can ease her burden within to a certain degree. We are all mere mortals, and we all need to know when to say, “Enough”.
I truly do not know how mothers can raise a child. I know that these women do it all the time, but at what cost? Here we are, three adults in our house, and we are still exhausted from caring for one tiny boy. We have most, if not all, of the material things that this child needs. We just need the time and the energy. Those are sometimes in short supply.
We are all learning how to love. We are all learning when to say, “I need some help”. We are all learning when to say, “I’m here for you.”
It’s a process and a struggle.
It is worth it.