I learn slowly, forget things quickly, and it usually takes big things to get my attention. I was getting comfortable, James started sleeping 12 hours at night, I had a routine in my day, I was actually making dinner again, and I prayed less and less, because the reality that I needed God’s help every day wasn’t as obvious. Enter: Humility. Yes, humility, that’s a fun lesson to learn. I didn’t just learn it on Sunday when a speed-walker, and a dog with four-inch legs beat me in a 10k race (to be fair she speed-walks a 7 minute mile, and that dog had a lot of energy), no, I learned it in a much clearer way: James had his four-month “well visit” on Tuesday, he performed like a champ in development and hardly cried from shots, but at his weigh-in the doctor said, “this is bad,” (by the way, if any of you who read this are medical students, NEVER say that to a mother, even if it is true) James hardly gained any weight in the two months since his last visit, and while the doctor assured me it probably was because of his genetically high metabolism and high activity level (he even moves in his sleep–it’s always fun to guess where in his crib he will be when we wake him up), and he’s probably just a small guy, she still recommended we supplement with formula (until now James has been exclusively breastfed). As illogical and silly as it is, the idea that my milk wasn’t enough to nourish my child made me feel like an inadequate mother. I wrestled with feelings of guilt, wracking my brain for what I could have done, and concluded it must have been something I did subconsciously because I hate nursing bras.
I wanted to curl up in a ball on our bed and cry (which incidentally I couldn’t because I had to make my first ever bottle of formula), but thankfully I have a sister-in-law with similar experience and an empathetic nature, a mother who knows truth and isn’t shy about sharing it, a friend who called at the perfect time and let me cry, and a husband who reassured me that not only was this not my fault, but if it was he would have told me because he’s fiercely protective of our son.
After a few days of alternating between guilt and anger, and doing some research of my own (James is fine according to the World Health Organization’s growth chart for exclusively breast-fed babies), we’ve decided to go in search of a new pediatrician (one who isn’t so quick to prescribe and a little better about breaking news).
We are following the pediatrician’s advice in the meantime, offering formula, but it turns out he’s just as full from nursing as after the formula bottle. So the pediatrician was more than likely wrong. James is small, and very healthy.
Doctors and formula aside, the truth is I AM an inadequate mother, not because my milk is insufficient (which it probably isn’t), but because I am human. I am selfish, I am lazy, I am prideful, I am broken. I am a sinner. I need to be renewed every moment of every day, because, whether it’s my son’s crazy fast metabolism (I can thank Burk for that, he’s been called “vending machine” for how much he eats at school and he doesn’t gain an ounce), or not, I am selfish and I cannot parent alone. I need help to do this job well, and that help can only come from a perfect father. So, I return to my knees, broken and weak, not to cry, but to pray, because I need my Savior so that I will make decisions out of love, not selfishness; so that I will do what is right, not what is easy; so that I will teach my son truth, not what makes me look good; and so that our lives are centered on Christ, not the brokenness of sin.


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