By Guest Blogger Renee Washburn
Author Bio: Renee is a married stay at home mother of one sweet 10 month old boy. She loves learning new things, living a natural life, and is passionate about her faith.
How Motherhood has Changed Me: A Testimony
Up until the point where my husband and I considered starting a family, I never really gave motherhood that much thought. However, when I was just a baby, I had a great infatuation with other babies and children. One of my first words was “baby”, and I always migrated to other babies throughout my childhood and my preteen years. I began babysitting on my own at 11 and tried starting my own babysitting business. From that point on, I always had a job each week until I graduated high school.
It was just in me. I loved babies and children and I felt like I could relate with them. Throughout my 20s, I was always involved in the youth programs with our church, and to this day still have many young people around me. I always thought that when the day came for my own baby, it would just be second nature, but there was something that I hadn’t thought about. Pregnancy. Labor. Delivery. Oh crap, I have heard nothing but horror stories! I was scared to have a baby inside me growing and then have to “deliver” it?! But it seems as thought God knew before the foundations of the world how much I would learn and learn to love this phase and the passion that would develop to help others see how amazing it truly is.
Planning for a Baby
About a year before our first born was conceived, I had inherited a whole stack of baby books from a friend. She knew I had been thinking about having a baby so she thought it would be nice for me to understand a little of what I was getting into. I was sure thankful for that! I read the beginning of “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” and what options are available for expectant moms. I did have some clue as to the options in regards to pain management, and I had heard that my mom was able to give birth naturally. She spoke about it a lot while I was growing up and her choice of breastfeeding and how it was the most natural. Well, me being a person who chooses the natural, God supplied route, I was interested in learning about natural birth. I had heard about such a thing as “midwives’ and thought that might be nice since I didn’t really like medical doctors all that much. In this section of the book I saw that there was such a thing as a “birth center” and a “certified nurse-midwife.” I liked both those options so I instantly decided this was my choice.
Now to see if Dallas, Texas had either of those options. (I am a planner, and I feel like I need to have a plan set before I start the actual journey.) So sure enough, Dallas had both of those, and it seemed somewhat affordable. But we first needed my husband to get a good job that would allow me stay home with our children. This process lasted for months and months and months until it just became clear it was not available. Then we found out that my mother was sick and my dad was having a challenging time taking care of her, my grandmother, and working full time. Time to move.
So we packed up what we had and headed across the country to New England to live with my parents and grandmother! It was a great change from the tiny apartment we were living in to a large 3,200+ square foot home with an apartment attached for my grandmother. One evening after we had settled in, my husband and I were watching “Call the Midwife” (a show that we had both had grown to enjoy) when an advertisement for midwives in Connecticut came on the screen. My heart warmed and I immediately knew this is who we would have a baby with! Little did I know that they were indeed Nurse-Midwives, but they did ONLY home births!!! Home birth?!?! What age are we living in? The early 1900s? I didn’t know of anyone who had a home birth and thought it was a little crazy. But I knew how God worked in me and I knew that I needed to give this a chance. So I set up an appointment to visit their home quarters down on the shoreline and asked a million questions..and I wasn’t even pregnant! But as I left, I felt peaceful and knew this was it. I trusted them. I believed they knew what they were doing and had my best interest at heart. So the next weekend we got pregnant and the journey began.
After the 7 weeks of morning sickness (which I now know is due to a lack of protein in my diet), I began my research on how to best grow this being inside me, take care of myself, and have a successful delivery at home. One of my midwives suggested looking into a birthing class when I was about 12 weeks along because I had so many questions! So I found the closest Bradley Method teacher, for the best price, and boy did I find the BEST teacher! She was a mother of 4, had a home birth, and was studying to become a midwife! She had loads and loads of information and really just helped my husband and I immensely. I felt so blessed to have had her. God is sure good!! Every time we learned something new, I felt like my brain grew and my eyes were enlightened. And each time I gave glory to my Heavenly Father because I knew that this is His will for all women and He knew how bad I wanted it!
As the months crept along, the anticipation grew, and we were more prepared than ever. I would only let positive images and thoughts and stories into my mind and heart. I would not listen to anything negative, and I really believe that this is why I had such an amazing birth experience. I just believed and trusted God whole heartedly for everything to be the best, and not just me, but my husband as well. We were completely like-minded about everything which in turn helped our marriage by being more on the same page about just about everything than we ever had been. This “baby” was bringing us closer together!
My due date came and went and Baby Washburn did not show himself until 2 weeks later. (We did not know it was a boy at the time. We stayed away from all ultrasounds because it has been proven to affect the fetus, and health insurance did not cover them.) So we were surprised when we found out it was a boy, although we both deeply wanted a boy and internally knew it was one.
My active labor lasted less than 10 hours, and everything moved along at a nice pace. I was in the shower, in the kiddie pool, and then standing over the toilet pushing! There was one moment when I said while sitting up in the pool, “Now I understand while people want epidurals!” But I was glad I didn’t get one because I would rather have this beautiful experience than lying on my back in a bright hospital room pushing whenever the doctor says to push.
Breastfeeding went extremely well. Again, I read credible books, and I trusted God that I would be able to do it. My milk came in early and my son gained all the weight he needed. He was and still is incredibly happy and healthy. I have never pumped or given him a bottle. I have never left him with someone else. I strongly believe that breast is the best and my needs are second to his needs right now. It is only for a short period of time and I would rather have this time with him now than regret that I didn’t spend enough time with him when he was a baby. I rarely get tired. And if I do need a shower or bath break, my husband or my parents are in the house to spend some quality time with him. When he has weened himself then I will treat myself to a spa day.
There was a debate between my husband and I about whether or not to circumcise. I really did not see the need as I had heard and read that in the Bible they were circumcised on the 8th day because that is
when Vitamin K was being produced. But when was this circumcision happening? In the Old Testament, and we know that this was for this specific group of people. It does not say in the New Testament, after Jesus Christ, for us to circumcise. There was a significance for this ritual, and we do not need it now. But what about keeping it clean? Why not just teach him to clean it! Why would God have the foreskin there to begin with if He wanted you to cut it off? And why aren’t girls circumcised? They have foreskin too… So yeah, there is a big debate in the world about this. But I am glad my husband realized the unnecessary means for this ritual and decided to keep all my baby’s body parts.
Sleep arrangements have been another debate in our family. We have a large dog and in my mind there was no way a baby was going to sleep in our bed because of him. Over and over I had heard mothers telling me that co-sleeping is best, but I could not fathom it! I did not want my dumb dog to accidentally sleep on him. How horrible! At first, we had a bassinet that would be next to me, and I planned that I would just pick him up whenever he needed to nurse. But then 3 days before he was born, I had this thought that I needed to sleep with him in the bed, for at least the first few days. So we trained our dog to sleep in the living room, and it worked!
A few days of baby in bed with us as turned into weeks, then months, and now he is almost 10 months old and still sleeps with us. I have thought about moving him to his crib because it was getting a little uncomfortable for me, but really, he is still feeding at least 2 or 3 times at night and it just didnt’ seem right. So he is still with us and I enjoy every night with him. I have read and have heard from other moms that they will leave the bed, eventually, on their own, then they are ready. So I am still learning about this one.
Boy that was a hard choice to make. I read for weeks and prayed for months to find the best information and advice on whether or not to vaccinate, and this is what we decided. Since I am a stay at home mom who plans on home schooling my children, there is really no point to inject them with a serum composed of mercury, formaldehyde, aluminum, and cells from monkeys. Again, my philosophy of God had it figured out in the beginning of how are bodies can fight and fend for itself. Go natural- go God’s way. “We are fearfully and wonderfully made…”
In my day to day life as a mother, I really just go back to simplicity and doing it the natural way. God’s way. Everything from our marriage, to personal decisions on finances (living debt-free and living within our means), to being a stay at home mom, to daily time in God’s Word, to daily prayer, meditation, exercise, walking, yoga, stretching, home school, having a naturopathic pediatrician, eating an organic, balanced diet, drinking and making kombucha, avoiding processed foods and sugar…
This new role of motherhood has changed me for the better. It is something that I love and feel confident about. It’s like my whole life up until the day I gave birth to my son was for this purpose. So why not do it RIGHT. Every day I pray that God will show me how to do it the right way the first time. I don’t want to have to correct a whole bunch of bad habits. I want to do it right. I am not saying that everything that I do is the right way, but so far it has worked for me incredibly.
I am not someone to just do it my own way and close all doors to what other mothers are doing. I seek, I ask, I explore, I observe, and I absorb. I want to be the mother that God originally designed from the beginning. This is my desire and this is my quest. Initially my husband and I wanted 4 children, but not really knowing what that means, we will take it one at a time. We love our first child with everything we have and do have room for another in our heart. So we will just take it from there.