NurtureU in Action

Building a Foundation

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Written by Emily Clements

For so many months, I wondered who this little light was inside of my growing belly, a couple of weeks ago we finally got to meet our beautiful daughter, Sonja! Though she came into this world so peacefully and without complications, trying to learn her language has been a challenge as she adapts to her new environment and I to my new role as “mama”. I am grateful for the information and suggestions offered in the 0+ NurtureU cards, not only because they have helped guide my husband and me, but they have also validated and affirmed things we intuitively began doing. As a breastfeeding mama, I decided to keep our daughter close so she could eat whenever she asks. For us, this means she shares the bed with us, and I use a sling often to carry her next to my skin throughout the day. One of the most satisfying feelings as a new and tired mama is being able to soothe my baby through nourishment, touch, and movement—without needing to buy anything fancy or technical! My body seems to be the only thing she needs and desires at this point in our journey together.

We have been building a foundation of trust through bonding and swiftly responding to her cries, but sometimes I don’t know exactly what she needs. In week two of her life, she became very distressed one day and we noticed that she hadn’t had a dirty diaper in some time. Her belly felt a little firm, so we decided to take the tip from a NurtureU Social-Emotional card and try baby massage to help. We read the how-to activity steps and followed up with some YouTube videos to get a visual demonstration on baby belly massage, and went for it. After about three massages over a 24-hour period, our daughter finally passed a healthy stool. We continue to do baby massage because she seems to enjoy the physical touch, and I enjoy the bonding that takes place during those tender moments.

Amidst the challenges of becoming a new parent, we are embracing this sweet time in which our daughter is fully dependent upon us to meet her needs and to learn her language. It can be tiring to be needed every other hour for a feeding and for warmth and cuddles in-between, but it is such a privilege to be that person for her. However, when I need some rest or a shower (a rarity these days!), my husband can provide her with the soothing touch of skin-to-skin contact or the calming effect of bouncing in his arms or sling. The first few weeks of her life have been a whirlwind and a time of stretching and growing. It’s been remarkable to experience how such a tiny little human can knit our hearts closer together as we hunker down and navigate this new chapter as a team.

 

Thoughts at 35 weeks pregnant

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Photo by Simply Bliss Studios, Written by Emily Clements

Last Saturday, I spent the morning curled up in bed, surrendering to my body’s plea for rest and relaxation. It was a sweet time eating biscuits, cuddling with the pets, snuggling with my husband, and the baby kicking—a memory that will be cherished in my heart for many weeks to come.

The reality of baby’s upcoming debut is sinking in, which has me holding tight to moments like these. Loving my pregnancy and cherishing this space doesn’t mean I’m not eagerly waiting to scoop baby up into my arms and introduce myself as “Mama.” I am eager for the change on the horizon, when baby and I will begin our bonding outside of the womb. Life has taught me that even the most beautiful and anticipated changes can stretch us and test our souls. As the time on the old grandfather clock in our living room steadily ticks onward, my husband and I look forward to spending the next month attending standard weekly prenatal appointments, painting a mural that baby can grow to love and remember, implementing ample amounts of self-care, and readying our living space for our planned home birth. At 35 weeks pregnant, I am embracing the natural uncertainty that comes with a birth while also leaning into my faith and into my confidence that reminds me daily: I can do this!

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