When I went into labor the first time, it was a surprise (as most labor’s are). I didn’t have my “battle station” set up yet. Everything I would need or want in the middle of the night. I didn’t even know what I would want or need to get me through those first few nights until I got through those first few nights.
The second time around, when I had the twins, I knew exactly what I wanted, what I needed, at arms reach at 1, 2, and 3 am.
Since I was pumping after every nursing session, I needed my hospital grade pump, flanges, bottles, lids, cooler for pumped milk, etc.
Nursing also made me hella hungry and hella thirsty. I kept a giant bottle of water and my favorite snacks on hand. Granola bars, trail mix, dark chocolate covered raisins.
I had a c-section, so my pills were a necessity. Not just the pain killers (A-to-the-MEN for pain killers) but the stool softeners. Praise Jesus for stool softeners. Praise Him.
Then there’s the nipple care. I had lanolin, coconut oil, nipple shields, and nursing pads for my bra.
I had my Roku remote control in easy reach and ear buds, so I could watch TV while I nursed and sipped water and ate snacks and binge watched Netflix.
But the most important ingredient of my middle of the night motherhood battle station was the notes of encouragement from my sisters.
The first time around, I felt so alone. I worried I was ruining my son or that I was never going to leave my room again or that my nipples were never going to stop burning or that I was just all around terrible at all of the things.
So for my twin baby shower, I asked that my friends write some encouraging notes that I could read in the middle of the night. I knew I would need those words. And I did. They were like a salve for my soul, when hormones were raging and no amount of BBC Benedict Cumberbatch Binge Watching could distract me from my sleep deprivation and general lack of maternal confidence – there they were. These beautiful, little, yellow squares with powerful words, prayerful written, by my tribe of sister-mamas.
Of all my middle of the night motherhood battle station components, by far, those words were the most powerful in the trenches. But not because they were so eloquent or insightful. It was the people that gave them power. The names at the bottom of each note. The women cheering me on while they slept and I fought through another sleepless night.
Almost a year later and those notes are still on my night stand. Even though I have been sleeping through the night for months, those notes fuel me for my morning motherhood as well. They are the first thing I see in the morning and the last I see when I close my eyes. And even if I don’t read them individually, just looking at that vase full of little letters, I know.
I have people. Those are my people. My people believe in me. So I can do it, this motherhood thing, one more day.
What words or other types of encouragement have fueled you most for motherhood?
This post is part of the “31 Days of Middle of the Night Motherhood” series.