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There is a world of difference between being alone when you want to be and being alone when you have to be.

When I was about six months pregnant, John and I were at his sister’s graduation ceremony.  Just before the ceremony began, I noticed a woman take her little baby to the back of the church to find a place to nurse.  The woman didn’t seem disturbed by this at all, but I was shocked into the realization that this was about to be my reality as well.  I was petrified and kind of angry about the things I thought I would have to miss while away from the party, feeding a little one.  I knew I wanted to nurse, and I recognize that parenthood requires sacrifices.  Still, I was the only pregnant person I knew in the tri-state area, and I was feeling somewhat alone.  The drastic changes I was about to undergo were full of unknowns that often overwhelmed me.

Fast forward to this past weekend, when we were in New Jersey, celebrating Easter with our families.  Although I still felt some of that loneliness in the first few holiday gatherings with Jacob—Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.—now I found myself to be grateful for the time away from the crowd.  For one thing, it can sometimes be good for Jacob to have some quiet.  He gets a lot of attention, and it can be too much for him when he hasn’t slept or eaten well.  A little recharge makes him a lot more fun.

But what I fully realized this weekend is that this is a really good time for me, too.  It’s not often that I sit back and purely listen to what’s going on around me, without offering my own thoughts or opinions.  When I’m nursing Jacob on these occasions, though, I hear family down the hall, laughing together and telling stories.  I have no means of sharing, and I must simply listen.  Listen to voices that have been part of my life since the day I was born, and others that have entered only over the last decade or so.  Listen to snippets of interactions between mothers and brothers, uncles and nieces.  Listen to stories about Jacob told and retold, and the smiles that his name evokes.

Sometimes being alone (even when it’s with a baby) doesn’t have to feel so lonely after all.

  1. Rebecca says:

    I love that too…just listening to everybody talk and laugh. It reminds me how incredibly blessed I am. But I will admit, sometimes I make Brad come sit in the room with me just so I don’t have to be alone.

  2. I love this post. With my first daughter (who was born a week after I turned 22) I often felt resentful at leaving family time to go nurse her. With my second daughter, I have finally been able to appreciate the time for what it is–uninterrupted bonding time to snuggle and gaze at her to my heart’s content. We are not missing out on life by providing nourishment for our babies–that just happens to be our life right now! 🙂

    Thanks for posting, great thoughts!

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