What if I had let her cry?

bw10.jpg

My 15 month old recently had six new teeth pop through the gums in one single night. Since then, she has been sleeping pretty normally again, and by normally I mean waking three-ish times a night to nurse. In the two months leading to these teeth breaking through, she was waking and whimpering and crawling all over me to nurse and switch sides and repeat up to 30 times a night. Many nights I didn’t fall asleep at all, and as time went on my confusion grew and seeing the sun rise without sleep made me feel more and more frustrated. I really had no idea what was going on for such a prolonged period of time.

The same morning I ended up spotting her new tiny teeth, I got up and really questioned my choice of the gentle mothering lifestyle. I have been around long enough and heard plenty about sleep training and co-sleeping versus not, but I’ve never really questioned my decision to keep my baby close and respond to her when she needs me. But I was honestly at the point where I found myself thinking things like, “Could I drop dead from lack of sleep?” multiple times throughout each day.

But then, there were the teeth—the tiny culprits responsible for her restlessness. My confusion immediately dissipated and I felt so thankful I continued mothering her from my heart and ignoring any opposing outside opinions.

What if I had forcefully weaned her, you guys? What if I had let her cry? She was actually in pain, and waking and nursing was her best way of coping with it. What if I had taken that from her because of a temporary season? I would have seen those teeth and immediately understood what I preach to myself and other mamas all the time—our babies are not out to torture us. When they cry, it’s because they are hurting somehow—physically or emotionally. When they wake, it’s because they can’t sleep. It’s not because they are just trying to drive us nuts.

It’s been just over a week and the all night nursing parties already feel like a distant memory, but I know my response to her pain night after night will stay with her. She will feel more secure in her emotions and confident in expressing them.

Did you know it’s actually more rare to have a baby who DOES sleep through the night? Night waking is NORMAL. Babies and young toddlers stir for all kinds of very valid reasons—food, comfort, fear, etc. Research says that when they are very young, it is actually a natural defense mechanism against SIDs. Waking to reset and regroup with mama is biologically normal. And, goodness, waking when you have six teeth swelling their way up, well, I think that is understandable, too!

Tiny Details

bw1.jpg
bw2.jpg
bw3.jpg
bw5.jpg
bw6.jpg
bw7.jpg
bw11.jpg

I’ve had these photos in my head for quite a while now, and I finally sat my oldest down to make half of them a reality this weekend (baby was not in the mood). I wanted to capture the most common expressions my daughters make and the tiniest details that make up their beautiful faces. I will look back on these and cry, I already know it. Her eyelashes, perfect and untouched by the makeup I’m sure she’ll experiment with down the road. Her dark, dark eyes she gets so many compliments on from strangers, and the way she smiles with them before her mouth even moves. The way the tops of her ears stick out just like mine do, and the fact that she has not yet felt self conscious about them. Her wild mane of hair that suddenly looks so long and makes her bald babyhood seem like such a faraway memory. I took away the color and the props and the carefully chosen outfit to capture this child, my full of life girl, in all of her raw magic, and these photos make me feel more than any perfectly lit sunset backdrop or pretty twirly dress ever could.

—-

If you are interested in booking a Tiny Details session of your littles, please reach out at jrockphotog@gmail.com. No need to buy a new outfit or a bunch of props—I’d love to photograph your child close up so you can remember this sweet season forever.

We Can Change Your Story

tanyard9.jpg

Mama, we need to talk.

Your kids have been screaming all day (all week, all month, all year), and you broke. You yelled back. Again.
or
Your child won’t stop hitting. He hits you, his toys, his sister, himself. Why is he so angry?
or
You are terrified to take your toddler to the store, or anywhere for that matter. The tantrums get worse each time and it stresses you out so much when she tries to crawl out of the cart to touch things.
or
You have a million toys, all of the current popular ones, but your children are never satisfied and always asking for something new.
or
You are so overwhelmed and totally out of ideas on how to entertain your young child. You feel like you are failing at this full time mom thing—all you do is give suggestions and try to guide your toddler’s play and she isn’t into any of it!
or
You just flat out do not understand your child. What the HECK does he want?
or even
You are super interested in the whole idea of respectful parenting, but not sure how to get started. You know there are books but you’d rather have someone to talk to, someone who has read the books and experienced the peaceful mothering lifestyle firsthand.


This does not have to be your story. We can change it. I say we, because I would love to help you and your family connect better. I would love to help you not only understand, but ENJOY your children. I would love to help your children feel heard and acccepted. After a lot of behind the scenes encouragement, I would like to start offering little one on one consultations with families via email, phone, Skype, or in person. I’ve been doing this quietly for free for years now and plan to continue offering snippets of what has worked with my own daughters through my Bare Mama brand, but I would love to offer a more real life experience to you if I can. I have been an attachment/gentle parent for almost four years, a La Leche League leader for two years, and a children’s yoga instructor, and I have seen firsthand the incredible transformation in the behavior and relationship between parent and child that can come with a little bit of reframing, deep breathing, and mutual respect. Most importantly, I am at a place where I truly enjoy my children. That is not at all to say I think I’m a better mother than anyone else—I think it is possible for all of us to love this season in all of its mess and big feelings.. Our littles are only little for so long—we can’t get this time back.

You are doing awesome, mama. Sometimes we all need an outside perspective to help us shift our mindset just a little. Please reach out to me at jrockphotog@gmail.com for more information.

Now Booking Births for 2019!

2019.jpg

If you are in the NWA area and considering birth photography, I’d love to sit down with you over a cup of coffee or tea and discuss any and all dreams you may have. My passion is quietly capturing you at your most vulnerable, which I just so happen to think is also your most beautiful. I wholeheartedly believe these photos will make you see yourself and your body differently, and being able to look back on the moment you meet your child is a gift I’d give another mama every day if I could (my love language is gifts, by the way—so this makes sense!)!