She stirs. I stir. I hear her make some sort of squeaking sound. I turn over and peak with one eye. Is she okay? Is she breathing? Does she want to eat? I sit up and lean over the co-sleeper. Should I pick her up? Let her keep sleeping? Does she need me? My husband pleads with me to go back to sleep.
It's night number two home from the hospital (or is it night number one? or three? it's hard to keep track these days), and we're getting used to (not) sleeping with a newborn in the house. Somehow, it seemed easier at the hospital -- with the nurses coming in and out, with the doctors assuring us she was okay, and with meals and snacks being delivered on a tray. Also -- was it our imagination? -- she was sleeping better in the hospital.
"Everyone tells you that you won't get sleep with a newborn," my husband has started telling people. "I didn't realize that they were serious."
So here we are: sleep-deprived, desperate to console her cries, and finding it difficult to do normal people-things like take showers and eat.
That's where our rescuers come in.
I'll call them "The Village," calling reference upon the ol' adage. Without them, there's no way my husband and I would have survived this far (and our poor little baby, for that matter).
Over the last two and a half weeks, we have witnessed the rallying forces of community -- beyond the walls of our own home. Our parents have stayed to help us with the day-to-day chores and to hold the baby so we could catch up on much-needed sleep. Our housemates have taken the dog out on countless times and have been eager to help in any (and every) way. Our church family provided dinners for us for two weeks straight (and let me tell you - our church has some awesome cooks!). We even had one friend pick up my prescriptions AND get my husband some much-needed comfort food (aka chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream).
I can't imagine what the last two weeks would have been without the help of our community. I always wanted Gwendolyn to be surrounded by and raised by a "village" of sorts, but I never realized that we would need it just as much. It certainly does take a village to care for a child -- and to care for ourselves as well.
Let me encourage you to be aware of who is in your community and what they might need. Did someone just have a baby? Is someone sick? Stressed? Find ways to provide for their needs and make their lives easier. Offer to watch the baby for an hour and let the parents go out on a quick date. Bring over meals or pick up a favorite treat for them. Take something off their plate.
Become their Village.