Monday, December 20, 2010


Our little man is 3 1/2 months old right now. He (usually) sleeps through the night, he just started laughing out loud, and has also started reaching for things (a very exciting thing for mommies, probably pretty lame to most others).

Right now, life is good. I love being a mom. I mean, who could complain when you get to spend all day every day with a face like this one?

I feel like I can honestly and vulnerably admit that things haven't always been so rosy. The first few weeks of Denver's life were probably the hardest weeks of my life. I had heard of postpartum depression, but didn't know much about it. Looking back, I probably didn't officially have postpartum depression, but I think I had what people call the "baby blues," a less severe moodiness that lasts only a few weeks instead of a few months.

Keep in mind, I have always wanted to be a mom. I remember in 8th grade we all wrote what we wanted to be when we grew up. I still have that piece of paper. It says, "Caitlin Shaughnessy wants to be a housewife and a mom." I never made a very good feminist.

But I somehow missed the boat on how difficult it is to have a newborn baby. Not many people talk about what can happen to your psyche when you're extremely sleep deprived. Waking up in the middle of the night at 1:30, 3:30 and 5:30 is exhausting. My entire body ached from the birth experience and learning to breastfeed. All the images I had of parenthood included parents feeling an overwhelming love for their children. However, when Denver was about a week old, I tearfully admitted to Austin that I thought I didn't love Denver enough. He just demanded so much, I was so hormonal, and I didn't have all those ooey-gooey feelings that people seem to get for their babies.

Austin looked at me and reminded me that love isn't based in feelings. Love is a choice. Love is an action. By waking up at all hours of the night, working through the pain of early breastfeeding, sacrificing my time and energy for my son, I was loving him.

During this Christmas season, I am reflecting on God's love for his children in a new way. He loves us with a self sacrificing love. He sent his Son to earth so that we might live life to the fullest. I assume He didn't always have ooey-gooey feelings for his children. People have been rebelling against their Creator since the beginning of time. Yet he chose to love us anyway.

So to wrap up a lengthy post... I learned more about true love in Denver's first few weeks of life than I had in years. Each day that goes by, motherhood gets better. His little personality is starting to show through and we have lots of fun together. Those ooey-gooey feelings are growing daily, and the way he smiles at me melts this mommy's heart.

So this Christmas, as the band Relient K puts it, "I celebrate the day, that you were born to die, so I could one day pray for you to save my life."

proof that Denver reaches for things...
thank you Jesus for our patient dog


  1. Amen, well written. God is so good. I thank God for you and your choice. I love you and your precious, lovely family. He never gives us more than we can handle and we learn from what He gives us. I am blessed and thankful to be a part of your family.

  2. I love this post and those feelings you had are so normal! Even though I don't have kids yet, my two older sisters just had babies within the last two months and they have both described it the same. You are a great Mom and your family is so precious! Merry Christmas :)!

  3. Caitlin, your feelings were so normal - I had the same feelings and I was so disturbed by them that it took my much longer to admit them to John. Just know that you are true in all the words that you spoke. Love is action, not just talk. You will see that as Denver gets older. And reaching out to Fable is awesome - Lily loved our dogs that we had before she was born. They are both gone now but her love for them kept them going much longer than they probably would have. Have a wonderful blessed Christmas - you've already been blessed many times over!

    Juli Johnson

  4. I love you so much Cuz and I think you are the most wonderful Mommy. I am going to miss you this year, but I hope that you, Austin and baby Denver have a Christmas filled with love and laughter. Give everyone my love.


  5. Beautiful, profound, and oh so true! We think parenthood is supposed to be sunshine and rainbows and unicorns but we forget that to get to that rainbow, there first needs to be a storm. :>) Thank you for putting your vulnerable honestly out there in the blogosphere. I hope more new Mamas who are terrified that they are somehow terrible parents because they can't remember the last time they showered but are certain it wasn't in the last two days, find you and in your words find a measure of peace.
    Enjoy that little man! The days are long but the years are short!