From fifth-grade forward, Megan Tietz has been scribbling words onto any surface that would stand still. The birth of her oldest daughter seven years ago opened a fresh vein of words, and she found blogging to be a profoundly rewarding medium for sharing them. In 2006, she launched SortaCrunchy to share about her adventures in cloth diapering, babywearing, and all things natural parenting. She has been surprised, overwhelmed, comforted, and inspired by the community of friends and readers at SortaCrunchy.
Megan is the parenting and kids columnist at Simple Mom, and she often surprises even herself with the stories she tells at A Deeper Story. In April of this year, she released Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year with her friend and co-author, Laura Oyer. She and her husband and two daughters happily make their home in the heart of Oklahoma City.
Through the years, I’ve given away and narrowed down and passed along most of our baby stuff with the idea being that I would keep only what is the most precious, the most meaningful to me from the baby season of life. Tucked away in a plastic bin, there are cards in pink envelopes from baby showers and calendars carefully noting new milestones and tiny baby shoes and, of course, the sleep journals.
Actually, sleep journal is probably far too formal of description for what you would find in that storage bin. They are actually sheets of paper with primitive grids marked out and filled in with ballpoint pen. “Went down to nap at 9:37. Slept 42 minutes. Awake 7 minutes. Had to rock back to sleep. Slept 40 more minutes.” In remarkable detail, I read in my own handwriting the obsessive notes from day after day of trying to solve my oldest daughter’s sleep “problems.”
A long-time sufferer of the exhausting pursuit of the perfect, I was determined that I would handle parenting The Right Way.
It seemed to me that the best way to learn how to do things The Right Way was to read some books. And so read I did. Lots of books. And I asked around for suggestions, and one book in particular came recommended to me highly by friends and family who had found great success in following its advice.
Before our first baby was born, I found comfort in the pages of this book. It carefully explained its common sense approach to answering the questions of caring for a baby, and I determined that The Right Way meant adhering to the book’s advice from Day One.
In the days and weeks after Dacey was born, however, the calm, warm comfort I had found in the book’s pages turned to icy fear and doubt. I seemed to be failing the program in almost every way, particularly in the realm of sleep. This is when I painstakingly created the sleep journals. This is when I spent hours googling phrases like “baby nap too short” and “four month old won’t sleep night” and “baby won’t sleep damage brain.” I was wracked with worry over the fact that my baby wouldn’t sleep the way the book said she should, and I was desperate to fix our problems.
Because at the root of my worry was a growing sense of fear. It wasn’t just about her too-short naps or not sleeping through the night by twelve weeks. It was bigger than sleep. It was a fear that if we couldn’t follow the instructions for a healthy, well-adjusted baby, it meant we would be facing nothing but stress and heartache for the rest of our parenting days. The books made it clear that if parents didn’t direct every moment of baby’s day, the end result would be an insecure, demanding child, a troubled home life, and a strained marriage.
Thanks be to God, He rescued me with His Truth. And in the way it always does, His Truth set me free. Come back tomorrow when my co-author Laura will share the antidote to the fear that threatened to choke the joy out of parenting our new babies in that first year of life.
By: Megan, SortaCrunchy
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Today, Laura and I are giving away five copies of Spirit-Led Parenting to Bloom readers! To enter to win, simply leave a comment finishing this sentence: My biggest fear about having a new baby was/is _______________. Your answer can be silly or serious. We’ll choose five commenters to win a copy of the book on Friday!