Toby will turn six months this Friday. Six months! Doesn’t it feel like just yesterday when I was weeping and fretting and shopping for travel trailers in the Sierra-Nevadas? Seriously. I don’t know how we went from here…
so dang fast. (Let’s all now pause for a moment and contemplate the glory of those legs….)
At the same time, for as quickly as the past six months have gone, it’s also been a lifetime—Toby’s lifetime. So, all those anxiety-ridden, stomach churning, hair-pulling months of total crazy leading up to Toby’s birth, now feel like nothing more than a bad dream. I can barely remember a time when Toby wasn’t here, when he wasn’t the happiest, sweetest, most curious ball of chub you ever did meet.
I can’t emphasize enough just how remarkable this little guy is. I know. All moms say this. I am aware that I’m not exactly what you would call unbiased. But, from the time we first discovered Toby’s birth mom was using, right up through his birth, when we found out just what and how much she was using, I was full on prepared for a very, very challenging baby. I knew (thanks to about 100 sleepless nights spent on Google) what drugs could do to a baby and what withdrawal could be like. So, when we hopped on that California bound plane last July, I was expecting months of constant screaming, years of him not meeting his milestones, and a lifetime of struggles with attention or hyperactivity.
What I wasn’t prepared for was a baby who barely showed any signs of withdrawal at all, despite being born with a veritable cocktail of drugs in his system. I wasn’t prepared for a baby who was alert and intensely focused from his first moments out of the womb. I wasn’t prepared for a baby who would charm the pants off every person who looked in his general direction, notice every new piece of glassware we put out, expect to be carried about the house nightly to look at his favorite pictures, and meet every milestone like clockwork. I also wasn’t prepared for the kisses—the big, wet, sloppy, open-mouthed kisses Toby now gives me every time I pick him up.
Chris and I are 100 percent convinced, we owe the total protection of Toby in the womb to the prayers of all of you. We had a world-wide support network, praying us and him through those long, long seven months. Without that, I don’t think any of us would have made it. Materially and spiritually, Chris and I were carried through a very long and very traumatic adoption process. There’s no way I can repay people for the gifts they gave. But, as promised, we are trying to pay it forward.
One of the ways I’m doing that is through a very special Instagram giveaway.
I’ve teamed up with three other Catholic moms (Haley Stewart, Janet Easter, and Mary Haseltine), who all welcomed new life into their homes last year, under various challenging circumstances. Throughout last year, all of us received a tremendous amount of support from our communities (real and virtual), and all of us want to pass that support on to a brand new or expecting mama (pregnant or adopting).
The four of us believe life isn’t something you choose; it’s something you receive as a gift. We also believe life is something you celebrate, regardless of the challenges that child might bring or the circumstance surrounding their birth. So, with the hope of helping one mama in particular celebrate the new life she’ll be welcoming into the world, we put our heads together and came up with a bundle of our favorite baby things—the baby gear that has helped us care for our little ones, keep our sanity, and bring a little more beauty into our homes along the way.
This week, over on Instagram, we’re giving that bundle of goods away. To enter the contest, you have to head over there. But, since Instagram doesn’t let you share live links in your posts, I wanted to give a few more details about the bundle here.
- The Arms Reach Bedside Bassinet Co-Sleeper
- The Graco Simple Sway Baby Swing
- The Lovevery Play Gym
- The Wildbird Chickadee Ringsling
- Be a Heart Swaddle Blankets
- Our Lady of Guadalupe Teether
- Classic Wooden Pacifier Clip:
- Manhattan Toy Skwish Natural Rattle and Grasping Toy
All of these legitimately are our favorite baby items. The companies mentioned above aren’t sponsoring the giveaway or providing us with the items. We truly love these things, use them daily, and can’t wait to get them into the hands of a new mom.
The Celebrate New Life Giveaway will run from today (Monday, January 21) through Friday, (January 25), so if you’re a new or expecting mom (or want to give someone you love the shower gift to end all shower gifts), head on over to Instagram to enter. You’ll find me there @emilystimpsonchapman (or just click on my Instagram feed to the right of this page).