Right where I belong

“What’s one feeling you’ve had since having her that has surprised you?”

Photo by Say Cheese Photography

Photo by Say Cheese Photography

One of my best friends posed this question to me a few days ago as I rocked my drowsy five week-old baby girl.

How’s she doing? Are you recovering from the delivery? How do you like breastfeeding? Isn’t it crazy how fast they grow?

I’ve been asked these questions countless times lately. Maggie’s doing well. I’m recovering well. Breastfeeding is complicated but worth it, I think (ask me a month from now). And yes, it’s insane how quickly she grows, changes, and develops adorable rolls of baby chub.

But my friend’s question caught me off guard. Not many people have asked how I feel about being a mom.

Honestly, I hesitate to write about it. I hesitate because when I was pregnant, I felt skeptical of all the women I knew who believed that pregnancy was beautiful and the most wonderful experience of their lives. I doubted their statements about how the negative moments would one day vanish from memory. I admit that I often rolled my mind’s eyes while listening to them recant their fond recollections of pregnancy.

I hesitate, expecting to elicit eye rolling from those of you who can’t relate, to tell you that while I still detest the pregnancy process, I love being a mom.

I don’t just adore my little darling because she’s sweet and beautiful when she’s sleeping. I don’t just love her because she is the product of the most precious relationship I’ve ever had. I don’t just like her when she’s smiling, cooing, or cuddling me.

I mean that I love being a mother in the core of my being.

Most of my life, I’ve found meaning and significance in my career and educational journey. I’ve prided myself on making perfect grades. I’ve patted myself on the back for being an expert problem solver, finding holes and filling them in every job role I’ve ever held. I’ve planned out my days based on making meaningful contributions to others through work and volunteer efforts. That worked for me very well. It made me feel complete and significant.

Until now.

004I am most surprised that right now, I feel more like I am right where I’m supposed to be, doing precisely what I’m supposed to be doing, more than I’ve ever felt that way in my entire life. More fulfilled than I could have possibly imagined I’d feel. More perfectly aligned with God’s goals for me than I’d dreamed.

Even at 2 a.m., while sopping up projectile vomit and wiping away my own tears of pity for my daughter. Even after changing five diapers in 15 minutes while nursing a 48-hour migraine that I can’t alleviate with medication while breastfeeding. Even during the afternoon when I plop my exhausted pajama-clad self into the recliner and gaze around the room at the unswept floor, the pile of laundry to fold, and the Christmas cards to address.

Always, I am where I belong.

 

Pregnant pleas

I write this as I attempt to eat something which will not induce vomiting.

In case you didn’t read my latest blog post, I’m pregnant.

I’m excited about being a mom.  I was a stepmom for six years and loved it, and I still love my Lizard to death. I’ve worked with kids of all ages and have tons of kids in my extended family. I’m not worried about enjoying being a mom or concerned with some of the things people with little “kid exposure” might worry about.

But I’m going to be honest. So far, being  pregnant is not fun. It’s quite miserable, actually.

I expected it to be, based on what I’d watched my sisters and friends endure, but at the same time, I don’t hear many people giving honest assessments of the down sides to pregnancy. I believe our society encourages us to pretend we’re happier than we’ve ever been before–and quite honestly, I think we keep that cycle going ourselves. I’m not sure why we feel it necessary to sugarcoat the sour side of life. Anyone who knows me knows that I attempt to see the bright side, focus on the positive, and find things to be grateful for in the worst of circumstances. But pretending to be something I’m not is not who I am, and it never will be. While I am ecstatic that James and I are going to be parents together, I’m not ecstatic that I have to go through pregnancy and delivery in order to get to that end result.

I don’t want any pictures taken of my bare stomach. I  know lots of people do it, and that’s fine for them, but it’s not for me. For me, it’s just a little odd. Period.

I appreciate people taking an interest in our lives and in our baby, but I am growing weary of unsolicited advice (one of my top five pet peeves, in case you didn’t already know :).

I don’t feel well. I know pregnancy’s different for everyone, and that this stage may pass, but I feel nauseous about 90% of the time. I’m battling migraines without the few medicines that have ever worked in treating them.

So, friends and family (or anyone out there reading this who might someday encounter a pregnant woman), I implore you to do the following.

a) Let me sleep when I can.

b) Please don’t talk about gross things around me. I normally love gross things. Not right now.

c) Understand that I’m not trying to shirk relationships or responsibilities, but right now I am doing well to function halfway normally, and I have very little energy left for anything else.

d) Practice what I consider to be some of the best advice I’ve ever heard: it’s not your business if it’s past the tip of your nose. Keep this in mind when asking questions and doling out advice.

e) Don’t try to force me to love being pregnant. It’s really and truly just not a delightful experience for everybody.

So far, I’ve figured out that pregnancy is a growing process. A very awkward, painful one. Many times in my life, the process isn’t pleasant, but the outcome exceeds my expectations. I believe that’s how this will be–and I’m looking forward to it.

Not April Fool’s this time

It’s official.

I’m pregnant.

Seriously.

I’ve joked about this for years. I know it’s sadistic, but it cracked me up to tell people I was pregnant, wait a few seconds, and then say, “Just kidding!”

Last year on April 1st, I found a maroon crayon at work and tried to color in the “pregnant” dot on a pregnancy test (I worked for a physician at the time).

I thought about waiting a few weeks, thinking this would be the BEST April Fool’s joke ever, but decided against it.

Because it’s totally true. Very real. Miraculous. Breathtaking.

And I am seriously grateful.

Do we have a financial plan in place? Absolutely not. Did this happen according to our agenda? No way. Are there moments when I feel completely overwhelmed? For sure. Have I read all the scientific studies regarding pregnancy and child rearing? Not quite. Do I dread delivering a baby after witnessing this incident multiple times and thinking the poor woman doing the delivering was going to die? You better believe it. I’m a bit tokophobic.

But those aren’t the emotional places I want to dwell in. I’d rather think about the tiny miracle inside me, thank God for it, and celebrate it with the man I’ll be spending the rest of my life with.

Life is good.

Just let it be.