Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Expectations

with Isaac -1994

with Abbey-1996

with Matthew-1999

 with Andrew-2003

with Patrick-2007

So many of you said so many nice words of congratulations to me when I announced my pregnancy with my sixth child.  I appreciate them all-sometimes I feel like all that is said to me around here is, "Can you..." "Do you know where..."  "Make him stop..."  "What's for dinner..."  that sort of thing.  You all have so much confidence in me, and that is so nice of you all.

But I want you to know something.  With every pregnancy I have had many thoughts and worries and anxieties on my ability to be a good mother to each child I bring into this world.

Maybe each time I have more perspective...I KNOW in my heart there will be trying times, tired and exhausted times, frustrating times.  I know I will feel dumpy and fat for a year while I nurse my baby because I never lose all my pregnancy weight till I'm completely done with nursing which means an entire year of stretchy waist bands.  I know that I will be a walking zombie with a short temper till the baby sleeps more than 2 hours at a time.  (Which none of my babies did for a long time!)  I know I will feel at times like no one gets the energy it takes to raise teenagers and babies at the same time and feel a little sorry for myself, and then get mad at feeling sorry for myself when I know I should be feeling grateful instead.  I know I will have to keep things simple which means saying no a lot-even to my own family.  I know I will feel overwhelmed and then guilty when I lay may head down to sleep just about every night.  Did I say one thing encouraging to this kid or that kid?  Did I forget once more to sign a paper, make a phone call, write a thank you note?

Now I also know how fast infants become babies, and babies become toddlers and toddlers become school kids, and then teenagers and then how they are ready to leave the home.  So little things, like how often the baby poops-which I used to record in a pooping/feeding/wetting notebook with my first, are no longer recorded-I know things will be OK on that front...I also know that those worries are nothing, nothing, compared to the worries that come later.  I'd trade pooping worries with teenage driver worries in a heart beat.

When I look at each of those hospital photos above I can see it in my face-my happiness but also my insecurity, my doubt, my worry about the huge task before me, that I know won't work as smoothly as I'd like it to, in spite of my planning and preparation for that first year.  But I did do it.  I did it the best that I could do. I survived the sleepless nights, the endless nursing sessions fit in between meeting the needs of toddlers (and school children and teenagers!), the frumpy frustration of having nothing to wear and no time to care, the feelings of guilt over snappy exhaustion, the endless neediness and 24 hour care of my family.

Every pregnancy, I believe, brings big changes and adjustments to a mother...whether it's your second and you are worried about how you can possible love another and share your time, or whether it's your sixth and you wonder how you can stretch yourself out so thin and not feel completely depleted, and not leave anyone resentful-we all (I think?) have the same feelings.  I think many mothers feel like they are not "allowed" to have these feelings, especially when that baby was "on purpose" and tried for...I know I still grapple with this.  But I remind myself that we are allowed to feel this way...maybe it means we realize the scope of care involved, it means we want to be the best we can be for our family, it means we recognize the big work before us.