I’m not going to lie, up until pretty much writing this post, I’ve resented being a mother. I see “I <3 being a mom” shirts and people tell me, “Just enjoy it, they grow up so fast” …but all I feel is jealousy and my blood starting to boil a little bit. I’m not saying I regret having children, because I don’t. I wanted them. I wanted this perfect little vision of children and motherhood that I had inside my mind. I had visions of tea parties and family board games (without pieces flying everywhere). I had visions of listening to my children laugh and play nicely together while I got things done nearby. I had visions of perfectly clean, little smiley angels who minded when I asked them nicely to do things as long as I was reasonable. I had visions of enjoying teaching my cooperative, attentive and eager little ones to read and learn about life, language, nature and God as they hung on my every word. I had visions of enjoying motherhood!
We love because he first loved us. ~ 1 John 4:19
I have been struggling a lot lately with being so needed. Anyone who is a mother knows this constant feeling all too well. You start to feel like your worth is purely utilitarian, like you don’t matter except when someone needs something – which they constantly do. There is no such thing as free time, and when there is, you pretty much always spend it doing something necessary. With four littles now, the perfectionist side of me is ashamed to admit that I am completely at the end of my rope.
The thing is, it’s always when I get to the end of my rope that God teaches me.
I thought Tarcisius was going to be a dejavu child, a replica, an afterthought, a double take. After all, when he was born he looked indistinguishable from my others and his birthday is the same week as 2 of them. I thought that the fact that we didn’t travel during his pregnancy to pick out his name (like we have with all the others) would make him less special. I thought that somehow he was going to get lost in the busyness of 4 children. I thought that he would forever live in the shadow of my first boy who even daddy is jealous of most of the time. I thought I wouldn’t have enough love to go around and that I wouldn’t be a good enough mom once I was stretched this thin… but I was wrong.
Last week I was told to reflect on Psalm 22. I had been crying to my friend about the trials of bedtime with 4 littles and a tired mommy especially when daddy isn’t there to help…. and my prayer was a beautiful experience, not just, I think, for mothers but for anyone trying to live out any vocation or, simply, a truly Christian life.
The Psalm is meant to be a foreshadowing of Christ’s sufferings at Calvary and the biggest shock I had was how much I related to it – how we all can relate – how much it felt like the Psalmist was describing my own life at that moment (minus the melodramatic psalmist vocabulary choices – or maybe with them – I’ll let you decide – haha).
When God has a plan it trumps everything else.
I knew I would probably go into labor this week but that was the tiniest fraction of what would happen. After nearly 3 days of false labor Adam and I pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that “the kid was never coming out” and relaxed once again into our normal schedule.
When we focus on what we want and what we need we can have a tendency to forget what we already have. Last night I had a moment that reminded me again of the beauty of living in the present.
Lately I have been a nervous wreck. I’m finally full term pregnant with #4 and it feels like I’m a First Time Mom all over again. I’ve been worried and anxious and even started hallucinating about being in labor, but still nothing. I have been freaking out about my older three kids being sick right as baby is due and how germy my house will be. My anxiousness and impatience has been zapping what little energy I have and causing me to be a bit of a grouchy wife and mama.
I have been trying to stay out of all this politics garbage because of all the beloved friends I have on both sides of the issue. I have felt the pain of women dear to my heart as they confessed to me that felt they had to no choice but to make decisions they try not to regret. I am also a mother who sees every day the beauty of the life of my children. I have personally experienced my own capacity for love grow to lengths I didn’t know were possible because of them. I am pro-love. I am pro-life. I am pro-woman. And I am so sick of all the fighting, bickering, bantering, arguing, attacking, and defensiveness. I am sick of everyone trying to be right and prove everyone else wrong… I can no longer hold back.
To my fellow mothers who are loosing themselves…
Wine, chocolate, the occasional beauty parlor visit, mommy groups, bubble baths and escaping to the grocery store alone isn’t the solution…. hate to break it to you. They are like medicine when you are sick but not the cure. The true cure for sickness is a healthy immune system and sleep. Did you know that you will die without sleep sooner than you will die without food? The tips I am going to share with you are as essential as rest and Vitamin C, ladies…. no medicine can replace overall health. So, how do we become a healthy us instead of a medicated us?
I watched a hilarious video from Imomsohard this morning about PostPartumDepression (if PPD could possibly be funny, they did it). Clearly it had gone pretty much viral with all the Fb shares. I laughed so hard there were tears coming out of my eyes. It’s not the first video like this I’ve seen either. There are so many people out there now who do these spoofs on the difficulty of motherhood, work, cleaning house and life in general. I mean, really, its what mime writers LIVE off of. Is it all comically difficult at times? Is it true that wine is sometimes an indispensable relief for daily struggles? Is it true that we reach adulthood and feel ourselves “loosing ourselves” to the irritations and inconveniences of work, family and life choices?
I went to my 32 week growth check ultrasound today. This pregnancy, while desired, has been excruciatingly hard for me in both physical and mental ways. I have had chronic nausea, insomnia, nightmares, exhaustion, dehydration, and anemia. I have been experiencing severe sciatic nerve pain and literal terror at the idea of undergoing a fourth labor. Yes, I know that in comparison to women with genuinely difficult pregnancies, this is nothing, but it has been all I can handle, especially with 3 toddlers. Mentally, all the physical symptoms have taken their toll as well.