Posts Tagged With: parenting

Pregnancy is *NOT* Fun

As much as I tried to hide it, I could feel my eyes gloss over into a cold stare. Did she really just say that? Here I was, in the throws of that lovely nausea that accompanies growing a child. I had spent a good 10 minutes that morning staring into my closet at clothes that already didn’t fit my growing tummy and behind, and here this lady stood in front of me, boasting of how much she loved being pregnant. I held back any snappy remarks about her memory failing her and just decided to smile, even though I was sure my eyes were deceiving me.

I don’t particularly enjoy being pregnant. I don’t find it “fun” to stare at my breakfast waiting for that first bite to send me at a sprint to the bathroom. I dislike feeling my jeans, the ones that used to be baggy, bursting at the buttons. The constant uncomfortableness, the sleeplessness, the waking up three times to find my way to the toilet. The waddling down the stairs, the “baby brain,” the endless doctor visits.

new camera002I don’t look to delivery with gleeful anticipation. In fact, I have nightmares about it when I’m not even pregnant. After our third baby was born, my second “all natural” delivery, I can remember my sister, three months away from having her second, coming to meet her nephew. The minute she walked through the door my eyes locked with hers and I pleaded with her, “Whatever you do, just GET the epidural!” Because, let’s face it, bringing that sweet bundle into the world is no picnic.

Copy of HPIM0797“I loved being pregnant! It was SO fun!” Surely she was joking. I half wanted to pull up my pant leg and show her my varicose veined calf to bring her back to sanity. Or maybe just tell her how if it hadn’t been for the wonders of modern medicine I would have died following our third child’s birth.

Instead, I decided to spare her the goriness of my varicose-y legs and try to read between the lines. Surely what she meant was:

“Pregnancy was a sacrifice. It wasn’t all easy, it wasn’t all enjoyable. But my goodness, I brought a baby into this world! A real, wrinkly, squinty, slimy, bloody, hungry, needy, pint-sized human being. And that experience, as horrifying, as frustrating, as incredibly hard, as NOT FUN as it was, it was worth it. It was truly AMAZING.”

Yes. I’m sure that’s what she meant.

Motherhood, from those first nauseating weeks to the waddling, waiting ninth month, from that first time nursing that tiny baby to loading up their cars and sending them away to college, is not always fun. Of course there are plenty of moments, countless days, of real, honest-to-goodness “fun.” But it may not be something you love every second. By golly, those temper tantrums get old fast. The grimy hands on the walls, the stepping on Legos, the last-minute homework assignments, the waiting up when they’re home late from a date with a girl you may or may not be head-over-heals about. But the things that try us, that push us, that we work harder at than anything, those are the things that are worth it. Parenting isn’t always fun. It’s not always enjoyable. But it is, without a doubt, unquestionably, truly amazing.

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Categories: Motherhood, Pregnancy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Motherhood: Anything But Typical, No Matter What the World Says

Her wrinkled eyes bored into my soul as I filled out the papers. I could tell the minute she called me back from the waiting room she had sized me up and had decided we wouldn’t be friends.

My husband and I had just graduated and moved from our college town where being married young and having children in your early twenties was totally normal. Here everything was different. I could tell by the looks I got in the grocery store. Of course it didn’t help that my husband often would get comments that he looked 14 while I, six months pregnant with our first baby, stood out like a sore thumb.

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“I have a niece like you. Got married when she was young too. Some military kid or something.” The nurse mumbled something inaudible, but I thought I could make out something like, “Stupid girl.” Then, without a goodbye or “have a nice day” she left. “Wow, that was awkward!” I thought to myself. I pulled out my book and waited for the doctor. Hopefully she would be a bit more pleasant.

“New patient?” A muffled voice came through the door. “Yeah. You know, just another typical 21-year-old blonde.” The nurse’s voice was saturated with disgust. My head shot up from my book. “Wait, is she talking about me? I’m 22, not 21. No, It’s me. They’re right outside my door.” I didn’t have time to think before the knob turned and in walked the doctor. through the cracked door I saw the nurse scuffle off down the hall. In that split second I’d decided to pretend I didn’t hear. What would I even say to something like that?

I’d never felt so typical in my life as I did that summer waiting for our little boy to arrive. “How old are you?” Fellow grocery shoppers would occasionally ask, eyeing my left hand for that ring. Even well-meaning new friends would fish for answers. “So…when did you get married? And…when’s the baby due?” I could see the numbers flying around in their heads as they performed calculations. Sometimes I just wanted to look them in the eye and say, “YES!!! We were MARRIED!” I was a young, typical blonde, not a clue what she was doing, toying with adulthood. The nurse that day in the doctor’s office had secretly whisked away any confidence I had in my soon-to-be parenting.

Our little boy was born in that same hospital a few months later. As I held him in my arms, I knew nothing about that night was typical. He was perfect. A little miracle. It didn’t matter that 15 other women in that building had just done the same thing and brought their own little miracle into the world. None of us were typical, each experiencing a new phase of life, new challenges, all uniquely ours.

Copy of HPIM0797As mothers sometimes we feel “typical.” Like others are out shattering the would with their talents and abilities while we’re home nursing a needy baby. Our contributions feel very small. I feel that way sometimes, but then I see other “typical” moms interact with their unique child, take care of them, and love them. No matter what age they happen to be, they are doing something so amazing, so wonderful, so innate, nothing about it is “typical.”To that little baby, their mother is their world, and aren’t those tiny human beings, our future, what matters? Mothers are shattering the world, just in the shadows. Their contribution is monumental. Raising a child is an adventure unlike any other, and no one’s adventure is the same.

12-01-2008 04110-4-2008 043Should I have waited to get married? To have children? Some I’m sure would scream YES! That nurse was anything but subtle in trying to convey that message to me, that young, immature mother. But 22 or 42, It shouldn’t matter what the casual observer thinks. For me it has been wonderful, amazing, incredible, miraculous, and fulfilling. I’m thankful every day that life took us down this path. Motherhood is not typical, it is unique to you, and our contributions are greater than we can ever imagine.

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Categories: Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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