Friday, May 8, 2015

Mother's Day

This Sunday will be my second Mother's Day where I actually get to celebrate being a mother. It's been an interesting ride so far, and although I've complained a lot, it's really the most rewarding job I've ever had.

I don't actually know if Ellie is really hard or I just have a lot pain tolerance, but it might be a bit of both. The thing I will say is that what makes it so hard is that I want to do a good job, I want her to know she's loved, and having a kid forces you to look at yourself and heal from past experiences. In the past, I've always just maintained a very busy life so that I wouldn't have to recognize my character defects, but now that I'm a mom, and I don't work, I'm busy but I also spend a lot of time in my head. I've been forced to slow down and learn how to live in the present moment. That's actually been a very, very difficult, but also very wonderful experience. I've had a chance to look at my idiosyncrasies and reflect on how they're serving me. I've had a chance to look at some pain and heal from that, knowing that in the long run, it'll be better for my child to do so. 

I don't know if it's been the extra pregnancy hormones or the fact that I know our time together is going to get cut short soon, but lately, my heart has been so full of love for Ellie. She's such a sweet and caring child, she's so curious, and she loves to make me laugh. I've never known love like this before and while it can be painful from all of the fear I feel of possibly losing her, it's broken down my walls of protection and helped me to open more as a human being. There is no way I would have ever been able to understand this level of empathy had I not had kids. To think I wasn't even sure if I wanted any, now I'm about to have my second. Life is funny that way. Maybe I subconsciously knew how much I would love these little beings and I wasn't sure I wanted to sign up for that. Every night, I thank God for the opportunity to have Ellie in my life. 

Being a mother has also helped me grow a level of gratitude and understanding for what my own mother did. She raised me on her own, working two jobs to make ends meet, and dealing with a child who is as strong willed as Ellie. I can only imagine how much harder it would be to not have a supportive husband and have the fear of bringing home enough money to live. I understand the will and the drive a mother has to protect and provide for a child, and only through that can I imagine that single moms are able to keep going. What a blessing to have a mother willing to go to any length to make sure my life was as comfortable as possible. 

Sometimes I think if I have to pick up one more piece of bacon off of the floor, or tell her if she puts that daggum play dough in her mouth, or whatever, I'm going to lose my mind. And sometimes I do lose my mind, then I have to apologize. But then, she lays her head on my shoulder and says mama in the sweetest voice. Or she talks about the birds. Or she likes to smell the roses in the front yard. Or she gets so excited about daddy coming home that she does a little dance. It humbles me and makes me realize that I am truly grateful, not only for m beautiful family, but for this spirited little girl and the opportunity to be with her each day, in the present moment. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pregnancy Number 2

Being pregnant this time around has been interesting. I actually feel pretty good and don't hurt at all. With Ellie, I had a lot of low back pain, but I was also 40 lbs heavier so that could've been part of the problem. This time, the only time I have pain is when I do yoga, so I stopped doing it and now I'm fine. I have started to get tired in the afternoons, so sometimes, I nap with Ellie. Unfortunately, if I nap with her in the afternoon, I don't sleep as well at night, so I don't always do that either. My stomach is pretty big, so I'm not sure how big I'm going to be in 14 weeks. It seems like it can't get bigger, but I know it can!

a photo of Ellie when we went to Clemson

The biggest challenge I've had this pregnancy has been hormones and emotions. I am feeling a lot of emotions and fear about going from one baby to two. At first, it was just fear about having an infant again, and what that will be like with a toddler. How will I get Ellie to nap and tend to the baby at the same time? What about bed time? How will I nurse? Will the baby easily hang while I take Ellie on playdates? Then I started to get really concerned about how Ellie would handle sharing me. She is a very attached baby, she's very shy, and she loves mama! She loves to snuggle which is awesome, but how will she handle me nursing the baby, or putting him to bed? Then, I started to really "mourn" the "loss" of our relationship. That sounds so crazy because we're not losing our relationship, but it will no longer be just Ellie and I. There will be another. I know that I will love him just the same and there will be a beautiful relationship between the two of them that I have never experienced since I'm an only child, but still, it will be different. 

I've done a lot of journaling about this and I think I'm finally coming on the other side. I'm accepting the fact that it will be hard, it will be different, but I can handle it just like many other moms do. I'm focusing on all of the positive aspects of adding another child to the mix and I realize that I am very lucky to 1) be able to have very easy pregnancies, 2) be able to have another baby, 3) be able to stay, at home with the babies and 4) be present enough to work through emotions as they arise so I can be the best mom I can be. It's definitely not perfect but I feel like I'm doing a lot of the good stuff like being present and loving them. What a blessing!