Every journey to motherhood is unique, each so compelling. Some of us have more difficult paths to navigate before reaching our final destination, while others follow the straight and narrow, hitting bumps further on down the road. For all of us, however, motherhood is a roller coaster that brings inexplicable joy and unavoidable pain, making us feel as if our hearts might leap right through our chests. To celebrate all of motherhood, we at Wichita Moms Blog are sharing our personal journeys.
I’m just over a few months away from becoming a mother three times over, and my husband said it best when we were watching the little one in my belly move and contort under the pull of my stretched skin right before our eyes as we were huddled up on the couch for the evening after our big kids were tucked in and asleep for the night.
“It’s still so exciting.”
Despite this being our third baby, pregnancy really is still enchanting for me. It’s still a miracle, it still makes me cry from intense emotion, makes me exhausted, makes me dream, makes me yearn for the little one not yet here to be placed on me for the first time, to rock and shhshh, kiss and memorize, to hand to my husband proudly and know we’ve been blessed with the ultimate gift and the ultimate responsibility…again. Each double line on a pregnancy test, each first heard heart beat, each little kick, each first cry is equally as important, exciting, and moving.
(So thankful for my hubby who knows just enough on my camera to capture these precious moments for me.)
Each has shaped me into the mother I am.
I wouldn’t say I’m still wearing the same rose-colored glasses I had with my first pregnancy, naively thinking we were prepared because the nursery was ready well in advance, the car seat was installed with six-weeks to go till my due date, and surely we were ready to handle anything because we had taken all of the baby classes, and I had read all of the books so I knew what to do to soothe a baby, to feed a baby, and to get a baby to sleep.
We found out pretty quickly that no, we actually knew none of that, and the amount of crying that happened at our house will attest to that. From my first-born and from me.
At two babies into this parenting gig, I’m past the point of thinking I know it all. I’ll be the first to tell you I absolutely don’t know it all. But I’m also in that point of knowing that whatever may come our way, I can handle it. Because when you’re a mother, you have to. And whatever it may be, it will pass.
Our baptism into parenthood with Henry was so contrary to what I had pictured that I had worked myself into actually experiencing a bit of dread when I was just days away from giving birth to Nelle. I had no idea how my heart would be big enough to love another child, how to parent to an 18-month old tornado of a boy while simultaneously caring for a newborn, and doing it all without family in town, while sleep-deprived and wanting to do anything to stave off the (thankfully) minor and short-lived bout of postpartum depression I had experienced with Ham.
But I did it. We survived.
With low-expectations, knowing when to ask for help, prayer, and having the best second baby ever who slept a lot, nursed so well from the get-go, and an older baby that was too young to experience jealousy and was happy as can be to be entertained by riding my crossed leg like a horse while Nelle nursed. And my heart just grew. In an instant, it was bigger. It felt emotions bigger times two. It loved bigger times two. It cared, was moved, and nurtured times two. The love is bigger than you ever thought it would be or could be. It just is.
That’s the thing…while I know this baby will be different than my first two, I’m different than that first-time mom too. I’m humbled, I’ve been given the gift of experience, allowed myself some grace, and maybe the most important – I have the bittersweet knowledge of knowing that the precious newborn stage – the one where the baby curls onto your chest after a feeding into the perfect little mushy extension of yourself, the one where every yawn, stretch, and little squirm is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, the one where you could practically die with pride seeing all of your babies together for the first time – it goes by in a quick, newborn-induced exhausted haze. It’s the hardest, best time, and it’s over just like that.
And I’m fortunate to get to do it again.
I’m not quite yet to the point in pregnancy when I’m so close to meeting our littlest bug I can practically feel the weight of him or her in my arms, but close.
Close enough where with every squirm, kick, and movement inside my belly I’m reminded that soon there will be a third little one calling me mama.