Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mommy Strength

Today marks the halfway point.  Baby Girl is exactly 20 weeks along and but by the grace of God that she does not inherit my chronic tardiness, the number of days until we meet should hopefully amount to less than the number that have gotten us here.  By the Grace. Of. God, people!

I'm starting to feel like her Mom.  I've known of course, since she was just a flickering peanut, that I was going to be her mother, but in the past few weeks it has changed from something I'm waiting for to something I'm becoming. I've transitioned from talking about my pregnancy to hearing myself say "my daughter" and absolutely delighting in the purpose two simple words give every day conversation.  This transition has also given me a brand new perspective on this whole pregnancy thing and provided me with some pretty handy tools to navigate some of the more challenging first-time mom moments.

One of those moments is when one is faced with the most dreaded of all pregnancy evils... the Mommy Bully.

You know the one.  She asks you about all the intimate details of your pregnancy, your birth plan, your thoughts on how you plan to raise your child, and when you answer she wastes no time in tearing your heartfelt and well-researched goals and aspirations to tattered rags.  It goes something like this...

Mommy Bully: Sooooo! You're five months along, huh? Do you know where you're going to deliver?

Innocent Pregnant Woman: Yes! We're delivering at Come One Come All Hospital. We just had our tour and we really like the staff and birth sui-

(you're cut off mid-sentence)

Mommy Bully: (eyes rolling) Ohhh nooo, weeeee delivered at Holier Than Thou Hospital and my epidural was a cocktail of percocet and champagne and my ob is a direct descendant of the midwife who delivered Jesus.. you're getting an epidural right? You're not one of these new-age natural birth mothers, oh for heaven's sake please don't say-

(you cut her off mid-sentence)

Innocent Pregnant Woman: Actually, I am hoping to have a natural delivery but I'm staying open to the possibility that I might want help, hence why I'm delivering at a hospital.

Mommy Bully: Oh but truuuust me, five seconds in and you're going to be begging for the epidural.  Don't be a hero, there are no awards for giving birth the Stone Age way you know... [negative negative negative, condescending condescending, condescending...]

You could substitute any topic - breastfeeding, swaddling, cloth diapers, strollers versus baby carriers... there is literally no end to the backlash a first-time mom receives from the been-there-done-that crowd.  It will come from the well-meaning, the spiteful, the have-no-sense-of-social-decency-whatsoever, your friends, your family, your coworkers, your cashier at Target. 

And then you have a choice.  You can either do what I did up until a few weeks ago, which was to internalize my anger and hurt and wait until I got home to unleash it all in a blizzard of tears and sobs and "Why doesn't anyone respect my choices?? I'm going to be her mother!! They were new mothers themselves one time, don't they remember what it's like?!?! Don't they think I want the best for my child??? What kind of person tries to talk another woman out of making her own choices as a parent?!?!"

Or, you can take a breath and remind yourself of the one simple, irrefutable truth.. YOU alone are your baby's mother.

I can't tell you what a quick glance in the mirror every now and then, saying these words to myself with a hand on my belly, has done for my state of mind and my resolve. It reminds me that no matter what criticism or negativity comes my way now, something so much bigger and better is coming to stay.  And I dare somebody to challenge her cute little cloth-covered bottom once she's here.

140 days and counting...


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In moves peace

(Just past 3AM Wednesday, been awake since 5AM Tuesday. Managed to twirl my hair around a curling iron this morning and kept my makeup relatively fresh throughout the day, hence the rare stamina to sit here looking quasi-presentable and write to you anyones out there about what yet I'm not too sure. Bear with.)

I so admire the blogs of 5 or 6 sentences that describe a day, describe an outfit, link the two seamlessly together, infuse a shot of philosophy, and scene. My reader is full of them and they've helped break me of my magazine addiction, for which I am forever grateful. The thing is, they can do that because they do it every day and those of you who are fellow faithful blog followers will understand what I mean when I say that you come to know these women like the neighbor down the street who can just pop in to say hello, while I on the other hand tend to err on the side of moderately bitter old harpie who only emerges from her shades drawn bat cave when the children have cleared the streets and the weather outside is not a degree below bathwater. I would love to write every day, and if you count the continuous reel of monologue playing in my head I suppose in some way I do, but most of the time trying to strain the good through the lumps of gritty bad is too much for this crazy old cat(less) lady to manage.

Lately though, there's been a new reason to write, a new thing to think on, and rather than let this time go undocumented, only existing for me and my unsorted mind to remember, I want to share it with you.

Ladies, readers, friends.. I am pregnant.  Deliciously, ever-increasingly, several months and a pair of days pregnant with a five and a half inch scrumptch of a baby girl, who if she inherits even a trace of her great-grandmother's good graces will hopefully grant forgiveness for what appears to be the unfortunate resemblance of my nose.

And there it is, in all its miraculous, confusing, terrifying glory.  A baby is coming.  My baby.

I have struggled for weeks over whether or not to bring this story here, to this format, this breach of anonymity and privacy the past 18 months have taught me to cherish. And not so triumphantly, I can't say that I came to the decision so much as the decision came to me.. earlier this evening in a hall light lit bathroom taking in for the very first time that this woman-in-repair staring back from the mirror is not just me... it's me and it's Her.  Her is here now, not just Situation or Circumstance or What next to do.. occupying the space that was empty, longing for reconciliation and absolution, praying every night for Belief, is Her. My daughter is with me now, every moment of every day, and the relief, the forgiveness, the peace I furiously clung to hope that God would grant to heal the constant ache in my heart... He did me one better.  He moved peace right in, and so very precious, about once or twice a day, I feel -literally- peace moving within me.

It may be the first time in my life as a believer that I've not mistaken grace for mere relief, that I've felt something not just calming, but also stabilizing and determining. That the answer to my prayers has brought me closer to God than I even thought to ask for, and that His answer to my doubt and despair was a to-the-knees resounding, "You are My child and you absolutely can do this. I would have it no other way."

This is about the time in the mind-reel when I would just as soon turn the microphone over to God Himself and let Him tell the story His way.  I clearly fall short, and.. well... this is ultimately His story anyway, isn't it?

Short of a divine intercom system, I will, for now, leave you with this - I am grateful, so very grateful, but I am also, more often than not, scared out of my mind. What about my big ole proclamation of faith, you ask? Oh it's there, staunchly and steadfastly my faith in my God and myself is there, but me and Her.. we are both still learning, both growing together, and for today my simple hope is that on this fast-approaching day when my sweet little girl is born, she will be a brand new baby in the world and I will be worth her. 

"Peace is not the absence of noise, trouble, or hard work.  It is to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart."

**Together, today, we look a little like this...

And the peace that She's giving me, something like this...

Thanks for staying with me, more to follow.

**I realize this blurry iPhone pic could use a bit of editing, but I kinda like the Hopper-ishness of it, and frankly, sometimes blurry ain't bad.