Baby I'm Amazed at the Way You Love Me All the Time
i've been writing diaries/journals since i was 8 years old. most of my entries have made their way over to the internet, though i have continued to write physical entries every now and then. i pulled out one of my notebooks last night to write my first entry since finding out we are having our third.
last night's entry, transcribed.
we are having another baby.
i'm more afraid than i was with moses and chloe. perhaps at the time i was still so fresh into motherhood, with hardly a gap in between the two, that everything was still new and mysterious. fast forward to the present, it will be 4 years since chloe's arrival when Number 3 is born. i've had 4-5 years of raising these two monkeys, from tiny frail beings to fully walking, running, conversing, writing, and French-learning kids! it feels like centuries since they were so dependent and helpless, i'm so afraid to be sent back to the trenches of newborn motherhood.
i did the sleepless nights, the constant whipping out of gargantuan smelly leaking breasts (in the backseat of cars, in dressing rooms, mall benches, coffee shops, toddler art classes that i co-ran with Taryn, and most memorably while getting a massage with Renée), the body image adjusting, the constant attachment to another body, the crying and inability to clearly communicate WHY THE EFF ARE YOU STILL CRYING WHAT DO YOU NEED I'M GOING TO PUT YOU DOWN TO CRY WHILE I GO CRY IN THE SHOWER OR IN MY PILLOW BEFORE I START SHAKING YOU!!!!!!!!!!!; back to the mountains of diapers and yet another pile of stinky laundry to inhabit numerous corners of our cluttered home. i worry about cradle cap, more eczema, scratching and bleeding and the smell of calendula oils, the scary fevers, the colicky days/evenings that can last anywhere from 1 day to 1 week, crying it out, cluster feeding, napping schedules that may not coincide with pick up and drop off for 5 days of kindergarten for moses and 2-4 days of 2.5 hour preschool classes for chloe. how am i going to juggle those schedules!!!!! back to baby proofing and the hundreds of choking hazards called Lego that have overtaken our tiny home's real estate. back to potty training with more accidents both at home and out in public, back to singing baby songs and reading deathly boring MY FIRST WORD books in an attempt to increase my child's ability to learn. the god damn Alphabet is never going to fuck off!!!!! Moses is a godsend while chloe is still very much learning all 24 (or is it 26?) letters, never mind their sounds and stringing them together to form words. i already crossed so many of these things off my list long ago! i've gained so much of my independence back, i have my body back to a point where i'm content and physically do not need to carry anyone EVER for ANY amount of time. MY BODY IS MINE. a far echo from its idyllic glory days, but MINE nevertheless. it's so very hard for me to know i will have to part with this independence again for 2 years after this new arrival. my hope is that i truly fall helplessly in love with this little person, because I am working through a hell of lot of anxiety, fear, panic and frustration.
Don't you feel guilty feeling this way? Of course I feel guilty about these selfish feelings, but I also know that I have every right to have these feelings as a normal human being and that i am most definitely not alone in having these feelings. since having moses, i know that all the guilt is a very normal thing. when i first had moses and went through the typical emotions of postpartum depression, my best friend at the time made me feel like a horrible terrible person for missing my old life. at the time, as a first time inexperienced mother, i believed her. it wasn't her fault, she was 23-24 and didn't know any better than i did that my feelings were 1000% normal. rather than accepting these feelings as normal, guilt and resentment ate at me from the inside out. i was alone without a single other mother to confide it. it was only when i began connecting with other moms that i realized we all felt the same way. AND WHO WOULDN'T? having kids puts you in an entirely different world. you go from living a completely self-serving life to being an on-call 24/7 servant for this royal being that is your offspring. YOU. not the dad, but YOU! you with the boobs, the sweet Grade A rack of lamb that has has morphed into a pair of disturbingly distorted flesh monsters, engorged with that sweet liquid gold. that first year is hell while Dad helplessly sits back, both of you conceding that the only way the baby will STFU is if it's in Mama Slave's aching arms. i can tell you i am NOT looking forward to hating kevin's guts. you want everything for them and so every sacrifice is made to give them the best life possible. SO MANY SACRIFICES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i was so happy to hear from an old friend a few hours after having publicly announced this pregnancy on Facebook. i grew up two houses down from her. she was married a year before me and both her kids were born 18 months apart just a few months difference from Moses and Chloe. 4 years later, we are both pregnant with our third surprise baby. i was so relieved when she brought up the same selfish feelings that i have been trying to make peace with. yes, a baby is a blessing and a wonderful gift, but any mother knows the amount of work it is and after trudging through it with two so very close together, it's a terrifying thought to have to go back to the newborn phase. to have gained back all the independence and confidence lost, only to know that once again you will be robbed for a couple more years. yes, it's worth it to watch them grow and shine, but god damn is it a brutal boot camp.
it is so hard becoming a mother. the transition is painful. friends you thought were for life suddenly disappear from your radar. slowly, you reluctantly learn to let go of your looks to gain sanity. i mean, really, what is the point of getting dolled up to push a stroller into town? YOU AREN'T KIDDING ANYONE. you're a mom and you have nothing better to do and nobody to impress during that first year, just give it up. it's like having your servant decked to the 9's, DOESN'T CHANGE THE FACT THAT YOU ARE A SLAVE TO THAT SMELLY BABY! PS how angry are you going to be when you get milk stains or barf on that fancy top that is dry-clean only? can't put lipstick on a pig and trust me, a pig (or cow) is what you are going to feel like for most of that first year.
though i paint a bleak picture of life with a newborn/toddler, i'm aware that there exists a full on eternity of hell that i have not yet lived through aka the teen years, but forever, and ever, we all need our mothers and i am only beginning to register now that i too am a mother. like my mother and my grandmothers, i will also forever be the warm place of security and comfort that my children depend on and will continue to depend on for the rest of their lives. it's a very scary feeling to know i now own that same pair of very powerful and responsible shoes. i am a sacred being to my children in spite of my ungodly list of shameful imperfections. my love for them is paramount and all that matters. it never ceases to amaze me how easily they forgive and forget my transgressions. the constant "moooooommmmm…." summons that are usually followed by needs and requests and whines easily wear you down, but every so often, it is always such a pleasant and unexpected surprise when they are followed by "…I love you." and it's a real "I love you" from a very innocent, very honest and pure heart. It's a very humbling moment to be told I love you from these little people. No yelling or outburst of impatient anger sways that one holy truth, and it is that unconditional love from their sweet dirty mouths that puts me in my place and warms my heart on those very challenging days.
it was hard for me to imagine loving chloe as much as moses and now, with a solid 4 years under my belt, i am having the same fears arise with Baby Number 3. Will I be able love this new person as much as Moses and Chloe? Will I resent this new person who will change our family dynamic forever? We've got a great thing going, habits well-established, how will this new baby fit in and how will we adapt to its presence?
only time will tell.
until then, i gotta book my blood work and ultrasound. in 4 weeks i'll get to hear the triumphant beat of its heart and from there i hope i can begin a more intimate relationship.