It is Mine

Thursday, August 30, 2007

"'Every fate is to be overcome by bearing it.' The struggle to be writer, wife, mother, human being, was one I shared with many women. Even if it was not saga-like, it was mine."
~Madeleine L'Engle

I don't think it was ever my dream to be a mom. I admit this without too much hesitation. I do try to at least be honest with myself. When I pictured my future, I didn't get much past the next month or so from where I was, and children were not in the viewfinder, let alone becoming a stay-at-home mom. In fact, I tended to look down on women who made being a stay-at-home mom such a huge thing that it seemed they didn't exist outside of their children.

Still, I never thought that if I did have children I wouldn't stay home with them. It just hadn't crossed my mind that children don't always wait for you to live your dreams before they enter your world. So here I am, a stay-at-home mom. What in the world am I going to do with it?

In the last month and a half since the moment I looked at her head coming out of me and realized we were actually having a baby, I've run over a lot of things in my mind.

When Pete and I got married, having a baby was a possibility, nothing more. I didn't know whether I could physically have a baby, and after a miscarriage after our first month of marriage (which we didn't realize had occurred until months after the fact), I had some serious questions as to that capability. Every month, my hormones left me questioning and reaching for the pregnancy test. Every month, as my cycles changed and bounced all over the place, so did my emotions. I would grow to accept that I could be pregnant, start to get excited, and then crash with disappointment when I wasn't.

At this point, it wasn't about having a baby, it was about getting pregnant. I was just sick of the roller coaster.

Pete and I celebrated our 1-year anniversary in October of last year. I had had four months of improved health and more stable hormones, but at the end of October, things started changing again. On October 31st, I discovered that I actually *was* pregnant.

Now what? It wasn't planned. I thought I was done ovulating. I could have stopped it, if I'd thought about it. But I didn't. Why? If Piper had been planned, we wouldn't have gotten pregnant until July. We wouldn't have planned her to arrive the week before the Bar. But it was done, and we knew that God must have a plan for the little person He was creating inside me. So I accepted it, and did everything I could to keep myself and the baby healthy.

Pete and I spent the pregnancy living where we were. Our days weren't filled with dreams about the baby or her future. We didn't spend our time looking at registries or putting together a nursery. I was working full time at the office and working full-time shooting and editing weddings through May. (I still have three weddings outstanding to finish editing.) Pete was working full time and studying first for his law school finals, and then for the Bar exam.

I steadfastly refused to spend all my time talking about the pregnancy with everyone I knew. I wanted to know there was more to me than that. As I approached the end, I found myself withdrawing more and more from the inevitable, "You must be so ready to be done!" Really, I wasn't all that anxious until the last two weeks, when I was just fending off embarrassment from a couple of false alarms.

And then she was here.

Within the first two weeks, I understood how the women I had once scorned could become so caught up in their children, could build their entire lives around them. While it was not my desire to build my life's work around Piper, I began to feel more kindly toward other stay-at-home moms. How do they do it?

In some ways, I wish I had dreamed only of having children. My pregnancy and labor was so good that physically, I know it's a possibility to have quite a few (though we are seriously considering stopping at one at the moment). I wish I had thought about all the things I would teach them and say to them and show them long before now.

As it is, I feel as though I'm winging it, this whole mothering thing. I've had a number of people put words into my mouth as they offer a parting, "I'm so glad you're enjoying motherhood!" I blink, contradict them internally, and let them believe what they want. I'm still just me. I'm not a mom. I love Piper--she's such a special, precious person. But I look in the mirror at myself holding her, and I realize that I am just me with a very big opportunity to love someone God has created as I have never loved before.

She's changing me. I've never felt so much wonder or been so tender. I am finding that I don't mind, and while I still don't want to spend my whole life on Piper (I think God stole that whole-life passion of mine long ago, no matter how I fight Him), being Piper's mom is a part of who I am at the moment, and I can't change that.

I am looking at other moms and at people I knew as single people who are becoming parents, and I wonder. I wonder that this is what our generation is doing now. It is the beginning of a new generation, when our parents are handing to us the responsibility to change the world they tried to shape for us, so that we can give it to our own children. Honestly, I don't think we're ready. I know I'm not.

But we're here. I'm here. I'm still struggling to figure it out. I'm going to blow it so bad sometimes. Yet every morning brings a new day, and God will always be good. I know that much, no matter how little or how much I trust Him at any given moment.

I laugh at the thought that He has entrusted Piper to me. Hardly. He's so involved it's not funny. I can't do this without Him.


Tricia said...

Kelly, my heart is full for you. No, we're not ready, and we could never BE ready. We could never raise *one* godly child on our own strength (our own failings), let alone all the children God may have in store for us. But He is the Creator; His arm is not too short. I'm praying for you!

Post a Comment

Talk to me, if you like.