Thursday, December 11, 2014

Turning the Page

This past week, a chapter in my life ended.  I am now turning the page onto a new one but it does not make it any less bittersweet.  Let me rewind a bit....

On March 1, 2014 my world came to a screeching halt when I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive.  So many emotions all at once surged through me.  Unbelief, shock, fear of the unknown and worst of all, embarrassment.  I hate that I felt that last emotion... but it is the truth and I will not sugar coat it.  Ever since my third pregnancy and subsequent holy terror known as Peyton entered into our lives I have been on the receiving end of comments and questions about our family planning choices by family, friends and worst of all... complete strangers.

"You DO know how this happens?"  "Did you mean to get pregnant AGAIN?" "How do you deal with SO MANY children?" I would smile, say something deprecating about our lack of planning and move on as quickly as possible.  These things have a way of seeping through you and making you feel like you are somehow less.

Four years after Peyton's birth,  back in March I found myself at this point AGAIN.  I hid it as long as possible.. which isn't very long when you are on your fourth pregnancy.. I only told my immediate family and closest of friends.  I tried to be happy and tried not to cry.  This is crazy.. yes?  Here I am with a miracle of life inside of me, not able to be happy due to the embarrassment of being pregnant with a fourth child....

As the months moved on I got over these initial feelings.  As Mason grew inside of me and I felt his kicks and wiggles, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my love for this fourth child was strong and unchanging.  He is a gift from God and he has a purpose just as my other children have on this earth.

Once again as with my 3rd pregnancy, the comments came rolling in.  One lady even asked me out of the clear blue if I had made plans yet for sterilization after this baby was born... A COMPLETE stranger asked me this...  I smiled and changed the subject but on the inside I wanted to say some insanely nasty things to this lady who had no business asking me such a private question.

Mason came into this world reluctantly on October 13th.  9 hours of labor, 2 (yes 2) epidurals and 1 push brought forth my amazingly beautiful fourth baby.  He is almost 2 months old now and he daily reminds me that he is the sweetest surprise I didn't know I needed.

(Back to the beginning of my post now)  This pregnancy was by far my most difficult.  High BP landed me with extreme dizzy spells and then medication to try and control it.  I was on bedrest for weeks before he was induced as my body could not handle the pregnancy well.  I knew from early on this was definitely going to be our last child.

All four of my babies, top left is Maddy, top right, Travis, bottom left is Peyton and bottom right is Mason
We now don't have to worry about having a 5th child and there is an immense amount of relief that comes with that knowledge.  I am so completely thankful for the four beautiful, radiant and healthy children in our lives.  I know that while they are young especially I will still face the thoughtless and ugly remarks from unthinking people who feel the need to remark on the size of my family, but I am taking a page from my husbands book and working on not caring!

As I look on the faces of these brilliant lil monsters we call ours, I know without a shadow of a doubt that each and every one of them was meant to be here and and has a God-willed purpose to complete during their lives.  I cannot wait to start this next chapter as it is sure to be a page turner!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Thoughts from a Working Mommy

I have been home all day today, fighting a head cold that has not been kind.  In between sleeping, medications and laundry-- yes even sick moms do laundry-- I have had a heavy heart. 

I have reposted and read so many articles about the Mommy Wars that rage around us women.  I have always felt the need to stay out of it when it comes to real life battles, but lately it has really been an open wound with salt added every so often.  I feel the need to say something now, when I haven't in the past, and I pray not to hurt anyone or make anyone feel like they are not enough.

I found myself in a conversation the other day with a group of lovely ladies.  All but myself and one other girl were SAHM (stay at home moms- for those who might not know)  In the midst of girl talk, the subject of working/stay at home moms came up. The comment was made that Working moms get to leave during the day.  Such a small trivial comment, but to those of us who "get to leave" it is a slap in the face. 

Please understand that in this world, all of us women who are lucky enough to have the title of "Mother" have pretty much the same goals.  We want to love, we want to nurture, we want to have the very best for our children.  This is where it gets sticky... Opinions get mixed in and feelings start getting hurt. 

Some families- fewer and fewer these days, have the true blessing of one person ( usually the mother) staying home to care for the children on a daily basis. They think this is what is best for their children.  This IS a great model... in fact my mother and father chose this model for us as a family.  They sacrificed much to keep this model.  But this model is not one size fits all, and sadly in this day in age it is mostly one size fits no one. 

So what do we ( the women who don't have the choice of staying home ) do when we cant fit this idyllic family model?  We adapt.  We work 8-10 hours a day or more and rush home to spend as much time as possible with our children.  We stay up late cooking and making school lunches while looking over homework and making sure everyone is bathed and ready for another day.  We clean, we do laundry and find time to make sure our children feel the love we have for them. We crawl into bed truly exhausted and then peel ourselves back up every morning to repeat the cycle. Its not perfect, but it is our life and we are trying our best to make a life for our children that will help them grow and mature into beautiful, loving, caring adults. 

This hybrid model of mothering is the overwhelming majority of women that I know and love.  My sister, my best friends, my co-workers.  But, somehow we feel that we are still not enough.  We cant live that life of waving our kids off to school, doing housework while playing with your toddler, make cookies and welcome your children back from school while you prepare a perfect meal off of pinterest.  And because we can't, the pressure builds and we tell ourselves we aren't enough, we aren't as good as the other moms, we just don't make the grade.

As I write this, I KNOW in my head that these are un truths.  I know that my children love me and one day they will understand the sacrifices I made to ensure they had everything they needed.  But my heart cries to be with my babies every second of every day.  My heart tells me I SHOULD be at every field trip and every class project day. 

I write all of these deep and personal thoughts because I want the other women in my life to understand.  Please understand we are all mothers, we are all doing what we need to do to provide for our families, the loves of our lives.  My way isn't better than yours and your way isn't better than mine.  We are all trying our best in this broken but beautiful world.  Working Mom, you are not alone!  SAHM, you are not alone and you are truly blessed! God gave us these magnificent children.  They are an amazingly huge commitment of time, tears, heartbreak and joy.  Let's concentrate on building each other up instead of comparing and trying to measure up.

With that off of my chest, I am going to go re medicate and snuggle with my son while he watches Nick Jr.  I am even thankful for this head cold, it gives me a day to spend with my toddler.  There is an upside to everything!