Sunday, May 12, 2013

Not Another Christmas Letter

I am a competent mother...I am a competent mother...I am a competent mother.

If I repeat this enough times, my wish will come true.

The last eighteen months were rough. The never ending pregnancy. Three heartbroken endings. Finally, a perfect child to hold in my arms. And he was beautiful, sweet and perfect, I couldn't have asked for more.


Enter a whopping case of postpartum depression. A husband who works a lot and travels a lot for work. Here is newly outnumbered me, not coping well, starting a lot of conversations with my husband with "I know this is hormones and completely unreasonable, but I need you to humor me..." He is really an amazing man.

By the time I was coming out of it, winter was setting in, bringing with it Gus's winter psychosis. I can truly appreciate just how bad his cabin fever is now that he's outside for 8+ hours a day and is a mostly happy, well-adjusted three year old who sleeps and eats and plays.

I told myself I would write Christmas letters once we had children and had something to talk about other than our boring grown-up lives. Yet at Christmas time, I was too ashamed at having spent most of the year in the dumps emotionally. My children are great! bright! beautiful! it's me who can't get a grip...

Then at some point, everything just clicked. I could handle it. I'm spending lots of quality time with the boys. They are friendly and well adjusted. My marriage is doing well. We've finally settled in and formed relationships with people up here. My house still is never clean for a week solid, but the laundry and dishes are caught up. I haven't forgotten an appointment in six months. I feel this qualifies me for super-mom status.

I even made cookies twice in the last couple weeks.

So, God, where's our next baby?

We dreamed of a large family, but here we are 29 and 30. Two kids. Teddy is 14 months. When can I have another baby? I'm doing a good job now!

Now obviously I know that I'm not going to prove to God that I deserve another baby by keeping my house clean. Here comes the part where we have to live what we believe. We said we would trust him to give us the children he wanted us to have. I'm realizing now that not only does that mean the number of children, but accepting that he might want them further apart than I do. Not rushing his timing for our family.

While I was busy wrapping my head (and heart) around that little nugget I realized that Teddy is a gift from the same God that is not giving me another baby right now. Maybe Teddy needs me more that I realize. Maybe he needs to be my 'baby' for a little while longer. Maybe Gus needs his mommy not wrung out from another difficult pregnancy. It's obvious that both of them are thriving with the attention they've been getting lately. Maybe those three miscarriages were because my body needed more space between pregnancies. Maybe God is protecting me from that heartache again.

I have had a very hard time letting go of the image I had of our family of lots of children one after the other. (Also, I never pictured blond-haired, blue-eyed babies.) It's been a very slow process learning to trust God in all things, not just children, everything. The children have just always been the thing about our family closest to my heart, and having the control issues that I do, the hardest to leave to someone else's plan.

Around Mother's Day (and, I suppose, the rest of the year) I always drive myself crazy with second guessing myself and hyper-analyzing everything I'm doing right or wrong with my children. This time I think I'll just say, "Thank you God, for my wonderful little family, for these little boys, for their love and their hugs, for their sturdy little bodies. Thank you for the relationship they have with each other and with us. Thank you for their health. Thank you for trusting us with their souls. Thank you for giving me such a fine father, provider, partner and friend as my spouse. Thank you for this new peace that I've found with my life just the way it is."

1 comment:

  1. I've tried to comment on this twice now but I think it ate my comment both times (boo :( ). Probably because I was commenting from my phone, so I'm on my computer now and hopefully that works. Anyways, I was going to say, I think it's really hard when our expectations don't match up with God's reality, which, at least for me, happens far too often, mainly because I have the expectation that I will be able to control things, when really, I have true control over hardly anything. It is hard not to second guess everything we do for our children, because in the end, I think we all want them to turn out okay, whatever our definition of okay is, and it's so hard to tell sometimes if we're doing the right things. But take heart - I know this was written a while ago, so I hope that things are looking up for you. You are not alone - I think your struggles are very common and they are something that I can relate to in many ways.