"Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other." [Ann Voskamp]
My heart has never been so full. My satisfaction in this current state of living is high. I feel spoiled to be wife to Loren, mama to Sage, while we expect a second born boy to join us in the next...5 to 7 weeks. [Which still seems to be a nice 4 months away in my minuscule mind].
A year ago we were exploring Germany [and bits of 4 other countries] for what seemed to be perfect timing, as we grieved and sought healing and calm and wholeness despite the very broken bits we felt to exist as. Finally we had five positive pregnancy tests, FIVE: thank you grueling fertility treatments! But we lost that little soul from earth as he entered straight to heaven and like many [not all] couples who lose babies to miscarriage, we grieved hard.
I never doubted He would prove Himself faithful eventually but I sure wasn't happy with the pit of darkness I had found myself in. I was not thankful for what had been handed to us - miscarriage. I tried finding reasons to give thanks but when my heart wasn't genuine, I didn't want to fake it. I didn't want to pretend. I didn't want to bandage. I just wanted to BE. Loren made it safe for me to be and I made it safe for him.
I didn't and dont believe God kills babies in the womb. But I do believe He allows death, miscarriage, and He extends Himself to us in those painful realities of loss. It is up to me to take His hand, His heart, His offer of presence. I don't believe the saying "God only gives you what you can handle." But I do believe He gives us Himself, over and over again, when what is handed to us is too much to handle.
Miscarriage, death of so much potential, of life, is too much for me. But He was there even when I didn't do much acknowledging of Him. He was with me in the thick of the ugliness that seemed to become me and when I didn't have motivation, strength, or dignity to call out to Him. Because He is faithful, even when we are not.
Now I lay here in my back yard, literally stuck reclined in a camping chair, 35.5 weeks pregnant and snuggling my sweet first born son. Loren is attempting to tame the area we call our lawn and I keep staring at the miracle in my arms.
It was May 10 we returned from our 3 week Europe trip and May 11 we felt certain it was time to pick back up the adoption application process. Right around that time this little man-son was being created in a womb other than mine.
To say we "feel blessed" is an understatement. With tears in my blue eyes that don't match my first born son's, I type the truth that God proved Himself more than faithful in such a short time. Being this boy's mama is the most privileged thing I've ever had the honor of living out.
I realize I'm not even 4 months into this Being Mama. I realize that I have many tired, hard, parenting years ahead. I have hair-pulling days and lots of mistakes ahead. But at this point, I have read so many First Time Mama posts that make my heart cry, I feel I want to throw my ignorant two cents in. If the complainers can write posts about being a first time mama, why can't I? So often I feel guilty that I actually enjoy this Being Mama. And don't get me wrong: I'm all for being honest & if you need to vent to your own mama or good pal about how hard it is Being Mama, DO IT. But I'm so tired of people telling me life will get better -- to me, this is the best part of my life lived so far.
Like, this guy brings me way more joy than anything else:
I chose to be a mama. I'm married to an amazing man. I recognize that those are two very special things not all mamas have.
That said... Being Mama is tiring, sure. Yes. It is hard to be awake so many hours of the night and the day while growing a human. It was heart-agonizing holding our newborn-answered-prayer while he shook and screamed for Hours On End because he had no idea who these weird-smelling, off-sounding people were. Where was the mama he knew and who are these humans staring at me? As my 35+ week pregnant body slows me down, gives me an idea of what arthritis feels like, makes breathing difficult, and brings me many more discomforts...our almost-4-month son continues needing fed & changed every 3 hours around the clock. This week we have doctors appointments every. single. day. Every week we have at least one doctor appointment. I/Loren leave public gatherings at times due to inconsolable kicking and screaming; diaper changes are not always smile-filled and sweet time of cooing; patience for a bottle of milk is not a baby's top skill; teething is not for the faint at heart; and sometimes a baby just wants to cry and feel big emotions.
It's not what life "used to be," but why would I expect it to be? Why would I expect to continue life as it were before? It's not as it were before. I'm less efficient. It's not just two of us adults; it's one adult + a very pregnant adult + a baby. Life is not the same. It won't ever be "what it was" and I'm thankful for this new normal. And THIS new normal is about to change again in the next 5-7 weeks.
And I could not love life more at this moment. I could not be more thankful for the gift of dying to myself constantly, only to love deeper than I ever have. To love a soul so big, a human so small, life so precious. I could not be more grateful to have this little man-son in my arms every day, whether he is screaming or smiling; he is our cherished gift.
Yes, we are busy and are going to be busy with 2 under 6 [maybe 5?] months. And sleepless. So tired. This is true. But just a reminder that all parents, most humans, are "busy." Life is chaotic. But life can be beautiful despite the chaos. It is in giving thanks and acknowledging the very real honor of Being Mama that we are able to find immense beauty, slow life down if even but for a moment, discover a joy indescribable.
I don't know what I'm doing, but who really does? I drop things and break things and say stupid things and I am a literal-not-showered-mess most days. I'm late to doc appointments and cancel things and reschedule last minute. I have big growth areas in my heart. I have bitterness. I've found a counselor go visit weekly to work through deep wounds. A long nap sounds like the only fix to find joy at times. The mess that is our presidential campaign has me constantly battling falling into fear and moving to another country. Dinner is hardly ever made or eaten before 8 or 9 pm these days and I'm that pregnant person that eats hot dogs and drinks a lot of coffee. I'm the normal average mess of a human on Earth. BUT I'm learning, perpetually, it's okay to be a human, to be imperfect, to be journeying. God is big and His grace is wild.
I'm a wife and I'm a mama. My mama approach has been to do my best to take life day by day, not expecting it to be something it isn't, not expecting it to "be what it used to be." Life as a new mama can be beautiful and life giving when we accept it as it is and put one foot in front of the other. Maybe I'm saying stupid ignorant things now. Maybe I'm clueless. But also, maybe I'm not. Maybe it's okay to love this life of Being Mama and work to find some thanksgiving in our screaming babies who feel safe enough, loved enough, cared for enough to scream and feel raw, unmasked emotion.
I'm that mom that nods when older mamas, the ones that are now grand-mamas, say the cliche, "You'll miss these days." Because I know I will. I love these sleepless, poop & regurgitated-milk filled days.
I'll keep messing up just like the rest of us, too many times to count every day, but His grace will continue covering. Because that is what He does: He covers us in His grace and gives us strength to find joy in the chaos, in Being Mama.
[I am not saying this to the one walking through a deep valley of suffering nor the one who has post partum depression; this post is not intended for you. I also recognize I'm just a 24 year old who may just be annoying and in two months I'll be a zombie with two tiny babies; but sometimes my heart...it bursts and it must be shared].