Seven days from now, we will know whether we are welcoming a baby boy or baby girl to our family. I’m 19 weeks pregnant and due the end of October. Probably.
You see, this baby was a surprise and I’m not entirely sure when he was conceived. Unlike my first two sons, who I could track to the minute. This fact has thrown me more than I can explain and is one of the main reasons I haven’t yet written about this pregnancy.
We all have so many friends who struggle with pregnancy, whether it be difficulty becoming pregnant or difficulty staying pregnant. Likewise, we know far too many people who have lost their children and would love nothing more than one more moment with them. For all of these friends, I have been hesitant to talk about this new baby until I could end every sentence with a huge exclamation point. As in, “I’m pregnant!” rather than “I’m pregnant. Oy."
Out of respect, absolutely, but also out of fear of reproach. I have seen far too many snarky comments lashed out against pregnant friends who are struggling, delivered cold from our non-pregnant friends who are struggling. This baffles me.
We should all know better than to try to put a friend in their place or deliver some form of perspective that, honestly, is not our place to define. It is rarely in callousness that a pregnant mother would share her struggles. In fact, she needs to be able to work through her problems with her friends, not have them lorded over her head as though she is not grateful enough. Come on. We all know this.
Yet, regardless of knowing that I should be able to talk about my mixed feelings about this pregnancy, I still hesitate.
I always promised myself that I would never doubt a new child coming into our lives for a single moment. I never wanted a child of mine to feel a moment of doubt from me for even the length of a heartbeat. But that’s a tall order when the mother had finally fully embraced being the mother of two and that’s it, that’s all, shop closed and gladly so.
Q is four. Goose is two. I am finally able to breathe again. I am finally able to shower, mostly undisturbed. To sit in a room and think while the boys play together in another room or outside. They no longer need my constant presence and watchful eye. Two days a week, they are both at Montessori school, albeit for only part of the day. But that means that two days a week, I am my own person again.
I rented a writing studio because my life was opening up to possibilities that could revolve less around them and more around me, if even only briefly. I was planning. Working toward something that needed room of its own to stretch its legs and preferably not trip over toys in the path.
I adore my boys. I rarely write about them because who wants to hear about how fabulous I think my kids are. Snore. But I think they are fabulous. One of the reasons I decided I was definitely done having babies was because I simply didn’t want to push my luck. Who wants two amazing little boys and one little snot dud?
I’m sort of kidding. Don’t get your panties in a wad.
My love for my sons is no different than the way you love your children. But they are mine. They are my life. Q and Goose are turning out so much stronger and hilarious and compassionate than I ever imagined. Where my parenting fits into these results, so far, is a mystery to me and I just don’t want to push the envelope.
An interview I did with Amy Hatch appeared on aol’s ParentDish this week wherein I admitted that I’m not the best on-the-floor playing parent. I told Amy that I function better at chair-based parenting, meaning that I can do puzzles and color and paint and read for far longer periods than I can put a voice to Wolverine or Spiderman. But those periods still max out around twenty minutes.
I am not the parent that I thought I would be. I don’t plan elaborate playdates or orchestrate spectacular craft projects. I am with my boys all day, every day, but I’m not always tuned into them. As I write this, they are playing in the living room together, running to me in the family room every so many minutes to give me a kiss and talk about how my ‘pooter work is going.
They are happy. They are social. They are active. They are smart. Above all, they have good hearts.
And they are beyond excited about this new baby.
This new baby that awakens butterflies in my tummy when I think of his arrival because I wonder what I have left in me as a mom to a newborn.
I am a good mother. I mean “good” in the truest sense of the word, not in a ranking sense. I am confident and proud and stern and fun. I listen. I think about them.
I am not their friend. I am their mother. I am what they need.
I’m good for their hearts, their minds, their souls. I’m good for them.
I love them.
But damn if I’m not tired. And a little scared.
I want to tell you about this baby, but I don’t know this baby, yet. As with both Goose and Q, it wasn’t until I knew that they were boys that I began to connect with them. Knowing that it was a boy kicking me made all the difference. I could assign so much more to the personality that was developing inside of me, to the point that I absolutely felt like I knew him when he was born.
Seven days from today, I will know more about this baby. I will know if he is a boy or a girl. I will begin to know about this baby and think of him less as a pregnancy and more as a child.
A child that I will love as though my heart is breaking. I know this to be true.
But until then, I need to be able to let my guard down and tell you that I’m scared. I am excited and nervous and joyful and terrified. I am all these things at once, just as we are all so much more than a fertility status.
Stand beside me and know me as a good mother. Yet let me be a tentative one, as well.
Let me talk to you about this baby.