Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Becoming a Mother-Person

It's crazy to think a woman can grow a person for 9+ months, that this person will make his/her way out of you in 12+ hours and then BOOM you are considered a mother. All of the sudden you have been inducted into the most prestigious club there is on earth with one ear splitting cry of a tiny needy person... when just the day before you were fully wrapped up in yourself and who you had been becoming for the past 25+ years. 

Sure books were read, newborn prep classes taken and advice was given, but there really is no amount of preparation that can truly equip you for the life altering change you go through as a person. Learning to take care of a tiny person is one thing... learning to understand the new you is a whole other. Can this change happen so rapidly? So quickly? So overnight? I believe we are meant to believe it does, however I have learned for me that it has taken time.

Becoming a mother-person is a process... a process that is constantly evolving. The wisdom that I have ascertained over these past six years have been invaluable. Looking forward to the upcoming birth of my third child has filled me with a certain excitement that I finally understand what being a mother means to me. I am not talking about being an expert in newborn care 101, preschool tantrums or navigating the total crazy random things your 6 year old does... heck no... I will constantly be surprised by these things, unknowing how to handle them and also floundering on a daily basis. Rather, I am talking about who I am!

I unknowingly fought the idea of being a mother-person for many years.  My internal argument... I was still me wasn’t I?  I wasn’t a 100% selfless being who went with every whim of her children and moved heaven and earth just for them. I had to reserve some identity for myself... I had to be ME!! But I didn’t know who me was and instead of one identity, I had taken on many AND I had made them unattainable. I strove to be a fully unique, dedicated, driven, dare I say perfect and separate person as an employee, wife, friend, musician, thinker, follower of God, woman, daughter, sister, mother.

The thing was I had the idea of who a mother was supposed to be all wrong. I felt I was lowering myself to think of my role as a mother to be my calling at present. I rejected that God had called me to this very precise position in order to shape and mold me into a new identity. One He had predestined for me, one He knew would make me a whole rounded person. Being a mother doesn’t mean being selfless and living for your children 100% of the time. To me, it is an intricate weaving of past, present and future self into someone who is fully unique, imperfect, learning and growing. I had been battling that true identity for 4 years and it was getting exhausting. Exhausting to not be able to fully measure up to who I thought I was supposed to be and exhausting to not be able to accept my true identity.

Something finally clicked about a year ago. Maybe it was my depression and the process of having to put myself back together again from the nothingness I had become. Maybe it was the amount of time I spent being a mother. Maybe it was the hundreds of hours of therapy I had done learning to be more self aware, learning to love my imperfect self. Maybe it was because I was finally letting myself let God lead. Maybe it was all of the above... but I have now fully embraced being a mom, being content and also being me... they are all the same thing!  It’s hard to describe but as I birth this baby I will not be re-birthing myself this time. I am no longer a reflection of who I want to be... I am now who God means for me to be right now and that is empowering, encouraging and exciting! I am whole. 

The Real Belly

I pray my son and daughter can grow up loving their imperfections and embracing every mark on their bodies. As I stare in the mirror at my ever growing belly, and my war-torn stretch marks that continue to multiply, I have tried to accept that NOW is the time for my body to go through yet another change... and I will fully embrace that change! I know that after I give birth I will have months of waiting until my belly goes down... that's just how my body is... and I will try to embrace that as well! We are all different and unique and comparing just drops us in the crapper. So here's to the next 9 months and seeing what my body can do.

"Mama why does your belly have those marks?"
"Because I have had the blessing of growing three people inside of me and it stretched me out a bit. Some ladies get marks on them and some do not"

"Does it hurt?"
"No it's just uncomfortable"

"Is this baby I'm feeling!?"
"Yes it is"

"Can baby chestnut hear me? LALALALALALALA"
"Um yes he/she can"

"Did you feel that!?"

"I love this baby!"
"And I love you!!!"

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

An Ode to the End

How my daughter views my massive baby bump
You'd think I'd be all sentimental at this point in my pregnancy... especially since the plan is for this to be the last baby. The last experience of the miracle of life growing inside of me. I had thought these last 6 (maybe less!?!?!) weeks would be of me cherishing my growing belly, my glowing self and the silence before the screaming.

But alas... I have never been pregnant in the DEAD of summer, I have never been pregnant with a THIRD baby and goodness I had completely forgotten how UNCOMFORTABLE this whole thing is... especially this time around. And so to remember this time in a realness you can only expect from me...

My legs fall asleep while I sit down to pee
My belly is itchy as itchy can be

When I sleep the baby thinks it's time to play
And if I don't take a nap I'll be a grump all day

Chasing after kids when you're as large as a house
Makes you look like a mad elephant instead of a mouse

My belly has become a dangerous thing
Because of the children who fall with one swing

Chores such as laundry and cooking and cleaning
Are done at the speed of a snail who is weaving

But at least I can laugh and so can the kids
And so can the stranger who's all up in my biz

So body you're amazing as you grow this little person
But hey I think baby building has become quite an aversion