Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Good Mom

I love my little girl. I love her smiles, her joy, her innocence. I truly don't mind the dirty diapers, the spit-ups, or the... well, what else is there to mind, really? She's just so fun.

And yet, the thought of going through pregnancy and birth again terrifies me. I will do it, because I have more children that need me, that need our family. I will love them, too. I do love them. I want them in our lives.

How do I explain this? My pregnancy experience was easy, compared to many that I have heard. I threw up maybe 5 times during the whole thing. One of those times I was a week or so before giving birth, and it was because I was truly sick. Another time I was carsick and that was just amplified by the pregnancy. My worst complaints, really, were feeling tired and unable to move. I will admit that my back got thrown out of whack at some point, and it still troubles me to this day, but other than that, I had very few problems.

Delivery was the same way. I was induced, somewhat against my will, but overall I believe things went very well. I didn't ask for any drugs. I didn't scream. I tore a little bit, but it wasn't anything drastic. The nurses all said I did a fantastic job. Technically, the record says my delivery lasted 7 hours, but the first 5 hours of that I was on pitocin which didn't do much of anything. I felt irregular contractions similar to the ones that I had been feeling for weeks. Ryan and I played games and watched a movie. There was no pain. From the time the midwife broke my water (and the pain began) to the time Cara was born was a scant 2 hours. It only felt like an hour, to me. An exhausting hour, to be sure, but an hour nonetheless.

So here's the thing... with such ease in both pregnancy and delivery, why am I so terrified? I am sitting here right now, four months later, fighting tears at the thought that I will have to do this again. Every story I have read from mothers, every mother I have talked to, have all made it seem a much more joyous experience than I could extract from my own. One girl even said that the day after giving birth, she thought to herself, "I could do that again." The day after!

The world is filled with evidence that my feelings either do not last or are not normal. There are so many families with more than one child. I want that. I want a big happy family. I am excited to be Mom, to help my children learn and grow and experience and to know that whenever life is hard, they have a family that loves them, and that helps. I just... I can't stomach the idea of going through that again. Sometimes I think I could deal with the pregnancy, but I follow it through to the idea of giving birth and I lose my nerve.

Of course, then I wonder what is wrong with me. The people I most admire in this life are those that can take joy in the hard things in life. I don't mean those that are masochistic in any way, or those that fake joy. I mean the ones that can look at hard situations and see true goodness. My own mother, for instance, said her children never had "terrible twos". Her children were all "terrific twos". This has nothing to do with us as children. Two-year-olds are two-year-olds, no matter how you slice it. But she knew how to control or channel the difficult behaviors and was instead able to focus on the fact that it was a stage of such learning, and growth, and discovery.

Along the same lines is the blog of a woman that I really admire. I've never met her, but I am coming to know her through her posts. She is a Mother Poet. She seemed to get a euphoric high out of pregnancy, giving birth, and nursing. She loved them all. She recently wrote about being in the next stage of life, the stage after giving birth and instead giving life. She looked back at the childbearing years with nostalgia. I, instead, look forward to them with dread. I can't wait to get to the point when I can put childbearing behind me. There is so much more to do with life; pregnancy seems to just put everything on hold.

I am a good Mom. I am a good person. I tell myself this to get through the emotions that plague me. Sometimes I even believe it.

What can I tell myself to help me gain the courage to bring the rest of my family into this world?

1 comment:

  1. Take your time, Chelsea. When the time is right, you will know it.

    Right now you're dealing with a 5-month old baby, which means a body that went through tremendous change less than a year ago, and is not ready to do it again!

    Holly gets so sick that the idea of pregnancy just makes her pale. She loves her babies but definitely needs more time. And that's okay.

    You know what? God gives us wisdom and sense, but he also gives us emotion and intuition. Right now your emotion and intuition says "No" and that's something to listen to.

    If it makes you feel better, I found similar sensations to yours. Are the others faking it? I don't think so. I think we are passionate about different things in life. Just as you love writing, and Holly loves design, and Cameron loves computers, some people love childbirth.

    Does that mean we love our children less? I don't think so. I think we love them the way God gave us to love them. We show it and even feel it in different ways.

    At the MTC, all these moms and sisters are crying, but me? I'm cracking jokes! Do I love Dallen less? No! I just handle it differently.

    A few thoughts. Hope they help.