I posted a thirty week baby bump picture on my Instagram yesterday and the response I received both public and private have been overwhelming to say the least. It is an enormous relief to know that I’m not alone in my parenting fears.
You see, I wanted a second baby so badly that I was only focused on the idea that life would be so much better once I had that second baby, once my family was complete, once Claire had her sibling. My grasp on that outcome was so tight I couldn’t see through the cracks of my fingers to see that there was going to be some real potent hardships that come with having multiple children. And now that I’m so close to having that second baby reality is starting to set in: everything as I know it is going to change. My marriage will probably be strained for a while. My daughter will probably be jealous and act out. My house will probably be a mess and I probably won’t be able to stay on top of the dishes and vacuuming. I probably won’t have any personal time to myself for a long time. Plus so many other changes will shift as well. Change can be a good thing, a great thing even, but looking towards my impending future, it looks more bleak than anything: sleepless nights, a crying infant, a needy four-year-old…it scares me to know that I know exactly what’s coming and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Change is scary. And I’m really scared of these particular changes.
I feel guilty for feeling this way when I know there are so many women who want to be in my position right this second; who would take my heartburn and sore back and the discomfort and this Life growing within me in a heartbeat and not complain once.
But I have to point it out and I’m sorry to bear this harsh truth but those childless mothers don’t truly know how hard being a mother is until they physically have their baby in their arms and are raising them. I know I didn’t fully understand until I had Claire. It’s a whole new world being a parent.
Every day is a constant battle to foster and nurture a child’s personality and while also teaching them control, “proper” (and I quote that because what constitutes proper?) behaviour and good decision making. There’s a fine line between honing and hurting. And each day is a tight rope walk between the two that is both rewarding and exhausting. Parenting is a test of your patience, your own emotional intelligence and even your own will as those little people push and push against it. They’re constantly testing the water of your limits and boundaries and finding the loopholes in your parenting methods and its inconsistencies. It’s incredibly challenging. You have to be on the ball all the time and let’s face it, we can’t always be Supermom. Or even Goodmom. Sometimes we are just Basicmom.
Being a mom has made me question everything about myself. I question myself daily about whether I’m doing a good job as a mother, whether I’m raising a good member of society and whether I’m screwing her up in some unknown way that will be a detriment to her (and us!) later. I doubt my decisions, my actions and worse, my reactions because there are definitely days where I don’t think before I act and I later regret how I handled the situation. I question my own traits and flaws and wonder what I’m unknowingly passing on to her. I wonder which of my insecurities I’m instilling in her. I worry what parts of her personality I’m stifling. I worry I’m not good enough for her. I tear up as I write that: I worry I’m not good enough for this perfect, beautiful, sensitive little person who, for some reason, chose me to be her mother. So every day is like playing a game with my mind. My Ego tries to batter me down and flare my insecurities in my face like a sparkler on Canada Day while my soul tries to turn me away from it and remind me that I am good enough and I am doing right by her. It’s a game of willpower and thought control. It’s an internal battle that I’m not sure I’ll every truly ‘win’.
And it’s only going to get worse with two. Everything will be multiplied when this next little baby joins us Earthside. It scares me shitless.
Thankfully, through my desire to constantly be real and authentic within this blog (and my personal social media accounts), I think it’s fair to say I’m not alone in these feelings. I’ve received the messages of solidarity. We all get a case of the “moms”: those doubting, worrisome, fearful moments of “Am I worthy?? Am I doing a good job?”
Of course there’s obviously the other side of the coin to: the unconditional love. But where there is love there is vulnerability. And that vulnerability runs deep and fierce. I never understood a mother’s love until I had my own and it is one of the greatest loves in existence. It’s also the scariest love as well. But her love for me humbles me. And my love for her floors me. Every night, after she’s fallen asleep, I go into her room and I watch the rise and fall of her chest and for a few fleeting moments, time slows down, the outside world quiets itself and we are synced: my chest constricts with love while hers constricts with breathe, with Life. And suddenly, all those doubts and fears melt away. Instead, I am awed my husband and I created her and I can only stare while my body fills with that undying and unwavering love. I leave her room with a feeling bordering on pain; my love physically squeezes my chest and I am reminded of the job I have been given: to give her the best possible life with the best opportunities and with the best lessons so she may be the best person she can be for herself, her family/friends and her community. I just need to be real and be me and hope that it is enough for her to thrive and succeed.
And every night, as I lay myself down to bed, I also remind myself that my job is also to be the best me I can be for myself, my family/friends and my community; that I am enough, even in the moments when I don’t believe I am. Regardless of the hardships, trials and heartache, I need to fight my Ego daily, staying committed to my family and rising up again and again because I am that little girl’s hero. And heroes always rise to the challenges in front of them. I want to prove my Ego wrong and be worthy of being her mom. I want to deserve her, all of her in all of her good and bad moments, in every breath I take. I just really hope I can conquer the challenges coming in the next few months and make my family proud. I want to be my kid’s hero for as long as possible.
United we rise,