I love this little story of this so adorable girl that has food allergies and her mama that creates paper dresses with her in their sanctuary! It has been popping up in all my newsfeeds between the joy of so many of our friends welcoming and celebrating little ones while we fend off the great “baby watch”!
And as I stopped to take it all in, I wrote of the waiting and the in-between of being someone’s Mama.
When we got married “married”, J agreed to wait a year with me before we would start thinking about kids. We dreamt big dreams, but the fear paralysed me. The thought of having a part of your heart breathing, and beating, and trying, and thriving, in places that we couldn’t keep him or her safe was terrifying.
There were just so so many what ifs that would keep me up late at night as I played them over and over and over again.
What if we miscarry, what if I can’t conceive, what if something bad and terrible happens, what if I know I will fall head over heels in love then life happens and my heart gets smashed into a million thousand seven hundred and fifty two infinite pieces
I wanted so desperately to embrace this, I wanted so desperately to be the wife my husband longed for me to be. To be the mom he knew I could be, and so I would push myself.
I would let all the scenarios play, and as the anxiety and the panic hit, I would sit in the silence and try to be still, to heal as I weeped, holding on so desperately to blind and tested faith that our anchor in a big big God would not move.
It sounds so absolutely insane, but I had it in my head that if I could just control this, if I could just possibly think of all the bad that could happen, then I could prepare, then I would finally be ready.
So late at night, when it was just J and I in the comfort of the world shut out, I would feel safe enough to let it all out. To navigate the sacred waters of allowing so many of my fears and the so big dreams collide. I would surrender my brakes and let the walls I spent all day building come crumbling down.
As each wave of what if washed over and sometimes drenched me, I would be just a little closer to where I needed to be. Where I thought I needed to be to be a mom.
In that sacred safe place, I would dangerously tether on the edge and let the adrenaline of fear and excitement pump through my veins like on a massive rollercoaster of longing and heartbreak, wanting to both throw up and like it’s the best dream of my life.
I would whisper to J,
“Do you think he will have your kind eyes or will she have my big big laugh?
Do you think she will like pizza or will he prefer rice?
What language will they speak?”
…and we would dream and imagine mini-me’s and diapers, endless bottles and sleep deprivation.
Big hopes, big shoes, big dreams.
Yet always, just beneath the surface laid my demons.
“What if we get overwhelmed by the so big responsibility of keeping them safe, and nourished, and what if we fail at teaching them?”
The truth is I have barely figured out how to stand up without the fear of being wrong, how to walk away when it hurts me, or to color outside the lines without worrying about the consequences.
How will I help my child figure out this broken, confusing, heartbreaking, soul-redeeming, and amazing cruel world?
How will I teach my child to be if I am sometimes still afraid of being?
I want our child to play in the mud and dance in the rain, I want our child to know love and kindness, joy and laughter, patience and respect.
I want so so so much for these children that I’m afraid to have.
And in this diabolical puzzle of wanting and needing but unmoving, my strong and steady would stroke my hair as we fell asleep, his quiet confidence adding so much beauty to my narrative.
“I am here. I am here even when you are scared and confused. I am here even in the wandering and the best laid plans. I am here and we are in this together because I will always wait for you.”
And even as I feel the time bomb ticking down, I am mesmerized by this man that reminds me to walk on water. That grace is redeeming and grace will carry us through.
Sometimes I feel like he got the short end of the wife stick when he chose to pick me and my freight train baggage of so much and so little.
That I know he can’t wait for little voices to call him daddy and for grubby sticky hands to hold on to as we cross the road.
That I know he can’t wait, but he waits for me to catch up.
And in that terrifying loop of what ifs, I try to picture him and his little man building Legos, or his little princess on his shoulders carried up so high just to see the rainbow.
I try to imagine what it will feel like to find his eyes across a messy toy-strewn floor and to see the man I love gently wiping a baby’s bottom or kissing a boo-boo.
He will be an amazing dad, this I know with all my heart.
I also know that if I can just get through this paralyzing fear of being a parent again, that if I could just be done grieving and sorting through the dark infinite valleys of the soul-aching good, bad, ugly, and magical, that I will come to realize that the only thing holding me back weren’t really the what ifs at all.
That the only fear holding it’s iron-clad grip on my heart is me.
I didn’t see it coming the first time, I didn’t anticipate my world crashing and burning and so this time I over prepare, I think it through too many times and I am exhausted.
Fear is a mother effing liar and it is exhausting.
I have three months till our deadline. Three months before we start planning. Three months before we start “trying”.
Yet today, I bought folic acid. In between rows and rows of different kinds of of formulas and so many choices, I listened to everything the pharmacist had to say and then just picked a bottle.
And I swear my heart would have beaten out of my chest if it wasn’t because of a rib cage that kept it in.
I showed it to J, and he smiled with his eyes. A gentle nod, a you can do this, as he held my hand and we went on with our day.
A show in solidarity, of a small but a big step.
The deed is not done (I’m not pregnant just in case I didn’t spell it out clear enough) but in this one step forward two steps back dance, today we made progress.
I don’t know that I’m ready yet, or if I ever truly will be, but I know that this is what I can do for right now, to get my body ready until my heart is ready.
Because some day, in between the sacred mundane and the precious ordinary, in between the cold mugs of re-heated coffee I didn’t get to finish and please and thank yous and car seat fighting. In between the so. much. whining. and tantrums. and mess. with the five thousandth again! again! of whatever the obsession of the month is, I hope I remember to stop and soak it all in.
I hope I remember that I was once afraid of being a mom and I will laugh at the fears I used to have coupled against the fears of right now.
But most of all, I hope I take the time to make paper dresses on warm afternoons to remind her how much Mama loves her.
That she was always wanted, that she is precious, that we will always always try our best even if it scares us out of our minds.
“What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life…to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.”
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