Monday, March 10, 2014

Ready or Not: Forever a Mom

              The other day, as I was sorting and cleaning more of the nursery, I hit a wall. It had been a hard few days for Gabriel and I. We’ve been dealing with family stress, money burdens and the many to-do lists that accompany the ever approaching due date. As I sat in the beautiful glider my mom gave me, I looked around at all of the wonderful gifts I’d been given and I began to sob. With a little blue and white starred onesie clutched in my hands I rocked myself back and forth and let myself cry for fifteen or twenty minutes.

        The last few weeks have been marred by new crazy hormonal meltdowns and the stress of the last few days has stolen sleep from both Gabriel and me. We have weathered more than our fair share of dark times in our year old relationship, but in the last few weeks any minor issue is enough to wreck any emotional control I have. We haven’t even fought, or stayed angry at each other, but the mere thought that Gabriel is unhappy for any reason, has kept me up late into the night days in a row. And today my fear, exhaustion, hormones and sadness collided and I soaked a little onesie with my tears.

        As I rocked and cried, I prayed and asked God for help. I asked for wisdom, provision, strength and protection. Soon my prayers morphed into whispers to my son. I asked for his forgiveness. I apologized that I had to be the one to bring him into this world. I promised that I would try my best and that I would love him. I promised that his daddy and I would never quit striving to make our family the warmest, safest place it could be.

        Gabriel called and told me he was on his way home from work. I hung up the phone, dried my tears and splashed cold water on my face, hoping I could hide my tears. I didn’t want to seem dramatic and I didn’t want to add more stress to our day. Of course, I couldn’t hide from him my fear and insecurity and we were soon cuddled in bed, my head resting on his chest, my fresh, hot tears on his shirt.

        I’m scared to be a mother. I cannot wait to meet my son, but I feel so unprepared. The nursery is complete. Countless pregnancy and baby books have been read. My body is certainly ready. But today I realized that I will be the only person this little human calls Mommy. I will be the one to care for him, teach him, and show him this world. He will be my son and I will be his only mother. The idea of being pregnant was scary enough, and now nine months into it I’m realizing that this is the temporary part. The forever part of the equation is motherhood.

        I am a 21-year-old girl, with serious emotional turmoil to deal with and virtually no idea about what kind of mother I will be. I’m more dependent on my husband than I ever imagined I would be in a relationship, and I am still afraid to go anywhere on my own. I called a teething ring a ‘chew toy’ in front of thirty women at my baby shower, and I have no idea how to use cloth diapers. I can hardly cook and grocery shopping overwhelms me. I am still a child.

        “Honey, I want you to realize that a lot of this is hormone induced.”
        “But it’s still real! I still really feel this way!” I sob back.
        “You’re right. It’s still real, but it’s worse because of hormones. We’re okay.”

        Gabriel and I have had this exchange countless times as I sob late at night in bed. I know we’re okay. We love each other relentlessly, and we are both actively trying to care for each other better. But we are about to transition, yet again, into one of the most trying parts of life. The bigger my belly grows, the more difficult it is to put on socks and the more frustrated I become. I recognize that we have our good days, and our bad days, and all of the issues we’ve been dealing with are inevitable and impermanent. Being pregnant is beautiful, miraculous and extremely difficult, but pregnancy is only another transitional phase in my life. Motherhood lasts forever. The weight of it all scares me more than I can say.

Photos by Rachel Joy Baransi