Swimsuit: Victoria's Secret
Some days I feel very overwhelmed with my decision to have a baby. There's no going back, now, people. I can't change my mind. I've boarded the train, there's no getting off.
There are a lot of things to be afraid of. I kind of feel like I am entering this wild unknown desert called July and I have no idea what will emerge on the other side. Will I be the same person? Will I have the same interests? Will I ever have time again with just Greg? Or will my whole life be sucked into this vacuum known as motherhood where nothing emerges unscathed? Some make it seem like all of a sudden I will want to drop everything in life and just be with that baby. Others make it seem like I will want to drop everything and run for dear life.
Most of these thoughts were brought about this weekend when I was texting a mission buddy who had a baby two months ago. She shared two articles with me on facebook- this one on the struggles of breastfeeding and this one about how hard it is to have time with your husband once you have a baby. I'll be honest, both articles depressed the hell out of me.
It was Friday night when this conversation was taking place, and I was trying to be a good wife and keep up with my March goal to do an act of service for Greg every day. Naturally, that took me to the drive thru line at the nearby burger joint for some ice cream. The wind was howling and the rain was pouring down and I sat there waiting for my chocolate malt and feeling more and more scared as the texts and articles went on. Sore nipples. No sleep for days. Epidural or no epidural. Say goodbye to intimacy. Quarantined to the house. Fussy babies. Sick babies. Babies who must be held every minute. Babies who won't go in a car seat. It was all terribly overwhelming and I came home with my chocolate malt in hand and tears rolling down my cheeks. I don't think I am a selfless enough person to do this.
The truth is that most of the women in my life who are close to me have already experienced motherhood. I will be 28 when I have my first child, WAY older than most Mormon women when they have their first child and three years above the national average. It's okay with me- I think 28 is a great age to have your first baby. And so, the problem then becomes that most people close to me have already experienced what I am experiencing and will be experiencing. As such, they have lots and lots of things to say, some helpful, some not necessarily so. It is hard for me to weed out the information- to pick out what is useful and helpful to me, and information that is not applicable to me or better left untouched for now. If my nipples are terribly painful and I cry for days because I can't breastfeed, do I have to know that now or can I just wait to find that all out when it happens?
What I have to remind myself is that others' experiences are not my experiences. I was old relative to most Mormon women (25, oh my!) when I got married. Therefore, I heard a lot about marriage and sex before I tied the knot. (Most mormons are virgins when they get married- if you want to know why, I explained common questions about Mormonisn here.) A lot of what my friends told me about marriage and sex absolutely terrified me and almost none of it applies to my actual marriage. Greg and I have our challenges, certainly, but they are none of the ones I was so generously "warned" about beforehand. The same thing happened with teaching. I heard horror stories of how terrible teenagers were, how low the pay, (yes it is low, but it certainly is not poverty) how long the hours, how endless the papers! I have found that very little of this information was helpful to me as my own classroom experiences have been vastly different from others' classroom experiences. Guess what? I've never ever ever put in an 80 hour work week! Not even 60! And I've never spent ten straight hours grading papers. And a kid has never pulled a knife on me! Wow! It wasn't nearly as bad as what they said.
I in no means want to detract from or devalue my friend's experiences, joys, or struggles in motherhood. I know she loves me and I know the things she was telling me on Friday are the things that she wished she knew beforehand. They are her experiences and they are very valuable and meaningful to her, and so naturally, she wants to share them. It has taken me a few days, though, to "recover" and to come to the realization that my experiences will likely be very different from hers. I may struggle in totally different ways than she does. And that's okay.
If I do have sore nipples, a sleepless baby, and a husband whom I never see anymore, you can all be certain of this much- I'll be calling you for help.
I told you all yesterday that we would announce the gender of our baby today. We do know the gender and I had a perfect picture all in my head to announce it, but the weather today was beyond windy and impossible to snap a pic in. So it'll have to wait... it will likely be Wednesday when we take the picture and Thursday when the post goes up. Sorry!