Thursday, September 01, 2005

Some Advice for an Expectant Mother

1. Take care of yourself...They don't tell you the truth about motherhood. They tell you it's a blessing, which it is, but they don't tell you about the other side. They don't tell you how your life is never the same, how you have to fight for time to yourself, how you don't even get to pee alone. They may tell you it's hard work but that's not exactly the right description. Hard work is cleaning the toilet. Hard work is running a marathon. This is so much more than hard work. This is life altering. This is totally exhausting. This is overwhelming beyond belief. So do whatever you can to care for yourself, even if it's just a nice long bath at the end of the day. Don't just ask for it, demand it. When you have nothing left you have nothing to give those around you who demand so much. Nourish yourself daily. All the little things do add up to make a difference.

2. Be kind to yourself...Never before have I felt so powerless and inadequate. So many, many demands. Needy-ness surrounds me. It's so thick you could drown in it. And it so easy to be your own worst enemy and your own biggest critic. Most mothers live to do their best and find it hard to accept that it is a process. We tend to want perfection...I tend to want perfection. You learn something more every day. So be gentle with yourself. Let yourself have failings and then let it go. Have as much forgiveness and compassion for yourself as you do for that little one you would give your life for. And lay off the comparisons. They'll kill you. Just because you don't do something the way other mothers do doesn't mean your doing it wrong. Trust yourself. Trust the goodness of your heart. Trust your better self.

3. Be Honest...I think we isolate ourselves by focusing only on the good, the blessings, and keeping the struggle behind closed doors.. We don't talk about the nitty-gritty reality of parenthood. Maybe it's because we think we are supposed to be better at parenting then we are. The expectations for mothers are very high and we're blamed for just about everything. The guilt kills our honesty. We don't want the criticism. We don't want the "know it alls" to corner us. But honesty is the only road to the support we need to survive. I have to believe all mothers struggle immensely. It's just that not all mothers will admit it. Not all mothers will admit they think about leaving it all behind, disappearing. Not all mothers will admit they have moments they have hated motherhood. The ones who do are the smart ones. If we could break down the barriers of guilt and lies we could finally reach each other. And I believe there are millions of beautiful women waiting for us on the other side. And ask for help when you need it. Then accept the help that is offered...without shame or embarrassment.

4. It's okay to cry...and believe me you will do a lot of it. I don't think I have ever cried so much in my whole life. I cry because I'm tired. I cry because I'm overwhelmed. I cry because I miss my old life. I cry because I want so much and I can't quite get there. I cry because I'm disappointed in myself. I cry because I miss being alone with Trey. So let it out. It's cathartic. My favorite places to cry are in the tub, bubbles cradling me, my tears mixing with the water, in Trey's embrace, my mascara staining his shoulder, my tears wetting his shirt, and under the covers late at night, in the dark, where I can be alone with God.

5. Hold on to the good moments...They are few and far between so when they happen, when you create them, when they creep up on you, hold on to them. Treasure them. Lock them tightly in your heart. Sometimes that's all you'll have to carry you through, to get you to the next day. They do happen. If they didn't we'd all abandon our children before they turn two. You'll know it when it happens. It'll bring you to your knees and fill your eyes with tears. Hold them, hold them, hold them, and then face the next struggle with grace and honesty.


Blogger STEVE said...

ah! so many things to say. so many comments & questions running through my tiny little mind. BUT!
so many women reading your blog. so many women potentialy reading my comments. EXIT STAGE LEFT! (love ya)

10:36 PM  
Blogger STEVE said...

BLAM! I can not keep my foot out of my mouth! You could have saved space by saying, "You're F!@#$D! Enjoy it!". (Sorry I couldn't help it.) love steve

10:40 PM  

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