As a little girl, my mom often said, "Patience is a virtue". I kept thinking, "yeah, whatever that means". I suppose now that I am older it holds more truth as I, ironically, still struggle to be patient for God's beautiful plan and promise. The following blogs are my thoughts and trials about life's journey and the emotions of being patient in waiting for the sun to rise...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Second Time Around

I recognized quickly that this time after having a baby it's been almost seven months since I blogged.  Some of it is because having two children is WAY harder than having one and often peace and quiet come only after 9pm.  At that point, I try to talk to my husband who has just become a teammate is knocking through an epic long to do list each day.  (We rock by the way).  But it doesn't mean I am any less in love with this little man.  I think for me, this time, I am far less anxious and negatively emotional.  PPD and anxiety were more than minimal.  So while I still sit in awe watching him sleep at night, I am not so overwhelmed with constant emotion that I have write about it or I will explode.  Having two is a lot more diapers and pull ups, a higher grocery bill, but its so much more warm fuzzies and instagram worthy moments.  It's a lot of emotions but a lot of business.  Way more dishes and tantrums...  I wonder what it will be like some day to look at one another while our kids are at sleepovers with friends and were alone, in the silence, on a Friday night...  I hope he still recognizes me and likes me by then....

What is true about having two is that your heart doesn't lose love for your first, you just stretch bigger.  You just love deeper.  And what is true for Rainbow Babies like this little man is that you love them with the depth of the children you've lost along the way.  When I see a mom with three kids, I often think, and there were two chances to have a little one in between my kids.  That could have been me.  It's a fleeting thought.  A breath or a moment in time, but it catches me.  And while I don't feel necessarily called to have three kids, I know I had moments with a child that never came.  I have baby clothes for two genders and I wonder which clothes would I have used had there been another.  Yet, I look at my big big (he is giant) baby, watch his fluffy hair flow when I breath on him, watch his tiny finger squeeze my hand, listen to his little snores and grunts, and squish his chubby but wonderful little limbs and belly, and I feel like I have been given more miracles that any one woman deserves.  I have a gratitude in my heart that is deeper than when I had my first but there's this bitter sweetness to it where I am reminded just how precious babies are.  Each baby is a miracle, even if you're the most fertile couple on the planet.

I read my blogs from the last two years.  They are gut wrenchingly painful for me to read.  Not because I am sad, but because of just how sad I WAS and I did not want to admit it.  Miscarriages, infertility, loss of professional relationships, and loss of some personal relationships due to life changes and different goals, left me broken.  Broken in a way that I managed and dealt with but in a dark isolation where I chose not to let others in.  I pride myself on my strength but I realized in my darkness, I pushed so many people out.  I created high expectations for others and was frequently let down.  I was bitter about my life and in turn became bitter when others did not meet my mark.  I blew up details and catastrophized issues which created drama and hate, but it was a necessary distraction from pain.  And I look back and see that I cleaned out my bench of supporters, friends, and at times, family, because I just wanted to be alone.  I know much of it was anxiety and depression and the perception of my world and the relationships in it, but nonetheless, I see how grief takes it's toll on someone.  Again, God gave me a gift of a painful experience that I now use in the office to empathize and provide mercy to others.

Chris told me a few months ago that he fears having another child or even trying because of the hell we went through.  Like most mothers say about child birth, you forget because you love them so much that you choose to let go of that pain.  In seven months, I forgot just how painful this journey to my baby has been, my journey over the rainbow.  But the peace that I have, the joy that I experience every day, and the love I have found in my life again, is almost enough to mute the deafening audio tapes that I would tell myself during those days, weeks, months, of waiting.  In this life we all have loss, pain, and certainly uncertainty.  And we get to experience it through so many different types of mediums, but in the end, it's our journey that allows us to then climb a larger mountain or provide love to others...

I realized in the process that I only turn to God when I want something that I can't get for myself.  I turn to him to celebrate for a moment, but I only dwell with him and commune with him when I am pining for something I think I need in my life.  And I have come to feel like an entitled bratty teen who waits for  money for the movies by letting her parents bore her with a few stories.  And when I recognized this pattern in myself, outside of feeling sheepish, I really feel like there are somethings I need to change about myself.  There's some parts of myself I need to get in check so as my kids grow they don't see a shallow mother who only seeks to complete her goals without regard for others.

I really want to learn to love more deeply with joy.  I have all I have ever asked for from God.  A family who loves me, a nice home, a good job with a purpose, two beautiful kids, and enough peace and quiet spaces to take care of myself.  Now, I need to figure out what it looks like to start appreciating the team behind me.  Those people in my life who wrote letters to me, sent baby gifts, who called, who made meals for us, who showed up and just sat with me.  I think of the list of people I wanted to turn to but chose not to, the people who loved me and I did not respond (or respond well).  Because part of having a gift like a baby is being able to share the love and the joy he brings.  God healed my body, my family's bodies from diseases and cancer this year.  God did bring people into our lives to support and love us, but many days I was too broken to see their hands reaching out to me.

The second time around has been so different and wonderful that I glow.  I feel a joy in my spirit like never before and I hope that it continues to shine.  My close circles sees that peace within me and I think they are amazed just how different having my boy has been.  I now look at my kids and think of adventure and excitement rather than feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.  I see each day as a chance to show up and be wonderful.  I have deep conversations with friends who struggle with PCOS, loss, infertility, or just sadness or anxiety.   And things are really looking up.  So if you ask me like an old friend did this week, "how is it having two?" my answer is, it's wonderful.  It's amazing.  It's all I ever wanted and more.  It's kisses and cuddles.  It's days at the library.  It's snuggles in bed on Saturday.  It's everything I dreamed of for my life.  And it's all of those things because the support we had along the way to keep trying, never give up and believe that God will provide."  Along the way, a friend told me that people who truly loved us would become our tribe and the rest would weed themselves out.  And I'm finding my tribe is big and deep and wide and it's got some who are always near and some that are far but love us just the same.

I am so thankful for you, my friends, my family, my support for carrying us through.  I am so thankful for my husband who dealt with tears, lots of tears, and lots of doctor visits and co pays and crazy diets.  I am thankful for family, for therapists, for pastors who loved and prayed on us.  Thankful for my girls at work who built me up and even held me as I sobbed through joy and sorrow.  I am thankful for our church and the people in it.  I am sorry that sometimes I pull away.  I am thankful for childhood friends and college buddies who checked in and celebrated our moments, and understood when I struggled to find my joy.  I realize I have one mission... to love and to share the good news... we all have so much we've been given.  And by the way, he is a wonderful and beautiful baby who would love to meet his tribe :)

So thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this journey of being a mother of two so rewarding.  I am so glad you've been there for the ride...