Calm

Calm

I went down to the beach this morning. It was 5AM when I eased my pregnant bulk out of bed, dressed, and quietly left the apartment. I told David last night I was going to be doing this, that I needed some me time desperately. He asked why I didn’t just go after we put Bri to bed, and I said “I think they close the beach after dark. I don’t want time limits.”

I put on an Enya c.d. I haven’t listened to in years before I started out, and I let my mind wander where it wanted as I drove. I wasn’t sure which beach I wanted to go to, but my car kept following familiar roads on its own, and I ended up in Edmonds. I didn’t go over by the marina, but to the little diving area near the ferry docks. As early as it was, I wasn’t the first to arrive, but that was okay. There were few enough people that I could pretend I was alone.

I put on a sweatshirt and grabbed my journal and my keys and walked along until I found a good rock to sit on. I closed my eyes and listened to the water, the seagulls, and oddly, a bunch of ducks that were hanging out near me. I smelled the saltwater on the wind. I took a deep breath and held it for a minute, and then I let it go.

I let go of the frustration and stress. I let go of my impatience. I let go of the rage that has been hovering just beneath the surface the last couple of weeks, the rage I haven’t been able to find the source of. The rage that’s freaked me out and made me snap at my two year old baby girl for no good reason. The rage that prompted this uncharacteristic early morning jaunt to the beach.

I came to find my calm.

I sat there on that rock for a long time. I wrote in my journal, and I prayed, and then I just watched the water and the birds and the sky. I tried to remember the last time I had done something just for me and I couldn’t. It had been too long.

Eventually the cold wind drove me back to my van. More people were showing up as well, making the illusion of solitude harder to maintain. I sat for a bit longer, writing in my car, listening to my music, watching the early morning joggers and walkers and elderly couples. I saw the first ferry of the morning arrive. I waited for all the ferry traffic to disappear, and then decided I was ready to leave.

I drove the winding road back up the hill and stopped at  Starbucks and spoiled myself with a cheese Danish and decaf white mocha. I listened to my music and smiled as I sang along. I felt human again. I felt calm. I felt ready to be a mom and a wife and just be myself again, instead of that crazy, raging, hormonal lunatic I left behind at the beach. 

I got home about three hours after I left, and everyone was still asleep. I finished my coffee and crawled back into bed. I didn’t wake up until 1PM, bless my husband, and when I did, it was to a beautiful smiling little girl with curly blonde hair an infectious smile. “Mommy! I miss you. You get up now, okay?”

And then she disappeared again, laughing and shouting about Lady and the Tramp and playing with her dolls and would I please color with her? And for the first time in what felt like a long time, I laughed and said yes, and hurried to play with her, not to make her stop whining or because I felt obligated, but because I wanted to.

I need to remember to do stuff like this more often. I need to remember to take care of me, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too. Because when I do, I’m a better mom, a better wife, and a happier me.

Relaxed Mama

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This is Really Happening

This is Really Happening

Today, I had a midwife appointment. It was my 39 week appointment, even though I am technically not 39 weeks until about an hour from now. Technicalities. Not a big deal. Just being specific, I suppose. Anyway…I’m distracted already and I haven’t even gotten started! Everything went absolutely fine with the appointment. Baby is still head-down, her heartbeat is strong, my blood pressure is perfect, etc., etc.

I had noticed before I parked that there were no parking signs up everywhere around the birth center for a specific date (I want to say it was the 24th and 25th), so I asked about those and found out that there is a “Cruzin’ to Colby” event and they close off parking for the whole street and surrounding streets for it. Oy! How am I supposed to get to you guys if I happen to go into labor in the middle of the event?! So my midwife showed me the back door, the alleyway behind the birth center, and the parking garage that David can park in, all in the unlikely event that I go into labor on one of those two days. And I realized, all of a sudden, that I could go into labor any day now.

I’ve known this for a couple weeks. I mean, obviously! I’ve been counting the weeks and days and hours and minutes until my due date. I have joked about going into labor many times. I’ve felt that impatient feeling every mom gets at this point during her pregnancy, and cried over my clumsy, waddling, out-of-breath, uncomfortable state. I want to meet my baby. Even with all of that, however, it hadn’t really hit me that this baby could be born any day now.

Once it did, I had a mild panic attack. I sat in the drivers seat for a couple minutes before turning on the engine, and I just…panicked. I thought of how impatient I’ve felt with Briana lately, between my lack of energy and her being two and testing the limits. I thought of trying to keep up with the apartment and keeping everything tidy and how impossible that is with a small child running around.

I remembered those first few weeks after we brought Briana home as a newborn, and the crushing, frustrating, painful, horribleness that was my first attempt at breastfeeding. I remembered the postpartum depression, how isolated I felt, how I worried every second about what a horrible mother I was going to be, how I had no idea what I was doing. I remembered how much I cried those first few weeks, how, surrounded by people who loved me and wanted to help, I felt completely and utterly alone. I remember yelling at David for not doing enough, and him yelling back that every time he tried to help me I told him I could do it, and if I wanted help, I had to let him help.

I remember feeling this enormous pressure to be Supermom and do EVERYTHING myself, and when I did let people help, it was because I was literally so tired I couldn’t tell them no.

I remember the crushing guilt the time Briana was screaming for food, just before she turned three weeks old, and I felt like I was such a failure because I mixed her some formula instead of putting her to my breast.

And then, following that memory, was the memory of the look in my sleepy baby’s eyes when she finally felt full. Watching her fall asleep in my arms while I whispered to David that I was going to pump and give her my milk in a bottle from then on. The triumph of still giving her my milk even though putting her to my breast hadn’t worked out for us. Watching David’s face as he marveled in our new baby. Seeing him fall in love with this little pink bundle, and feeling my heart grow and grow and grow to make room for this new kind of love that only a parent can understand.

I remembered the morning newborn cuddles, and the first smiles, and her first belly laugh. I remembered the first time I successfully took her out by myself, and how proud and how absolutely terrified I felt every single time she learned something new. (That hasn’t changed.) I remembered crying and laughing at the same time the first time she rolled over, and bawling my eyes out and hating myself the first time she toppled over, even though she wasn’t hurt.

I sat in my car and played over my daughter’s first two and a half years of life in my mind, and I shook my head and laughed at myself.

I took a deep breath.

I’m going to have a baby any day now.

It’s going to be hard sometimes.

There will be days I will question my own sanity, and days I think I’m a terrible parent.

There will be moments when I don’t know which child needs me more in that moment, and moments when I make the wrong decision.

There will be times when I cry because I feel like there’s not enough of me to go around, and times when I feel guilty because my new baby isn’t getting the kind of one-on-one time that Briana got when she was brand new.

There will be messy rooms and dishes left undone and chicken nuggets for dinner three nights in a row.

But there is one big difference between the Jessica Mom of 2012 and the Jessica Mom of 2015.

Jessica Mom of 2015 knows how to ask for, accept, and be grateful for help.

I know now that I don’t have to be supermom, and accepting help doesn’t make me weak or make people see me as incapable. Accepting help means I will be better-rested, more focused, and less overwhelmed. Accepting help makes me nothing more or less than a human being who can’t do everything alone.

I’d say “I’ve got this.” But that would be inaccurate. “WE’ve got this.” David and I, and his parents, and my family, and our friends, and whoever else offers to help. Yes, there will be times when it’s all on me. But I’m the mom, and that’s okay. Knowing I have help? Knowing I can call my mother-in-law at 9 AM and say “I know it’s only 9, but dear Lord, I’m going crazy can we come over?” Knowing she’ll say “yes” in a heartbeat. Knowing I have a team of people, a family, right here on this train to Crazy Town with me?

Who needs to panic?

Let’s get this ball rollin’.

I’m going to have another baby.

It could happen any day.

And everything is going to be okay.

~A Very Human Mommy~

I’m ready.

I’m ready.

I am ready to bring you home little girl, in my arms instead of this gigantic baby belly that makes me so tired. I am ready to see your face and count your fingers and toes, to see whether you have as much hair as your older sister did, to kiss your little nose. I am ready to see your pretty eyes and introduce myself to you. I am ready to hold your hands in mine, to sing you a song, to hold you close.

I am ready to introduce you to your sister. I can’t wait to see her reaction to you. She loves babies, you know. I’ll try to make her give you some room, but you should expect lots of kisses and hugs. She will call you “baby sister” for a while until we can get her to say your name. I hope that’s okay. She’s very excited about you.

I’m a little nervous about having two babies to take care of, so I hope you’ll be patient with me. (Your sister isn’t really a baby anymore, but you are both my babies, and that’s just how it will always be.) Sometimes I may do the wrong thing, or cry because I’m tired and overwhelmed, or take too long to figure out what you are trying to tell me. I promise I will do my best to be a good mommy to you, and to your sister, too.

I hope you don’t mind that a lot of your stuff used to belong to your sister. We got you some new stuff, too! Your sister likes your zebra bedding. She asked if she could have it, but we told her it was for her sister. She was okay with that, but she still likes to come into our room to look at it. We decided you deserved to have some stuff that was just yours, brand new. We hope you like it, too!

Are you ready to greet the world, baby girl? It’s a big place, but don’t worry. I’m here, and so is your daddy, and your sister. We will watch out for you and keep you safe, and we already love you more than you can possibly know! (You’ve got grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and friends eagerly awaiting your arrival as well!)

I am trying to enjoy these last couple weeks when I know that you are as safe as you will ever be, all mine for just a little longer, not having to share you with anyone, well-nourished and content in there. But it’s so hard when I am feeling so impatient to meet you, officially, as it were. When we can both see each other instead of just feeling movements and wondering what in the world the other is doing.

Please let me meet you soon, baby girl. I’m so ready for you!

Ready Mama