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~