Waiting for Baby, and a Blog Anniversary

Baby Sam's 3D Sonogram from October 31, 2013
Baby Sam’s 3D Sonogram from October 31, 2013

I am interrupting my rebirth series to record these moments: waiting to go into labor and, as WordPress has informed me, my blog’s one-year anniversary.

I haven’t blogged much about my pregnancy. I’ve kind of gone underground in the last month on the whole thing, here and on Facebook. I keep getting text messages asking, “Is he coming yet?” I have some very anxious family members who “can’t wait” until he’s here. In fact, judging by my lack of comment on the topic, they seem even more excited than I am. What gives?

Fear

One thing that has kept me from writing on the topic is fear. Baby Sam is not here yet, and labor and delivery is a risky thing. Not to mention that newborns are pretty fragile. When I used to talk about having kids, as I prefer to do with most things, I focused on cerebral concepts (parenting philosophies), not materialistic details (car seats, breast pumps, umbilical cord care, ec.). Now, with my due date less than a week away, all I can think of is the details—and I feel overwhelmed.

Yes, I’ve read a good deal on pregnancy and newborn care, and I’ve been working every day to ready my house—“nesting,” I think it’s called—but these activities have not really made me feel better. Every day lately I have been faced with the fact that I lack practice and know-how for the material details of life. I feel suddenly estranged from those things that have recently defined me—teaching, writing, leading (various church groups)—and it’s a scary feeling. Rather than burden the blogosphere with my worries, like the Virgin Mary, I decided to ponder these things in my heart. (I wonder if she worried about breaking her baby?)

Respect

Another reason I’ve avoided too much “baby talk” is out of respect for the women I know who are struggling with infertility. It seems unfair that I get to have this experience and they don’t. I feel like it’s even more unfair because I haven’t always wanted children. Some women know their entire lives that they want children, while I spent most of my twenties denying the desire. Shouldn’t the women who’ve always wanted kids be entitled to them, first? On the other hand, is it because my heart was so hard in this area that God decided I needed them (and the other ladies could go without)? (Or another thought: Was I formerly in denial?)

It’s probably not a comfort to the ladies struggling with this issue, but I make sense of their infertility like this: these ladies are already healthy in this area, this natural desire to nurture. I wasn’t. Maybe those hard-hearted of us (and overly cerebral, egg-head-ish types) need children more than the already well-adjusted, family types. I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’ve debated posting that hypothesis, scared I would offend or minimize someone’s pain. I’d be curious to get your thoughts in the comments. I don’t understand God’s ways, except I believe he allows bad things (like infertility) to happen, he doesn’t cause them.

Exhaustion

A final reason for not blogging about baby is that I’m exhausted right now. My body is exhausted from carrying the little dude, and my mind is exhausted trying to wrap itself around how my life is going to change when he comes. With limited energy, it seemed smart to use the little I had to get things ready as much as possible during these last days, materially speaking.

In Conclusion…

The Three of Us
The Three of Us

I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I am very excited for baby Sam to arrive! I recently had my first “good” dream of his birth: he was cute, had a full head of hair, and he looked like my hubby—all things I expect, after seeing our 3D sonogram. I’ve imagined holding him in my arms and I want to cry for happiness. I smile at the thought of the three of us becoming a family. I long to inhale his baby scent and feel his smooth skin. I look forward to slowing down and becoming less mechanical and more of a person. I praise God for blessing me with a baby—and I will strive to be a good steward of what God has given me.

Perhaps the most comforting thought amidst these last-minute hormones and unknowns is the knowledge that Sam isn’t really mine—he is a gift on loan from God—and God is the only one who can sustain him. It’s not up to me to be a perfect mother; I’ll just do my best to follow God’s lead.

On that note, it should be an interesting second year on this blog, full of many firsts and, I’m sure, many mistakes—but always lots of learning and growth. Here’s to one good year behind me, and an exciting year ahead!

 

The Question Every Young Couple Must Answer

Image

“When are you having kids?” my high school students always used to ask. Why they were so interested in this detail of my life I never understood—much like I didn’t understand when family members or anyone else asked. The question used to come frequently when we were first married, and then, as year after year slid by with no child, but only new feats such as a bachelor’s degree, teaching job, and master’s degree, the question all but went away, and with it, my child consciousness.

But when I got to my first semester of grad school in 2010, I had an epiphany. Sitting in class at that time as both student and teacher, I was to finally understand why students and so many others wonder that question.           

It happened one night in literary theory class, when my professor, trying to explain the infant stages of Freudian development admitted, “Well, the research says this [insert windy explanation of anal and oral stages]; but I don’t have kids, so I don’t really know firsthand.” That’s all. One comment. Then he continued his lecture on Freud. But I was stopped.

Before that night, he’d been Mr. Know-It-All.

Now, he was just a man out of touch with reality…who, perhaps, had never changed a diaper.

Image

 

(Photo from giftsfordadtobe.com)

What did my professor have? He had his books and his scholarly journals and his research (and with those, late night library visits while bedecked in baseball caps [to blend with students, he’d told us]), but what, beyond that? He didn’t have a wife. Or kids. Or religion. (Lots of grad students and professors end up losing their religion, I was also to find out.) The closest relationships he had seemed to be with us, his students. And he was great with us, very gentle and caring, and genuinely concerned for our welfare.

But in general…in general, I had to ask myself that night: Is this really the life? And more importantly, is this the life I want for myself? Do I want to be like this professor someday, standing before a class of adults (or high school kids, for that matter), in my forties or above, with no life experience to share with them, besides what I had read in books?

Image

This was a profound moment for me. I journaled at length about it the very next day. And I talked to my husband. Was I missing something here? Was I about to embark on the wrong path, this path to the PhD? What did it mean that I was having all of these questions?

Mind you, I was hardly ready to toss the birth control, quit teaching, and/or withdraw from my graduate classes. Just then I wouldn’t admit that I wanted kids. Because I wasn’t actually sure I wanted them.

But one thing I now understood: If I had kids, I would become a more interesting professor…and a more interesting person. I would become more credible. More human. And that alone was something worth considering.