Every morning for the past month, my first thought when I wake up is when I can crawl back into bed, be it for a nap or for the night. Every morning I lay in bed and think of taking Meredith to the park knowing that feat will probably be more than I can handle. Before even getting out of bed, I am resigned to staying in our pajamas all day, watching more TV than my conscience wants to allow and eating whatever crappy, processed foods I can microwave in under a minute.
Laundry, cleaning the house, fixing dinner and calling friends seem like an insurmountable mountain. So many days it feels like sitting on the living room floor is all I have the energy for. I hate it. I hate that the things that bring me joy- like taking care of my family- feel so impossible. I hate that for Valentine's Day all I could stomach was buttered pasta and not the delicious meal Chris had planned for.
One part I do remember from my last pregnancy- the part where I wonder why God does pregnancy this way. There are so many incredible parts of pregnancy- the initial flutters and eventually the big stretches and kicks, the knowing someone is always with you, the whispering to your unborn child, the playing with pokes and prods. It's wonderful. But this part isn't. Why? Why, when all day long my senses assault me and my stomach churns and my eyes just beg to shut, can I not feel this sweet baby moving and playing inside?
This time around I have a theory. Have you read this article, To the Mother With Only One Child? Oh, this article cut me to the heart and spoke to all that I've felt. Two lines stood out to me the most and I've thought about them often over the past month: "To become a mother, I had to learn how to care about someone more than I did about myself, and that was terrible." and "You’re suffering now because you’re turning into a new woman, a woman who is never allowed to be alone." She articulated so well what I've felt so often over the past 19 months. Becoming a mother shatters your ability to live a fully selfish life. Can I still be selfish at times? Of course. But most of the time, someone else's needs come before my own. Her poopy diaper before my bathroom break. Her cut up food before my first bite. Her morning wake up, not my sleeping in. Her outdoor exploration before my watching Ellen. Some little things, some big things, but in almost all things I put her first.
So my theory with this challenging part of pregnancy is that I am once again being stretched. Once more, my heart is growing to love even more, my selfishness is being scraped away and my desire to have control over everything is redirected. A second baby is going to change life again. I know there are going to be hard days. And while I hate this stage right now and question why it has to be so hard, I think it's preparing me. It's preparing me for the days when all I can do while balancing a newborn and toddler is turn on the TV. It's preparing me for when the meals brought my neighbors stop coming and all I can do is throw a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner. It's preparing me for when I am exhausted and spit-up-covered from a rough night, but still have to face the day with two sweet little faces. It's preparing me for the constant contradiction that is motherhood- frustration, exhaustion, impatience in one moment and then in the next- absolute awe and wonder that life could possibly be so grand.
Life is grand. The blessings that are poured out over me are never ceasing and I honestly can't believe that God could be so generous to one person. So while I struggle through these days that feel so dark, I take comfort knowing that this too shall pass and that I am being prepared for some special, special days ahead.