Well, here I sit five weeks later. We are slowly sinking into some kind of familial rhythm again and it feels great. We have not yet accomplished sleeping through the night, but this time around, I have more confidence in our method that has worked twice before. I am not completely plagued by “if” it will happen, and trying more and more to let go of the when. I know it’s coming.
We are less stressed overall. Tired, but less overwhelmed, surprisingly.
I remember just over a year ago when Luke and my constant conversation surrounded whether or not to “go for the third.” We had a tally of yes’s and no’s (that I kept and will make it into Quinton’s baby book..te he). No won out then. We were over thinking it. Clearly yes won out in when we lived abroad.
I think we convince ourselves that whatever choices we make, it is always the best and “right” decision. It’s one of those wonderful human defense mechanisms. So to say it was the right decision sounds trite. Of course I think it was. I would have thought the same had we stuck with two.
My first time through pregnancy and after was so completely about me. Do I want a boy or a girl? How much weight was I gaining? How will I decorate the nursery to fit my style? What kind of mom will I be? What does this mean for my career? And then how will I get back to me? My sense of self…my body…my routines…my relationship with my husband. Me me me me me.
This time, I bring a different me to the experience of motherhood. Now, in the space that held fear of what will be, there is confidence in what can be. As I see my baby girl go off to kindergarten…as I see my first born son making his first friends independent of his sister…I suddenly care less and less about those things that used to matter so much to me. This time with littles is so incredibly and devastatingly fleeting. This time will fade and I will always come back to me. The thought simultaneously elevates, and guts me.
Watching Cora run to line up in the morning and not look back when the bell rings…seeing her dash around the playground with her friends at her school carnival and hearing her laugh and make nonsense jokes with them that only a five year old would understand fills me in a way that my own self-absorption never could. Only I didn’t know it then. To care about someone else so completely and to see them happy is the most satisfying part of life, I am learning.
So, today I cherish the gift of motherhood. The opportunity to be pregnant and have small children is such a small window of a woman’s life. As I see my own window closing, I feel lucky to get to go through it once more.
Having Quinton reminds me of how deeply I loved my other babies when they were small, how deeply I love them now, and how much things will change in just one year’s time. Quinton reminds me that what at times can feel like such a burden is an incredible opportunity for self-understanding and reflection, so long as I choose to let it be so.