Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What kind of mom will I be?

When you fight so long to become a mother, much of the time you end up shielding yourself from the realization that the end of this path means actually taking a precious little newborn home from the hospital with you. I never let myself really think about those details because I was too afraid it would never happen and the letdown would hurt way too much. I thought about it in general terms and continued to fight.

Now I'm starting to let myself realize the tangible details around bringing Sammy home with us. Please, don't get me wrong, I am beyond comprehension excited and happy. There's no other way to describe that part of it. But a new emotion is starting to be added to the bucket of elated emotions.

I'm a little scared.

I'm scared I might not do the right things, or that I might make mistakes. Will I be the kind of mother I hope to be? I am going to do the very best that I can. I know it's normal and I don't expect to be perfect, but I also know that this perfect little girl who we have prayed so hard for, well...she won't come with an instruction manual.

This emotion has brought with it the frequent reminder that my mom is no longer here. Big time. That makes me sad.  Growing up, I always pictured calling her with questions when my baby got sick, was teething, for product recommendations, or pretty much when I was all-around clueless. I feel like I would be much less lost if she were here. My dad is still here, but it's definitely not the same. I miss her and feel that emptiness amplified lately. I think about the excitement she would be having for each pregnancy milestone. I think about what it would be like to call her to tell her I'm in labor. I think about sending her baby pictures and telling her about the latest cute thing that Sammy did. My brothers and their wives each got to experience those things with her on this earth, but we didn't because infertility had different plans for us. I really hate that. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit jealous when I see families that actually have grandmas playing at the park or adult mothers and daughters spending time together. I'd better stop before the tears really start flowing.

I know I can do this, even with her on the other side. At the moment, I feel compelled to educate myself as much as I can in the conventional sense by reading books about parenting. As I always said with infertility, information is power. The more I learn about a scary subject, the more confident and better I feel. Plus, I used to babysit all of the time growing up so I know some of the basics will come back to me. But the broader parenting subjects around breastfeeding, what products to buy, sleep schedules, etc., - none of that was applicable to me as a babysitter so it's a brand new, and somewhat scary world to venture into.

I know lots of women say that they hate it when they are given unsolicited parenting advice. I'm the opposite. I'm soaking it up like a sponge. My friends who already have children have been such a help to me already in telling me all kinds of tips and tricks. I welcome any and all parenting tips. It's open season. Just lay them on me!

Thanks for letting me confess some of my fears. I wouldn't change any of this for the world. Period, end of story. I just hope I can be the kind of incredible mother my mom was to me, despite the fact that she won't be around to help me.

27 comments:

  1. You'll make mistakes, everyone does but the goal is to not beat yourself up over it :) I'm of no real help as for parenting advice but one thing I do know is no matter how you parent, you'll be a good one. Waiting for so long has guaranteed you'll love this child with every ounce of your being, and really, that's all that it comes down to!

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    1. We definitely do love her with every ounce of our being and more! ;) I appreciate your kind words!

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  2. Just about every single woman is scared about actually becoming a mom. I had that moment, suddenly finally pregnant and wait, am I ready for this? Will I be any good at this? If you care (which obviously you do) to even ask those questions, you're going to do just fine! We aren't perfect, but the love you already have for your sweet baby girl is all you need to start with!

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    1. This is reassuring! You're right though - we love her so much and that is FOR SURE! :)

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  3. I love following your blog. This may sound strange but a after friend had her baby she placed a picture of her mother in the bassinet with the newborn at the hospital. To me that picture was surreal: it shows me that although there are challenges, we have people watching over us - helping and guiding us through this walk of life. To this day, almost 2 years later, that is the one picture I remember.

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    1. Aww, this made me tear up. I am going to add a photo of my mom to my hospital bag so I can do the same thing. I'm so in love with this. She will definitely be there when Sammy makes her debut!

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  4. The scariest moment was when we left the hospital. All of a sudden, we were like, "ok, they trust us to take care of this tiny baby???" We're all clueless in a sense, but we learn as we go :) But, you'll get in your groove and you'll learn what your baby likes and dislikes, what works and what doesn't work. Everyone will come into their own parenting style whether it'd be baby centered, parent centered or somewhere in the middle. But, I'm sure if you ever have a question, people will be more than willing to share what worked for them!

    I know the baby month group was a big help because we were ALL on the same boat so we could vent, ask questions and learn from one another. The one I'm in with Caleb is still going strong after 3+ years!

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    1. I imagine we will feel the same way! You make motherhood look easy!! :)

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  5. Liz,
    You are going to be a great mom! It is so obvious from reading your blog that you are IN LOVE with little Samantha so much already. Sally Clarkson is a wonderful author and speaker on reaching your child's heart, and you can read her blog at: itakejoy.com. She loves Jesus so much and whenever I stop over to read her blog (or her books) I am a better mom afterwards.
    Kristin

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    1. You're so sweet! no doubt - we are totally smitten, head over heals IN LOVE with this little girl! I appreciate the recommendation. I will check it out!

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  6. It's kind of unexpected when you finally have the baby- shocking, actually! You spend nine months waiting and then all of sudden you are thrust into craziness. I remember being terrified the first few days after I had my son. You worry about everything: are they gaining weight?, why are they crying/sleeping/eating so much?/why aren't they crying/eating/sleeping?...it is scary but wonderful! Just prepare yourself as much as possible but enjoy every second!

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    1. I know you're right! I really worried about each of my pregnancies and I kept thinking "oh once I get to ________ milestone, I won't need to worry anymore." Then it hit me. You never stop worrying! :) Worrying is part of being a parent and I have a feeling I will do it as long as I'm alive!

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  7. Do not try to be the perfect mom. It doesn't exist. You'll make mistakes; it won't be the end of the world. It's a life-long learning process! Ask God for wisdom and guidance and take everything the "experts" say with a grain of salt. I highly recommend the book, "Parenting by the Book" by John Rosemond. Seriously, buy it now and read it over and over!

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation and kind words!

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  8. My main piece of advice is: If it's working for you and your family, do it! Forget what others are doing, forget what the "experts" (authors) tell you you should(n't) be doing. If you and your baby are happy, do it! There isn't a right and wrong way to parent a baby. There is a lot of trial and error. As long as everyone is happy / content, keep at it. What works for one family may not work for you and visa versa. Baby 411 is a great book to help with trouble shooting illnesses and such.

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    1. I hear trial and error is the way it works! Thanks for the recommendation and advice! :)

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  9. I went to Babies R Us today and started a registry; let me tell you it really drove home the fact that I have no idea what I'm doing! We just have to keep in mind that our babies won't know if we're messing up, all they'll know is that we love them and we're doing the best we can. Your mom probably felt the same way when she had you as you do now. When Sammy is older she won't remember the trial and errors from her early days, she'll only remember how incredible you were. ((hugs))

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    1. Yup! I think that's right about when this fear really started hitting - when I started on our registry! There is SO much I feel like we are 'supposed' to know, but don't. I'm sure lots of it is marketing lol! You're so sweet, and I appreciate the kind words. That really made my day! I hope all is going well with your and your two little bambinos!

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  10. Here's my tip and I think you'll like it, as you mentioned Sammy recognizing sounds. Buy a Sleep Sheep (or other white noise thing for babies) and play it to your belly every night. I usually fell asleep with mine on (they have timers to shut off). When our little one was two days old, she had her first big cry and we were useless in our attempts to calm her. I remembered that we had the Sleep Sheep in my hospital bag, so we busted it out and turned it on. She INSTANTLY calmed down and went to sleep. You could tell how comforting it was in this strange new world for her to hear a familiar sound! I've since heard similar stories from others (including from a woman who watched Cheers non-stop while on bed rest- her baby found the theme song comforting!) I know this is such a small thing, but trust me that in those early days, you will want as many tools in your parenting tool box as possible!

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    1. Brilliant! This makes complete sense to me. And lucky for us, we already have a sleep sheep that someone bought us! I love this on so many levels! Thanks for the tip!

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  11. Liz - as everyone has said - you will be a great mom! You will make mistakes and things will go wrong, but more will go right and you will figure things out. AND you will turn to friends and other relatives (and books!) and ask and research questions!!! you will be WONDERFUL!!! Love you!

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    1. You're so sweet! I know I'll be okay in the end. I may not have sisters or a mom around on this earth, but I do have people like you! :) I know there was a reason we were led to you! :) <3

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  12. The fact that you worry about being a bad mom means that you most likely won't be. Yes, mistakes will be made, but as long as you love Sammy and do your best for her, then she will have an awesome mom.

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    1. We do love her! Thank you for the kind words of reassurance.

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  13. Being a mother is the hardest job you will ever have in your life and there will be some days when you don't think you fit the bill, but having said that, being a mother is the most rewarding experience! You will do a great job! Your baby is already so blessed to have you!

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    1. Thanks for the reassurance and kind words!

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  14. I kept thinking about your request for advice and what would I say as an infertile turned mom. ;o) The biggest thing I think I have learned and am still trying to grasp, is that it is OKAY to have moments/weeks where you struggle in the chaos and unending work. I know wishing and dreaming of having kids for so long, I think I made it a fantasy that was not going to be as hard as other moms say it is. I have learned it is okay to be normal and have normal struggles and complaints even though you promised yourself you would never complain once you got your dream. I love my snowflake girls to pieces and would not change it for the world!! I just had to learn that parenting is just plain hard and unending and to realize it is ok to admit that. =) Once I did, it was a little easier to enjoy the beautiful moments amongst the fog of life... But that was just me and my experience. =) I am so excited for you and love following your journey! Can't wait to see your snowflake cutie...

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