When I first found out I was pregnant with the Little Man, I thought my life as I knew it was over. In my hormone crazed mind, all my dreams were suddenly placed on the back burner, and I was no more than a receptacle for a child. Seven years and a little sanity later, to a certain extent, yeah, it was kind of like that. But really, not at all. Because while there are seasons when all I do is kids, I never stop being me, and the things that make me Marian never disappear. I might have less time for the things that once defined me, but they are not suddenly negated.
So if you're a new mom reading this (or a mom who's just had kid number two or three or four), take heart. I know having a new baby can feel overwhelming. You're stuck in a world of breastfeeding or bottles, spit up, runny poop, endless diapers, and an ever changing nap time. And you have graciously, sacrificially, lovingly set aside your own wants to care for this tiny being who is completely helpless. The days are very, very long...mostly because you never get to sleep any more so they stretch on into what was supposed to be tomorrow.
But the newborns grow up. And you will read books again and go to coffee shops and have the occasional uninterrupted conversation (though that will still be rare because hello, you have kids). You will find the time to exercise. You will go shopping (if that's your thing) and buy something other than unscented wipes and new pacifiers. You will fix your hair and do more than survival make up. You will wear jeans that fit again.
You will remember what it feels like to be you.
Not the you from before. That you has now deepened and broadened (especially around the hip area). There are parts of you that will be recognizable, aspects of your personality that will be greeted like old friends, but parts that will surprise you too. You still like running, but suddenly you have a taste for guacamole too.
This weekend I ran my first half marathon. I was surprised that my bladder nearly gave out on me--darn you, twinnancy! And that I had as much fun running it as I did. And that the sight of my children and husband cheering me on, first at mile ten and then at the finish line, about brought me to tears. But the running part felt very familiar, like getting back a piece of me that's been on hold through multiple pregnancies.
So I just wanted to say, I did it. And you can too. I don't know what's on your dream sheet. Maybe not running until you about pee your pants and your toenails want to fall off. Maybe it's going back to school. Maybe it's learning a new hobby. Maybe it's just figuring out how to do a Dutch braid. And right now you feel so overwhelmed and think that you're never going to do more than survive all the wonderful children God has given you.
Take heart. It may not be this season, but it could be the next. Our kids grow up so fast, and our bucket lists aren't going anywhere. Then again, one of the women who came in before me was pushing a running stroller with her very young baby in it and she was trucking so...some people are just super awesome and don't have to wait. You could try that route too. For the rest of us, solidarity: our bucket lists will still be there when the newborn smell has worn off.
|This is after I availed myself of the port-a-potties.|
Didn't the Man do a great job getting all the kids ready?
He even color coordinated them and got a bow in Bee's hair!