The challenges of pregnancy to sleepless nights4
Many of us learned as teenagers either from parents, peers or our schools about birth control and how NOT to get pregnant. I assumed because of this message that when the time was right, that getting pregnant would be easy. It never crossed my mind at 28 that this could be a challenge. I did get pregnant within a few months and found out right away but 10 weeks later, I had a miscarriage and I was devastated.
Overnight I realized that getting pregnant and having a child is a gift and not one that everyone gets to enjoy. I also found out at that time how common miscarriages are. Friends and co-workers came out of the woodwork and shared their stories with me. The support was wonderful but what amazed me was how little miscarriages and fertility issues are talked about until you are going through the experience yourself. I was fortunate because six months later I got pregnant with twins and four years later, I had one more child.
This has not been the case for many of my friends. I have watched so many couples invest time, money and their hearts into getting pregnant. Some with positive results and others without. It is no longer a romantic notion but rather a long commitment involving hormone injections, medication, weekly doctor visits and with no guarantee. Many couples will go through this emotional roller coaster alone so they do not have to answer the constant question “are you pregnant yet?“. I admire the commitment and the risk that these couples enter into this process and as a friend, I only wish I could do something to help create a positive outcome.
Each year I think I am truly over wanting another baby especially with all of the teen attitude in our house but then someone close to me has a newborn and I think…hmmm… should we? I don’t think I realized when my girls were infants how quickly this time would go. I thought my girls would be babies forever when I was in the newborn stage and then it seems like overnight they became teenagers. I loved the first few months and the innocence that comes with it. I think I enjoyed it even more the second time around because I was able to relax and not call the doctor for every minor issue.
One of the things I did not appreciate enough at the time was that, despite being overwhelmed by all of the laundry, feedings, nap schedules and diaper changing, there is also a calmness at that time that goes away as your kids get older. I loved my mommy groups and the time we all had together to support one another during this phase of our lives.
It seems that as our kids get older, we spend more time racing from activity to activity and there is less time to just sit and play. Most days, it is an effort to get our kids to want to spend time with us. I think they find homework more appealing than going to a movie with mom or dad. They think they have everything figured out but then I get those special moments where they still want to cuddle before bed and talk about friends and boys and school and their highs and their lows and I cherish this time knowing that these days it all changes in an instant.
I picked up the journal the other day that I started when my children were born (it had a layer of dust since it has been at least 10 years since it was touched) because I was feeling frustrated with this teen stage we are now in and I wanted to reflect on some of the memories with them as babies. What I found was that their personalities are still very much the same, the difference though is that as toddlers, some of these behaviors that now drive me crazy were at one time cute and funny.
Although my daughters are all taller than me, those instincts to want to protect my children only grow stronger as they get older as I watch them navigating the ups and downs of life. I have learned that those mama bear instincts that set in the minute they were placed in my arms at the hospital will probably continue through adulthood.
Parenting is such an amazing, incredible and unpredictable experience that lasts a lifetime.