Erin is a dear friend of mine who I met a few years ago. She really is one of the best people I've met. She has such a pure heart, is extremely witty, beautiful inside and out, and has GREAT taste. Her struggle to be a mother is something that's always touched my heart. Here's her take on what being a mother means to her:
When Ashley first asked me if I would write a post about motherhood, my first thought was, “Oh my gosh! I’m in that club now!” And my second thought was, “Oh, they’ll be terribly bored.”
Because you have probably heard a lot of stories that, at least from the outside, are exactly like mine. We wanted to have a baby, we had a year of “seeing what happens,” followed by two years of “well, I guess we’re going to have to REALLY try for this,” and now we are having a baby. I’m due in September and life is so good. We learned a lot of lessons along the way and had a lot of introspective moments, and blah blah blah. Woo!
But we all know that the inside of a story is much more than just that. So hopefully by sharing something I’ve learned I can shed some new light on a familiar tale.
To me, one of the vital aspects of motherhood is being wise and having perspective on life that you can pass along to your children. And struggling for so long to BECOME a mom has given me some of that.
Here’s the thing about wanting something and not getting it—suddenly, it seems like everyone around you has what you want. It seemed like every single time I got on the internet someone was announcing their pregnancy on Facebook or a blog post. I don’t know how many times I sat at my computer and cried because it felt like everyone else was getting handed to them what I was working so hard to make happen.
I found myself feeling jealous and only focusing on what was NOT happening. But slowly something changed in me. Instead of feeling jealous for what I DIDN’T have, I learned to be grateful for what I DID. Here I was, getting to sleep 8, 9, heck, 10 if I wanted, hours every single night! And no one has pooped on me, I don’t think ever. My boobs aren’t sore, I can exercise. I can go on dates with my husband and it’s not a whole big production. Life was pretty amazing and I wasn’t even acting like it!
I realized that I would play the whole compare my life to hers game with nearly everyone around me. But then I started thinking, “If I’m doing this, maybe someone else is too. And maybe they are finding something about MY life to envy.” Because that’s the thing. You can always find something to envy about someone else’s life, and vice versa. So why don’t we all just try being jealous of OURSELVES?
I started trying to really embrace my childless life, and savor those moments that might be impossible when a baby arrives. Going to the store and wandering around aimlessly, trying on all the things. Sleeping in. So much sleeping in! And rather than be frustrated that my body wasn’t doing the thing I wanted it to, I would be so proud of it for all the other things it could do. I ran races and hiked and always tried to be so grateful that my body could do those things. Many times when my husband and I would jump in the car to go to a movie or out to dinner, or even to Costco I would think about how nice and convenient it was to just be the two of us. And we tried to always talk about how fun our life was too. I remember once we were talking and I realized that friends of ours that got married the same time
we did had just had their third child. I mentioned that to Chris, and he laughed and said, “Suckers!”
Now, obviously I was not always this way, and there were hard times. (I’m secretly kind of terrified that one of my peeps will read this and be like, “YEAH RIGHT. She cried on my shoulder over this!”) But I
really believe that having to wait for this baby taught me the most valuable lesson about jealousy and gratitude that I ever could have learned.
And I hope so badly that I can remember this time for the rest of my life. And someday when my daughter (daughter! It’s a girl! I wanted a girl so badly and here we are!) is having problems feeling jealous of other people, I can remind her of all the wonderful things about her own life to be grateful for. And most beautiful of all, I can tell her the story of waiting for her.
A year ago I was actually kind of thankful to NOT be pregnant. We had a summer full of travel, and lots of fun activities to do. And taking a break from trying was so liberating. Not having to track ovulation or worry about the calendar feels so good.
But right now, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. For years and years I have wanted my oldest child to be a girl, and she will be! My greatest hope is that I can keep up the momentum I’ve started with this whole being grateful thing, because it makes life so much better. And I am so excited to begin creating a wonderful, grateful life as a new family of three.