I think part of the reason that I haven't written many posts lately is that I'm overwhelmed. And not in the way that you would think. I'm sure one would expect me to be overwhelmed at the thought of having a baby, the ups and downs, the unexpected, the oh-my-goodness-I-have-no-clue-what-I'm-doing-ness...but that's not really the case. It's more that I'm overwhelmed at all the thoughts I have running through my mind, things Matt and I would like to see our home and life look like as our family grows etc - and I fear that if I flesh through those thoughts out loud (so-to-speak), The Opinions will come resounding back.
You know what I mean. The Opinions. Lord knows I have plenty of them! But so does everyone else. And in few other arenas are opinions more staunch than in the area of having and raising children. I know I'll have mine. So I'm throwing myself in the pot with the rest of humanity, mind you.
As an aside, a fun observation in the sociology of delivering/handling babies is one of the, shall we say, "perks" of my job. But that's a totally separate topic, and one about which I hope to graciously write someday. Graciously being the operative word! hahaha!
Anyway, I remember when Matt and I were newly engaged, and Valentine's Day was shortly thereafter. He sent me a beautiful bouquet of roses at work...and while there were many "awwww's" and "how sweet's," I was taken aback at how many MORE were like, "Yeah, don't get used to this, because it'll stop once you're married" followed by an exchange of knowing looks. Huh. How encouraging.
It's kind of the same way now: "Yeah, well wait until you have kids....THEN ________."
I totally understand - as much as I can cognitively understand - that things will change. Radically. But that's what we WANT. We're not having a baby to gratify ourselves. We totally get - again, as much as we're able to "get it" without being in that boat yet - that God will use this child to challenge every capacity that we have. But what a glorious thing! We'll dive headlong into this, knowing full well that this is one large part in His plan for our sanctification. He's giving us this kid to raise in the fear and admonition of Himself, and I pray that we'll be faithful in diligently sowing the knowledge of the Lord into his or her heart. There will be major - MAJOR - challenges along the way, ones that we expect and others we don't. But every day of this child's life is written in His book, and his or her path is joining ours, and we'll take each day as it comes and rely completely and utterly on His grace.
But on a much more, um, basic level....holy cow, there are so many little thingies to think about and decide upon, and everyone wants to know what you think or plan to do, and in many cases, as soon as you answer, you get the "Oh, well, that's what YOU think, BUT..." response.
So, here I join the ranks of women who for centuries have felt like bumbling fools in motherhood, and I just am going to smile and decide that that's simply the way it's going to be! I won't be able to please or impress everyone (and perhaps not anyone, oh my!), and I'll have to stuff my pride every day and resolve to remember that not every move I make will wreck my child's life!
No, as you well know, we didn't find out the baby's gender. Everyone has a major opinion on that, but it's a minor and personal and inconsequential thing, so I say go for whatever you think is more fun! Personally, the most fun deliveries I attend are the ones where it's a surprise. And knowing what "it" is wouldn't really change the way I would decorate or the stuff I would buy, because what if I buy very gender-specific stuff, and then next time we have the opposite? Now I have all this pink or blue stuff, and I'm having an un-pink or un-blue person, and either I will subject them to a gender-crisis at an early age, or have to buy all new stuff. No way, man. And I like a little suspense, don't you? ;)
No, I prefer not to be induced or have a c-section, but if that's what happens, it's what happens. I admire and respect people who have lengthy birth plans and know exactly how they want each stage to be as they labor and deliver, but that's simply not me. And I know full well that the longer your birth plan, the more likely it is that it'll be trumped. I'm just sayin', that's what usually happens. It's not about what I want, it's about getting this person out safely, and if that has to happen through my nose, then that's that. I would prefer to wait to go into labor naturally (of course), because babies who are exposed to that cascade of labor hormones that naturally occur have better outcomes. Did you know, for instance - I have to be a nurse here! It's too fun! - that it's NOT the "squeezing" of the birth canal that clears the fluid out of the baby's lungs? No! It's the hormone cascade that occurs during labor that signals to the baby's body to start reabsorbing the fluid while it's on its way out. And that is one of the many reasons why so many babies who are born by elective c-section tend to have more complications. One day they're in their tub, and next thing you know they're being yanked out with no warning. Way unfair, man. Granted, if we have a breech baby or something, that's the way it is.
On the flipside, if this kid is still dangling from my rib cage and my body is refusing to start labor, I won't go too far beyond my due date. There comes a point where there can be even more complications if the baby's in for too long, and I don't want to mess around with that either.
Epidural or not? Epidurals come with their own set of risks. Laboring without one comes with its own set of risks. I like to think I'm hear-me-roar, but I'm quite certain I'm not. It will be a game-time decision.
Breast or bottle? Of course I would like to breastfeed.
But I've stood in many, many, many, manymanymanymanymany rooms next to moms whose babies would. not. breastfeed. Most people think that breastfeeding is so natural, that as soon as the baby is born, violins strike up in the background and voila!!!!-breastfeeding occurs. I'm here to say, it doesn't. If you were one of the very, VERY fortunate moms for whom this was the case, you are very, VERY fortunate indeed. But I think I've said this before:
I would rather stand dripping wet in a snowstorm chewing on broken glass while a bear gnaws on my face.....than fiddle and fiddle and fiddle with a baby who will. not. breastfeed.
This is a very flammable subject, mind you. Breast IS best. No denying that. BUT - and this is a big BUT - it simply does not work every time. It just doesn't. Everyone has different anatomy, every baby has a different shaped mouth, and sometimes, it just doesn't happen the way you really want it to and it totally stinks.
So, knowing that, if it doesn't happen the way I want, I'll formula feed and admonish myself against feeling guilty, unloving, and inadequate, as so many moms do feel when breastfeeding doesn't take off. I'm not saying that I'm the poster child for all things gone right, but I was formula fed (probably from a leaded glass bottle too!!) and I have no allergies, am bonded with my mom, rode a bike, learned to read, graduated from college with honors, and am a quite healthy adult. So it's not the end of the world!
I will work two days a week. I have awesome health insurance and we'll keep me and our kids on it. I'd love to be a stay-at-home mom, yet I know I'll look forward to the creative and intellectual and social outlet that work will be. Maybe someday we'll decide together that being a stay-at-home mom will work out best for us. Today is not that day. We're a team and together we'll do what we both need to do to keep our game going. I'm sure I'll get some flak for being a working mom (you'd be shocked at the daggers that can be lobbed at working moms, unless you've seen them firsthand), but it's a decision we're owning.
We're using cloth diapers. As exclusively as humanly possible. I know what kind I want to use, and everyone who uses cloth swears by the kind they use and it's overwhelming to get every (very kindly and well-intended) opinion. So I'm settling on what I want, and I'm owning that decision! :)
Our kids will go to public schools. At one point I just knew I was going to homeschool, and then we decided we'd really like to send our kids to Christian schools, and then we felt that as part of our vision and what we feel our calling is as we raise our family, public schools it is. I admire parents who home-school and am beyond impressed with how their children turn out - academically AND socially. Christian schools are amazing and I love the mission and purpose of a Christian education. Public schools are an arena where a family can have vast influence, and that is where we'd like to pour our energy. We might change our minds, or another opportunity will arise. But as of right now, that's our intention. And we're owning it.
My registries are kind of slim because, well, there are a lot of things that either I can't fit into my house or I know I most likely won't need. I'd rather find out I need something down the road and have to go out and buy it, than have a house filled with stuff I think I need but really don't. I feel kind of silly and slightly embarrassed as my two dinky pages print out on my Target registry...and I felt very silly and quite embarrassed when I registered at Babies R Us, and after two hours handed back my scanner and the lady looked at it, raised her eyebrows, and said, "Well, you can come back a few more times and add more stuff to it." A FEW more times? I don't have time to drive to the other side of Grand Rapids and troll the aisles for more stuff, nor do I have space in my house for more stuff!!!! I already flunked registering! *sigh*
So these are the things that overwhelm me. It kind of comes down to a fear of man, really. What if I deliver and get an epidural, will people think I'm, like, less of a woman? What if breastfeeding doesn't work out - I have friends for whom it didn't, and they get raised eyebrows and underhanded remarks as they pull out a bottle of formula...will people do that to me, too? Will people think that because I'm returning to work that we must not trust in the Lord enough to provide for all of our needs? And......argh.
I can't worry about what other people will think. I just can't! We're going to raise our children in the fear and wisdom of the Lord. That's the best I know to do. The other stuff is just....stuff. And I will own that until my dying day.