Todays post is written by Pamela Candelaria. She and I have become “cyber-friends” through a VBAC support group and Pamela herself has had 3 VBAC's!! Please enjoy this beautiful ode to motherhood. Thanks to Pam for letting me re-post this.
Every time I've been pregnant, I go through a period of blissful happiness, envisioning the sweet tiny newborn I'll be holding, the quiet moments we'll share during 2 a.m. feedings, the soft innocence of that new life cradled in my belly. I close my eyes and breathe deeply, and I swear I can almost smell that precious new baby, so new to the world.
And then at some point, the pregnancy becomes real. The sweetness does not go away, and I'm not unhappy, exactly, but I find myself longing for my life before. I think of all the changes this baby is going to bring- and it's number four for the love of God, not like I haven't done this before- but I think of the changes and I have some kind of premature need to reminisce about my life as a mother of three. And two. And one. And, of course, none. I think of the freedom, the spur-of-the-moment trips, the parties, the concerts, the smoking and drinking and laughing and sex and spontanaeity and overall coolness I had. I think of the career I gave up to stay home with my kids, the financial sacrifices my husband and I have made, the difficulties we've had in our relationship as we've adjusted to our roles as parents. I realize we haven't even found our groove after adding our daughter to our family, and yet we thought it was a good idea to go ahead with another baby- what were we thinking?!?
I remember when I was pregnant with #3, I had left the kids at home with my husband and was driving to the library to check out some baby name books. I was stopped at a light when a song came on the radio- I don't remember which one and I guess it doesn't matter all that much- and in the second it took me to reach for the volume knob and start turning it up, I was overwhelmed with the realization of how much my life had changed, and was about to change again. I ended up pulling into the library parking lot and sitting there in my minivan- so not my Miata- crying my eyes out because this was “me” time. Getting baby name books at the library without having both my boys with me. What had become of the woman I'd been? I felt so lost, so uncertain about the new role I had taken on. Motherhood is so much more than having a child, it is a soul-deep shift that forever changes how I view myself, and the world. Every child I have has increased my capacity for love and learning and life- but every child has taken me further and further from my life before. Every flutter I feel in my womb is a reminder that my potential is being passed down now; the future will soon enough be in their hands and not mine. One day they will exceed my ability to shelter them, and one day I will look into their faces and see all the things I used to have.
So I sat in that parking lot and cried. I cried for the woman I had been, and for the woman I am, and for the woman I will become. I went inside and got my baby name books and drove back home. I pulled into the garage, reached over, and turned the radio down so it wouldn't be too loud when I got in next time, with the boys. When I walked into my house, I was greeted by their little voices shouting “Mama!” and asking what I'd brought them.
And I realized then, as I will again soon, that my life was not over. It had really just begun.