Feeling Grateful and Gracious

 

What a year, and what a summer!  Overwhelming, muddled at times, yet still with so much joy and so many blessings; so many opportunities for discernment.  You may have caught part of my musings of all this  in the post “Gaining Clarity”, but something I kept coming back to again and again this summer is this idea of feeling grateful and being gracious no matter where we find ourselves.  What an important and challenging thing to work on for ourselves,and for our children to see.

 

It can be easy to feel grateful when things are going well, and so much easier to be kind and gracious in those circumstances. However, how much more important is it for us to be able to see our times of more turbulence, whether outward or inward, as opportunities to express our gratitude and to show others how gracious we can be? Continue reading

Our Final Post of “Growing Into Motherhood”–Cathy’s Story

 

This is the very last story in our series of long-time readers’ journeys into motherhood.  They have really been wonderful to read and ponder, and this last story is no exception.  I love this idea of “conscious incompetence” that Cathy writes about.  Please do read and enjoy!  Here is her story for your inspiration: Continue reading

“Growing Into Motherhood”–Sarah’s Story

 

This is one of the final two stories in this series:   a different Sarah than the last post, and another wonderful journey!   Here is Sarah’s story for your inspiration, consideration and thought:

 

Growing into Young Motherhood

 

Almost nine years ago I began my journey through motherhood. I was 21 years old, still in university and had been married for two whole weeks when I found out I was expecting an unexpected honeymoon baby.

 

I was shocked and scared and really stressed out and remained that way for the next nine months. I tried to convince myself that nothing much would change….I’d always wanted children and even if this was a lot earlier than I’d planned and since I was under a lot of pressure from family and friends to “get my life back on track” after the baby was born I figured that is what I’d have to do.

 

Deep down I didn’t think it was going to be that simple. I had always wanted to be home with my children when they were little and the thought of signing a baby up for daycare at 3 months old while I went back to school felt wrong to me.

 

It turns out my daughter Sophia, now 8, agreed. A stressful pregnancy and a difficult birth had led to a little baby who had a very, very hard time adjusting to the life in the outside world. We used to joke that she had only come with two settings…nursing and screaming…only it didn’t feel like a joke. My husband and I got a crash course in attachment parenting from our newborn even though we had never heard of it. We held her all the time. She would only sleep more than 20 minutes if she was on one of us and all our attempts at bottles and soothers and the crib were for nought. My plan to nurse for two weeks went out the window….it was the only thing that went right it seemed. Soon my plan for full time school changed to part time, then to one course then to maybe next year. Continue reading

“Growing Into Motherhood”–The Story of Sarah S

 

I have just three very special stories of the journey into motherhood left for you.  This one is important to my heart as it details the extra joys and challenges of growing into motherhood when one’s child is born prematurely (and any of you who have been reading this blog for some time know the heart I have for families who have premature babies and why!).  Without further ado, here is the story of Sarah S for your inspiration in parenting and life:

 

I have always been a planner. When my husband and I wanted to start a family I hoped that we would be able to coincide our little one’s arrival with my summer vacation (as I worked with the Head Start program which follows our school district schedule). This would enable me to spend the summer plus an additional 3 months) at home. I felt good about being able to spend hopefully 5-6 months with our child before returning to work. I hoped that at some point I would be able to stay home (perhaps after the birth of another child in the future).

 

Getting pregnant was the easy part. The rest of the pregnancy could be described as eventful, nerve wracking and lastly, horrible. It pains me in a way to describe it as such, but it is the honest, if brutal truth. At first there were a few common issues that often do not interfere with a healthy pregnancy. But as the pregnancy progressed so did the problems – growth scans were ordered, frequent ultrasounds. We began to dread ultrasounds, which had once been such a cause for excitement and wonder were now a source of fear and anxiety, “What would they find next…”

 

At one point we met with one of the perinatologists (who was not our usual provider) and left that appointment with paperwork in hand about suspected skeletal dysplasia. When asked for more time to meet with the doctor (after meeting with the geneticist) we were hastily told by her that she had a schedule to keep and could not fall behind. This was a small breaking point for us. The next day after that dreadful appointment with the guest perinatologist my fluid started leaking or so I thought. Back to the doctors, then Labor and Delivery – four visits in 3 days overall. All said that the baby was low resting on my bladder; there was no rupture of membranes. I called my usual perinatologist and he disputed the “skeletal dysplasia” suspicion, he felt the baby was just small (basing this on my stature, I am 5’1”). He was calm and reassuring, but scheduled me for a two week follow-up. In the interim I continued working, had a wonderful visit from my mom and trusted my doctors. This is my one regret – I should have walked everyday into the doctor’s office and asked to be examined, I truly felt that this all couldn’t be normal.

 

At this next appointment I was 24.5 weeks pregnant. The ultrasound lasted for about one minute before the technician left the room to speak with the doctor. At this point our panic has skyrocketed. The doctor (our perinatologist) entered the room and told us that I had little fluid due to PROM (premature rupture of membrane). He told us he was sending us to the University Hospital in the nearest city (about 30 minutes away) to be admitted. WHAT? We teetered between anger, betrayal, frustration and despair. This whole appointment felt surreal.   I remember the next minutes thinking about Monopoly and that card where you cannot pass go, cannot collect $200 – you have to go straight to jail. I know a weird analogy, but I could not go back to work to closeout any current projects, I could not go home to collect my things. It was not that the hospital was jail, but what was shocking was the absolute loss of control and any sense of normalcy. Thankfully I do remember the kindness and gentleness of my doctor as this new plan unfolded and he promised to meet us at the hospital at the end of the day.

 

Within an hour we were being admitted to the University Hospital on indefinite bedrest. What would follow was two weeks of lying in bed with ridiculous “moonboots” as I called them to help prevent blood clots. I had frequent monitoring sometimes in my hospital room and sometimes on the Labor and Delivery Floor. The irony of it all is that this “antepartum” group that I was a member of (although I never met any of these other ladies) shared the same floor as the “postpartum” group. The hospital did their best to keep “us” from being to near the newly expanded celebrating families but we often heard the jubilant gatherings of new moms, dads, aunts, uncles and grandparents. The nurses were kind and wonderful and we started a calendar countdown with the hope of getting to at least 32 weeks.

 

The emotions of this experience were such a range of both positive and negative. Continue reading

“Growing Into Motherhood”–Adrie’s Story

 

I have just a few very special mothering journeys to share with you this week, and so I hope you enjoy this lovely piece by long-time reader Adrie.  Her story is here for your parenting inspiration:

 

 

 

Growing Into Motherhood

Before I became a mother, I thought that I was a patient person.  Along with so many other things, I spent the first few years of my daughter’s life learning just how impatient I actually am.  Patience doesn’t just mean waiting for our child to pull on their own shoes when we really need to get somewhere.  Patience means being willing to allow our children – and perhaps most importantly, ourselves – a lot of time and space to become who we are. 

 

We live in the midst of a strange paradox.  Most people with skilled jobs spend years going to school, practicing specific skills, and apprenticing or interning with experienced elders before actually starting their work.  Parents are created almost instantly, and we expect ourselves (and our society expects us) to be skilled right from the start.  Continue reading

“Growing Into Motherhood”–Michele’s Story

I bring to you today our fifth story of one mother’s journey into motherhood.  I love Michele’s story, her candor, her experiences and I love her last little story about her oldest son at the end of this piece.  I hope you find her words inspiring and this brings you joy.  Here is her story:

 My parenting, had it been what I thought it should be twenty years ago, would have me in an asylum most likely, because I grew up with the typical household that yells. My parents expected what they expected, didn’t always teach it first, and at times, not at all. They loved us, they cared for us, they just did it the way their parents did it. Continue reading

“Growing Into Motherhood”–Emily’s Story

 

For your inspiration today we have Emily’s story, tracing her journey in parenting, homeschooling and Judaism.  I am so pleased to bring it to you and hope you find joy in her words as I did.  Here is her story for you: 

A Mother’s Experience Growing into Motherhood – Emily Milikow

In my earlier years as a mother, when my husband would leave for work, I often felt envious as I watched him head out the door, into the world of relative freedom.  At other times, my thoughts would drift into the clouds as I found myself dreaming of sitting at a quiet office desk with the morning paper and a cup of coffee (which, in reality, was an anxiety-ridden experience when I actually had this !).

Now, when my husband leaves for work, I instead feel guilty that I get to stay home with the kids, knowing that we’ll have a day filled with play, art, cooking and gardening.
The change has come about ever so slowly and I’m still changing every day, evolving into the mother I want to be. Continue reading