Saturday, May 11, 2013

...but here are a thousand words anyway.

oh my, how do i begin? well, im just going to be honest. im terrified.

the very day i didn't start my period, i knew. my cycle is more dependable than the arms on a clock. but i waited a whole week hoping that i had just miscalculated and was going to start the next week.
i didn't. of course i didn't.
even on monday morning, when i had decided i was going to take a test, i didn't want to. for some reason, not knowing for certainly certain, was better than those two lines telling me the whole undeniable truth.
i felt irresponsible, i felt unprepared, i felt inadequate, i felt afraid of my own body, i felt resentment against my husband, i felt anger, i felt a whole lot of things that are better left unpublished. i felt terrified of the future. the only thing that was a comfort was the 9 month old girl i was holding in my arms, knowing that she was the end result. now all i would have to do is get through this next year and it would be ok.

(now, before you start thinking im a terrible person, and how could i be so selfish and stupid, and do you know how many women out there wish they were in your position and would be crying tears of joy instead of tears of fear and desperation, and how could you, etc etc?? well, you could go right ahead, im thinking the same things of myself too. and thats ok, im allowed to feel this way. and dont you tell me i can't!)

i had all but sworn that i would never have any more children. i just couldn't imagine it. i mean, i knew we would eventually, but would i really have gone through with it if that was the plan? the plan was to have two children (one for each hand, etc. you know) and to have them fairly close together, just get it all done with and then they would be best of friends and la di da.
then, i had willow.

my pregnancy with willow was fairly easy, with the exception of minor identity crisis issues, acid reflux so bad it nearly ate a hole in my stomach, a bruised rib and the other usual pregnancy suspects.
her birth, on the other hand, was not so easy. it was nothing like i had planned or hoped. it was a nightmare, and i don't even remember the most of it or the few days after. only pictures remind me of the first time i held her, or the first time she nursed. it was the worst (and best) day of my life. and i would really like not to have to go through that again.

for some reason, i was always under the impression that being pregnant and giving birth was the most primal and natural and instinctual and feminine thing a woman could ever do. and maybe i read/watched one to many hippie mother manuals but ARE YOU SERIOUS? i never felt more unnatural, abnormal, out of my own head, crazy lady, THIS CANNOT BE REAL LIFE, than when i was pregnant and in labour.
or maybe i just didn't get that "mom" gene that most women get. sure, i could do it, i am currently doing it. but sometimes when i remember that i am a mother, it feels like someone punched me in the gut and gave me a hug at the same time. (willow actually does do that in real life on occasion, but you know what i mean.) because its frightening! a whole life in your hands? willow is a lot more than just a cute baby. she is a life, a soul, a person, that I am responsible for. and i feel really not good at it some days. those days when i look at the clock, its only 3pm, and i wonder how in the world im going to get through the next hours until her bath and bedtime. it usually consists of a few minutes in the fetal position, lots of tears, my darling daughter mauling me like a bear, and then  comes the teensy bit of strength that could only come from above, getting us through the next few hours.
anyway, i digress. but you get what im saying right? this mom business is no piece of cake! (but a piece of cake does help, i tell you)

in conclusion: i know i have some mad hormones going on right now, and have had some pretty epic lows these past few months. and im not saying that these next 20 weeks are going to be the best either, but i DO know, that once all of this is done and dusted, and i am holding that tiny new life in my arms, all these feelings and fears are going to go right away. (and then they'll come back a day or two later, then hang out for the first few weeks when i bawl my eyes out every night at 9pm and wonder what the heck i am doing. and then come back periodically throughout the rest of my mom years, but still. you get me.) im just glad im not alone in this whole new mom thing. i have one, and soon to be two, little babes who are also new at this mom thing too. and we'll get it eventually. or maybe we won't. either way, we are learning.


  1. Jannelle, you are a sweet blessing. your honesty gives me, a pre-mom, such relief that I too can one day be this honest in my journey with my family and all that surrounds us. You are such an encourager. And by that I mean you literally implant courage in others as you share your life. I am praying for mighty big surprise blessings for you guys as you brew another babe. A sweet, sweet babe!

  2. Janelle, I think you got it just about right......the fears, inadequacies, resentments, joys, etc. What we don't realize when we start the journey of motherhood (with pregnancy) is that it is nothing less than complete sacrifice. A mother is never able to put herself ahead of her child or children. And most of the time we are ok with that, because of the joy that is part of the package, but honestly, there is a lot of sacrifice, stress, exhaustion, anxiety involved too. Even now with my youngest at 10 yrs and my oldest at 26 yrs (seven in all)I work hard to meet everyone's needs, make sure they are on the right road and even happy, and most of the time the fact that I get to be MOM to these amazing people whom I adore is enough. But there are days when its not quite enough...when I need some physical help or simply a sense of gratitude. Thankfulness will fuel my tank for many, many miles. Not that my children are ungrateful, but they are well, children, and fortunately they believe what I have always told them; that each of them are the best, smartest, most beautiful person on the planet, and therefore deserve what ever they need and want.

  3. I remember when I had my oldest I was shocked and horrified because I didn't feel instant love and happiness. I was tired, I was in pain, and I really really wanted everyone to leave me alone. But they didn't. Instead my bed was surrounded by family and staff, watching me, waiting for that moment when my face lit up and I experienced the joy of motherhood for the first time. I tried to fake it, but I was overwhelmed by my own discomfort and then the guilt for not immediately falling for this tiny, helpless creature in my arms. Within the next few hours, and days, and weeks, my love for her grew and grew, and now I couldn't imagine my life without these wonderful creatures that my husband and I created. However, I told a dear (pregnant) friend of mine about the experience. She called me after her baby was born to tell me how glad she was I had shared, and that she had (or really lacked) the same feelings when her daughter was born, and because we had talked she felt less guilt than I did. My point in this whole tirade is that it seems very few people have the sitcom pregnancy and birth, but we all feel like we should. By being brave enough to share the discomfort and the thoughts that aren't deemed "acceptable" in much of society, we spread the understanding that pregnancy and birth aren't just a series of perfect and miraculous moments (although those are there) but that there are is a lot of questioning, a lot of doubt, a lot of pain, a lot of fear, and sometimes even regret. And that's okay. It is normal. Just letting people know, especially other mothers, that those feelings occur in most of us, and that perfect isn't normal, we can remove a lot of the guilt and possible resentment that comes from thinking that you are alone, wrong, or inadequate. So thank you for sharing your story, because someone will read it and it will change their life. It will make them okay with themselves again, and help them to understand that they are not a bad person or a bad mother just because they don't have the expected experience.

  4. Jannelle, this post is amazing. I absolutely love it. Because of the fresh honesty, the raw emotion and the brutality of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. It's hard. No one has all the answers. We're all learning as we go and that's what makes this journey amazing in the end. While we're going through it, it's torture, stress, anxiety and tiresome. No one really talks about that in the beginning. They talk about all the great stuff, the amazing miracle of life and the bonding between mother and child. But no one says that when you first feel the baby kick, it's uncomfortable. It's borderline painful depending on where it happens. No one says that there is depression that follows. Not everyone experiences it but a lot of us do. I did. I can't wait to have another baby and I think that it's because after having two I face it with honesty. I didn't experience anything as traumatic as you did but for me it was heart breaking, not that miracle that everyone talks about. And it's okay. It's okay to be scared, anxious, disconnected, unhappy, angry and even resentful. It's NATURAL. Good luck and know that there is a whole team of moms walking the same road as you.

  5. Jannelle, I'm on my way out to have a Mother's Day breakfast with Nan. You're right, motherhood is both terrifying and awe inspiring all at the same time and for much of the same reason - we've procreated an eternal soul. I wish I were there to give you the breaks that you need, we all need those. I'll pray the Lord will give you those much needed respites. Once they hit 3 things get much easier for you physically and even mentally, as they are more independent and mommies little helpers. Try not to make any permanent decisions or changes in this time you are full of emotions and fears (I know it's tempting). Remember, life is fleeting - think eternal perspective. Cleave to the Lord for everything that you need and take your fear and pain to Him. He will prove that He is more than enough and, oh, so wonderfully loving and faithful. I love you, my dear, dear Jannelle. You are truly a gift from God. Daddy loves you and we're both praying for you, your marriage, and your precious little ones.

  6. love you jannelle- and I love your honesty so much. Look forward to the next time we all get to hang out again. Love you guys!! (and congratulations!!!)

  7. i thought i replied to this buy i guess i didn't. i couldn't be happier for you, and more proud of and inspired by your selflessness or more appreciative of your honesty. you are really wonderful and two babies will be so blessed to call you mama.