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Monday, June 13, 2016

While We're Waiting

The questions come daily from loved ones and strangers, reminding me just how precious this little growing gift is and will be.

When are you due? 

Are you having a boy or girl?

What! Why are you waiting?

How are you able to wait? 

The baby is due in October. We don't know the gender. No, really. A few family members are skeptical, but we honestly are choosing to wait. Why and how? When asked, I give a basic answer. We think it'll be exciting to find out at birth. I don't know how we are waiting. A huge part of me wants to know, but another side of me whispers "wait." 

With my firstborn, I was anxious to have everything planned. We knew the gender as soon as possible, we picked out a name before birth, and the nursery was staged with every girly item washed and folded. The process of having a baby was new to me, and I was set on doing everything in my power to make the arrival of our sweet girl perfect.

Oh, the learning that motherhood would teach me about perfection, about waiting. Our daughter was born after 20 hours of labor. I envisioned someone handing her right to me, but instead they had to clean her up first. I'll save you the details. After what felt like hours of waiting in a dreamlike state, they brought her over to me. I didn't react the way I had imagined. You know, the movie reaction of tears and adoration and joy. Instead, I looked at her every feature, completely dumfounded that this tiny individual was my daughter-the one who kicked and hiccupped for many months inside of me.

Within several short hours, a doctor arrived and explained that she'd need to be placed under lights due to jaundice. It was important that we only take her out to feed her and change her diaper. Those days felt like my body had been ripped in two. All I wanted was to hold her close, and the emotional toll of not being able to do that those first five days frustrated me. The waiting for the jaundice to clear out of her system lasted an eternity for my exhausted, weakened, and disheartened self. I had no choice. Wait.

Every time a doctor came back saying "not yet," I held back the exasperated sobs until he exited the room. The only solace for my soul was that they didn't make me leave the room. Since we chose to nurse our baby, they used a term called "nesting," as the key for me to stay with my baby.

When they said nesting, I pictured myself as a hen I grew up raising that sat day and night on her nest, unwilling to budge, and willing to attack anything that threatened to remove her. I was that hen the first week of motherhood. Ask the rooster, my husband. I was irritable from the lack of sleep, combative when I felt threatened, and emotional and slightly crazy during every hospital hour that passed. But roosters, when a hen's eggs hatch, are protective. That was at least the case for the one I raised. He helped scratch up food for the chicks and kept the other hens from attacking the brood. He made sure that the mother hen was well taken care of over the rest of the flock. My husband-the emotionally stable one-took good care of us both, and I'm thankful.

So here we are again, expecting another child to raise and nurture, and I'm choosing to wait. Perhaps this process is to remind myself that I have the ability to choose waiting and imperfection instead of letting it overpower me. Perhaps it's to learn that waiting and imperfection are perfectly necessary within life and especially within motherhood. Perhaps I'm a little crazy for waiting, but I've come to terms with the idea that it's okay to not be okay, to not know the answer, to not have a plan, and to let mere circumstance dictate my emotions.

While we're waiting for our second to arrive, for the excitement of finding out the gender, and for the tears, adoration, and joy of new life, I've decided to share links to words that resonate with me each Monday.

Why Monday? No one really likes Mondays. The weekend has passed, and we must wait for the next weekend to arrive. Some weeks are long and painful, while others fly by. No matter the extent of your week, I hope to encourage you in the waiting.

Boy or Girl? Cast your predictions in the comments below and let's wait with anticipation together.

When You’re Weary and Waiting by Marissa Henley 

I’m No Longer Satisfied with Crumbs by Terri Fullerton 

When We’re Tempted to Take Our Kids’ Behavior Personally by Amanda Bacon

Why my kids no longer come first by Jenny Sulpizio

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