she held the moon, the way she held her own heart-
as if its light was the only thing
that could guide her
through the darkest night.
Uncomfortably Honest Truth: Losing and Gaining in Motherhood
September 7, 2018
The losing and gaining that first comes to your mind is probably the obvious one, weight.
While true, this is more so about friends.
Friends and Motherhood are a rare combo- if you have mom friends consider yourself hashtag blessed in so many ways.
Motherhood came into my life like a hurricane, little warning or time to prep and then we got hit with the first round of the crazy storm- our firstborn. The long sleepless nights. The worry, about everything because it's all SO new that what isn't there to worry about right?
But then the real storm came when we found out we were pregnant AGAIN, and our firstborn was only 3 months old. Twelve weeks old...can you imagine?
What a crazy concept for a first time mom to try to wrap her head around.
Just had a baby. He's only 53months old.
And you're pregnant, again.
I felt like I was climbing a mountain and just finally had my bearings.I could juggle the feedings and diapers and went out a few times just him and I. But then our whole world was rocked when #2 decided to make her way into the world. After doing the math that the two babes would be LESS THAN ONE YEAR APART, I was stunned. I had never met anyone with kids that close in age, ever. I hadn't read about families like that, I was in panic mode, how would we survive?
I knew we would be different, that we would be that family. And that made me feel all kinds of things... embarrassed, ashamed, shy, overwhelmed, anxious, helpless, and happy was in there too but with all those other heavy feelings on top it was hard to remember to be happy.
It didn't help that when we told family and co-workers that we were met with responses like,"What!" and "Again?!" and "OMG why so soon?" and my favorite, the condescending ones like "get a TV" or "Don't you know how that happens?!"-like we had planned this or like we were complete morons with no knowledge of the human reproductive process.
Not one person replied to us with pure excitement or joy for our growing family.
So I spent the first few months in silence not telling a soul.
We told our families at 12 weeks along, we were met with varying degrees of rude and condescending responses but kept our heads high although our spirits were low.
When I told my employers I felt like I was going to have an anxiety attack, I waited until I was 20 weeks along and well versed in HR policy so I could fight back if needed.
The HR manager just sat shocked when I told her. I watched her face change while I sat across from her. She forced a smile and muttered a "wow...okay...again."
I then I had to go tell my managers who had a similar response, I'm 99% sure that she called down and told them before I got to their office, since they seemed overly prepared to discuss my due date and maternity leave dates.
I went along not feeling so hot about being pregnant, as everyone told me, AGAIN.
I became paranoid and embarrassed to go out with my growing stomach while pushing a baby in stroller too, what would people think? Would they say something to me? Or just whisper and stare?
Usually it was the later mixed with a pity smile.
This lasted until one day I was at work and my whole entire perspective about this changed after a chance encounter with a customer. Luckily customers didn't know I had a newborn babe at home so they were kind to the pregnant lady and after chatting with them about cosmetics, then I could decide if I wanted to disclose my crazy Irish twin situation to them.
On a whim, after meeting a sweet older lady who told me about her grown children, I told her about my baby at home and how I was due soon with another, making them less than a year apart in age.
Then a miracle happened:
Unlike the countless others who I relayed this same information to, she didn't grimace or wince at my sentence. She smiled, a real, deep, genuine smile at me. Her blue eyes twinkled as they looked into my deep brown ones clouded with so many overwhelming feelings. It was like she could see into me and knew that I really needed someone to be kind. To be gentle with me. To not judge or make fun.
And her simple reply honestly changed my whole life in that one moment.
She told me without hesitation as she took my hand into hers, "EVERY child is a gift from God. Every child has a place and a purpose here on Earth. You were blessed, not once but twice this year! God must know that this meant for you, you are so lucky. Some women wish for one baby and you have been blessed with two! I am so happy for you dear, you must be a wonderful mother if He is willingly sending you another angel so soon. You were made for this. Congratulations."
I can't imagine how my face must have looked in that moment.
I stood there without words as tears filled my eyes
I'm sure my mouth hung open in awe of such kindness.
When you're use to friends, family, coworkers, and strangers all laughing or making fun or the "Wow" comment coupled with the judgmental stare, a sweet message like that is truly life altering.
She changed my lens in which I viewed my life completely, refocusing it from shame to pride in that one instant.
I couldn't find words as I watched her collect her shopping bag, pat me on shoulder as to offer me additional physical reassurance in case her verbal gift hadn't been enough, and walk out the south store exit and disappear into the parking lot.
I wasn't sure what to do.
I wanted to run after her and hug her and thank her profusely for the insight that she had just gifted me with, but I was also very pregnant in the midst of a hot summer day, and before I could even truly process all that had just transpired anther customer appeared and I had to get back to work.
I wish I knew that woman's name so I could thank her for that day, for giving the pep talk I so desperately needed and had been searching for.
She was an angel, a subtle light and gentle kindness seemed to just seep out of her, and I was able to glean a bit of it that day.
I don't remember much about the rest of the days I spent working full time after that woman spoke that truth into me (I stayed working until 3 weeks before giving birth), but I do remember that I told every single customer I helped after that my story about being pregnant, yet again, with PRIDE.
She helped me turn my shame into a badge of honor, one that I still wear proudly.
Now I tell anyone and everyone I meet with extreme pride that I am an Irish Twin mom, it's in my social media bios and often the first thing I tell a new mom friend.
MY kids are ONLY 10 months apart...I mean, what's your super power?
My wish for you all would be to take your shame around whatever issues your family has, and believe me we ALL have them, and reclaim them. Wear them proudly as a badge of honor, because amidst adversity you overcame, and that my friends is something to scream from the mountain tops to everyone down below!