When I was pregnant with my second baby a friend asked me what I feared about having another child. Honestly, at that time, there were no fears. Only excitement. Only anticipation. Only the feelings of dreams come true.
Now we are pregnant with the third and those same feelings are still true. But there is also fear this time. Fear that I will have a newborn and slip into the deep end of exhaustion. That I-have-a-newborn-and-don’t-know-what-day-of-the-week-it-is-kind-of-tired. The kind of tired where you fear that your personality has altered and you may never reclaim yourself back from any state other than one notch shy of Zombie on the spectrum of life.
You see, I don’t make natural “good sleepers”. My children were and are still fantastic nappers. But neither learned to sleep through the night until they were 15 months old. And it was hard. Almost unbearable. For those of you who posted Facebook updates about your 1 month old sleeping 10hrs at night, I hated you just a little and might have used your name and a four letter word together in the same mental sentence.
When our daughter, Selah Grace, was about four months old I remember laying down for bed after her last breastfeeding session around 10pm and fighting back tears. I was so tired, but I knew the hardest part of the day was about to begin; that I’d be jolted awake 2, 3, 4, 5 times within the next few hours and a new day would start before I really even had a chance to rest from the one before. I think I even told my husband which song to play at my memorial service, because I was going to die from exhaustion!
When our son, Josiah, was six months old I got mono. I remember rocking and nursing him in the middle of the night while I sobbed to Husband about how tired I was and how hard it all felt. I’m not really a “cryer”. In fact, I’d categorize myself as pretty resilient and fairly stoic. But I AM a sleeper. After months of not sleeping with the overwhelming feelings of new baby and mono mixed in, I can bawl with the best of them. Again I assured my husband that he could wait a respectful amount of time and then remarry, because I was most definitely going! to! die!
As we look ahead, we are SO eager to meet this third child of ours. I am impatient about waiting to see who this child will be and how our family dynamics will change for the harder, for the better.
But this time I know how hard it all was. Is. Will be. And there is a fear I won’t be strong enough to slug through the tired. To be present and loving to all my children and Hubs by the time he comes home.
Maybe this time I’ll remember that the Holy Spirit fills us with incredible love that comes in the form of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control if I just ask and open my heart to it.
Maybe this time I’ll remember that I will not, in fact, die from tiredness – EVEN THOUGH- it will sure feel like it.
Maybe this time I’ll cut some corners for myself to make things on the home front easier. Like shaving my head instead of getting the “mommy cut”. Who knows, I still haven’t completely ruled it out yet.
And for all you other mamas out there who are in the pit of tired or are waiting for a new babes and terrified you’ll fall back in, please remember: you are not too weak to be a mother, this is hard, and you will not die. Even if you’ve already drafted your funeral details and given them to your husband because it just feels too hard to believe.
Come September I’m sure I’ll need you to remind me of these very things.
We are promised that love drives out fear. So in the meantime I’m going to look at pictures of my beautiful family and remember the mind-and-body-altering tired is worth it. It is only for a season. A family is forever.