Surprise! You’re pregnant again!
I wish I could whisper the secret code from us mamas of three in your ear to make it easier for you. But there is no secret.
The truest truth I know is this: There is no balance. Don’t let the books or mommy groups tell you otherwise. The strive for balance is a cultural catch-phrase winding families into a panicked frenzy. Don’t believe it. Chasing balance only offers you a chalice of shame.
I know it feels beyond your human capacity right now to have another baby. Caring for another soul.
Especially while your oldest is still a pint-sized person with a full grown bucket of personality and emotions.
Especially while your toddler demands being held – always – in arms and eye contact. Dimpled baby fists occasionally thumping your chest for the breastmilk run dry.
Especially while you pursue a career that whispers yes into your bones.
Especially while you’re still fighting for space to eat, rest, solo potty, simply remember who you are and how you like your eggs. Not to mention that little thing called marriage.
I know you know it’s going to be okay. But I want to repeat. I have faith in you. You can do this.
I would tell you if I can do it, anyone can. But you were there. You saw the hard and maybe that’s what’s so scary about this after all.
You knew a few months into parenting my first I went to bed crying. Nightly. Knowing I was outside of my mind tired but the hard part was just beginning as babes and I would be awake together up to ten more times before dawn.
When our second was several months old I picked up mono with a bonus coupling of hepatitis that wiped me out physically and emotionally. One illness stole the independence and non-neediness I had so adamantly co-joined to my adulthood. You sat next to me while I was a shell of tired, blank of personality and guessed at ways you could help because I was too deep in the sick and the sad to assess the need.
Then our third came and there was no time to cave up. No hibernation period. It was sprinting with vaginal stitches. You witnessed it all.
There is no secret. Life balance a farce we’ve spun too much energy into already. Alternatively, there is trusting the goodness of the Creator who has already given you an intuitive understanding of the rhythms of life.
Instead, there is embracing seasons.
Instead, there is determining what is important and hacking the rest with comically oversized scissors.
Instead, there is focusing on a goal with full-throttle, head down, shoulder thrust into the now. Breathing. Turning. Locking eyes on the next up and going again.
Instead, (and this may be the most important one) there is lowering self-expectation and raising chaos tolerance.
It is not easy but it is good. I can’t wait to watch you experience that self-offering of grace even as your third curls close, heartbeat to heartbeat, the main things become the main things, and everything else shakes away.
It will be an undoing of sorts, but it is not to be feared.
You’re going to be amazing!
From this mama of three to you, new mama, of three!