Filed under: Pregnancy 2011

Doing It All Again

Monday, February 7th, 2011 • 2 Comments on Doing It All Again

Mary Ann Mohanraj wrote a letter to her two young children Kavya and Anand (3 and a half and 16 months, I believe), telling them about a conversation she had with some childhood friends regarding having children.  I found myself nodding at so much of what she wrote, that I wanted to share it.  Especially this passage about what parenting is like:

It is like taking on another full-time job, on top of the one you already have. And then some. You give up all control of your own life, because at every moment, your infant’s needs must come first. Research has shown that the brains of sleep-deprived parents look very much like the brains of psychotic people; you are literally crazed with lack of sleep while you are trying desperately to keep this small and fragile creature alive. Breast-feeding can be a torture for both mother and child when it doesn’t go well, and the guilt, while the hormones rush through you, can make you feel like an utter failure. Exclusively pumping for six months takes twice as much time as normal breast-feeding would, which is already an impossible amount of time. Showering becomes a luxury. Cold food is better than no food. You are at the mercy of your body and its hormones, your child and its unending needs. It is as if someone has reached in and torn a hole in your very self. The first nine months of your life, Kavya, (until you finally slept through the night) were the most intense physical, mental, and emotional gauntlet that I have ever been through, and I just put my head down and tried to survive the days. And then, Anand, we did it all again with you.

We did it all again.

Because for all the misery and difficulty, it is astonishing, being a parent. It is transformative. I imagine it must be similar to being in a war, or having a transcendental religious experience—you go through a door into another country, one you could never have envisioned. In passing through that door, you are changed forever. Admittedly, I am an experience junkie—if you asked me right now, would you like to go into a war zone? , I would want to say yes. Only the thought that I have a responsibility to my children to keep my body safe for the next seventeen years would give me pause. In my life thus far, I have chosen great risk every time, as long as there is also the possibility of great rewards. So let that frame what comes next.

Because although I would never say those words to anyone—do it. have kids.—I said it to these women, at the end of our lunch. I told them to dive into the trenches. Take the risk.

Despite the sheer terror at the thought of having to take care of an infant alone; despite the moments of utter despair that I would never sleep, eat or write again; despite the sneaking suspicion that I am utterly insane to not only have one child in my 40s but to now be pregnant with a second… I would say the same to anyone who thinks they might want children.  Do it. Take the risk.  It’s sheer exhausting, chaotic madness, but it’s also unbelievably joyful and fun. I hope, hope, hope I feel the same way when the second baby arrives… though I imagine he or she will be at least six months old before I can even put the words “joyful” and “parenting” together in the same sentence. 

Yes, it’s crazy.  But it’s a good kind of crazy.

Posted by Kristina in Pregnancy 2011, Pregnancy and Baby
 

Two Roads Diverged And I Walked Both

Monday, January 31st, 2011 • 2 Comments on Two Roads Diverged And I Walked Both

I feel as if my life took this strange and crazy detour about two years ago.  I hit 39, 40, 41… and then boom… by the time I turned 42, I was pregnant.  Of course, it was still so early in the pregnancy I didn’t really believe it was real. Not after the previous summer’s miscarriage, not after all the reading and researching I’ve done. I knew the odds were against me, I knew the statistics weren’t in my favor. So even on that 42nd birthday as I shunned alcohol and caffeine, I felt like I was playing at being pregnant. 

Oh, but what a change when I turned 43! A five month old babe in arms, I was an entirely different person in an entirely different life, it seemed.  And I reeled at how it had all happened.  Oh, I know the logistics and the biology of it all, but there I was on a very stable, solid, predictable, controllable path for so very long.  And suddenly… boom (again)… new path!  One that was less stable, not as solid, unpredictable and uncontrollable.  How, I wondered, had that happened?  My life had taken this suddenly odd turn into the twilight zone where diapers and formula were a part of my day-to-day existence.  The woman who had never previously changed a diaper in her entire life was suddenly, intimately aware of just how much one tiny diaper could hold.

I’ll turn 44 in a few short months.  I will be at the end of my second trimester, there will be no alcohol or caffeine again—though I certainly overdid it on both counts on my 43 birthday, as if I knew I’d be denied again this year! And next year… I will turn 45 and be the mother of two young children, my life a cacophony of noise and laughter, toys climbing the walls, potty training underway for Patrick, teething and crawling and all those other first year developments for his brother or sister. 

A far cry from my life at 40.

I keep thinking of the Robert Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken”:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

I feel as if I spent a good chunk of my adult life walking one path—the path of the childless woman, half of a couple with no other responsibilities or obligations—and at the age of 42, I took the other road.  In many ways, I feel lucky to have done it the way I have.  To have gotten to be the solitary writer for so long, the wife and partner for nearly 20 years, then to get to have the experience of motherhood and family, to witness the amazing developments in a child who looks so much like my husband—to see that connection between nature and nurture blossom right before my eyes. 

I don’t know where this new path will take me, but I’m glad I’ve gotten the chance to walk it.

Posted by Kristina in Life, Pregnancy 2011, Pregnancy and Baby
 

The First Picture (7w5d)

Monday, January 31st, 2011 • No Comments on The First Picture (7w5d)

It’s a little fuzzy, but if you look really close… it’s even fuzzier.  Good thing they labeled it for me. 

image

Posted by Kristina in Pregnancy 2011, Pregnancy and Baby
 

I'm a writer, editor, blogger, mama, wife and coffee lover.

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