As many of you know, a third sweet little one is growing inside of me. I’ve been meaning to write something about this third baby pretty much since I found out I was pregnant…but somehow the words haven’t come. With 28 weeks rapidly approaching on Monday, I thought that now was as good of a time as any to finally write about her. But to do that, I have to go back to the beginning…before this baby was even a possibility in our minds.
My kid is the cutest (or smartest or most beautiful)…you fill in the blank.
Your kid is more advanced developmentally than mine? You’re probably exaggerating.
My baby looks tiny next to yours? You must be feeding yours too much.
My baby is really chunky? Yes sir, and I’m proud of it!
I could totally blame my indigestion on the baby and no one would ever know.
I’m trying to remember why I would have put the TV remote in the fridge.
I wonder if the other mothers’ bellies look like squishy biscuit dough?
Child, you are about to make me lose my mind. But somehow I still love you anyway.
If the kids fall asleep in the car I’m totally stopping for a milkshake.
I’m pleased to announce that Baby Girl Baker finally made her grand entrance into this world!
Today I realized that I’m 19 weeks pregnant, and the only thing I’ve posted on here about it is our pregnancy announcement and one other post. It’s not that I don’t have things to talk about…life just keeps seeming to get in the way.
I’m a SAHM to one busy toddler, so how busy could I really be? The problem is that “Stay at Home Mom” is only a job description…not an accurate picture of my daily life.
A year and a half ago, my husband and his father had the opportunity to buy the business that they had been running for a number of years. That in and of itself was crazy. Six months ago we had the opportunity to buy the counterpart retail store on the square of our little town as well. Somehow, remodeling and revamping a 10,000 square foot retail space wasn’t enough…we decided to open a coffee shop AND a brick oven pizza place in part of the building as well. Add to that the fact that my husband was taking 13 college credit hours this past semester, and you start to realize that he was really rarely ever home. We hardly got to see him unless it was at the store, and we frequented it as often as we could.
Life was crazy, to say the least. I felt like a single parent many days. I even traveled on a plane alone all the way out to sunny California with my wiggling, active “lap child” toddler son because my husband was far too busy to go. I missed having family time. I missed getting to eat dinner together every night. I missed my husband.
Yet, somehow we made it out and things have slowed down considerably. Only now, I’m the one working. My husband was needing help with some office work at the plant, and I’ve been working a few hours a day to help them catch up. The rest of the day is pretty much a wash from my son being so thrown off his schedule. Its rough, to say the least.
And did I mention that I’m really, REALLY trying to stay on top of my garden this year? Yeah, life is full and crazy. Yet, somehow amidst all this craziness little Baby Baker makes his or her presence known with near constant kicks and jabs. I’m thankful for those little kicks. They make me slow down and really sit and think.
So there you have it…a little snippet of my life right now. Hopefully it won’t be too long before you hear from me again. I’m not making any promises, though. 🙂
I’ve never really had baby fever. I’ve never felt an overwhelming need to hold a newborn baby…never cried over a friend who got pregnant before me. I do remember aching for a child of my own, though…a babe to fill my arms and turn me into this mysterious creature called a “mother”.
When Miles Patrick came along, he filled my arms and my heart more full than I could ever have imagined. Almost two years later, he still does. Not once since he was born have I felt the need or craving for another baby. Yet, today another precious life is being formed within my womb.
Despite not having that aching for another baby, I knew that I wanted another child. I knew that we needed another child and that Miles needed a sibling. Let me assure you, this babe that grows within me is very much wanted. We know that he or she is a wonderful little blessing being knit together to fit perfectly into our family.
Still, I find myself dealing with guilt. The excitement I feel over this pregnancy just doesn’t match the excitement I had with my first. I don’t know how many weeks pregnant I am down to the day. Some days it takes me a minute to even remember how many weeks along I am. This pregnancy seems to fly by to the point where I wish it would slow down because I just don’t feel ready yet. I feel guilty because I didn’t, and still don’t, ache for this baby the way I did for Miles. Does that make me a bad mother, or make this baby any less wanted or cherished?
A second baby is so different from the first. I know what to expect so much better. I dread the sleepless nights and worry about breastfeeding struggles. I wonder, and for good reason, if I will be able to keep my sanity with a newborn and a toddler to care for.
Yet, I also know about the good parts. I know what it’s like to hold your newborn baby for the very first time. I know the pride you feel when your child takes their first steps, or the way your heart melts when they kiss your cheek for the first time. I also know without a doubt that each precious coo, each sweet smile, will make up for all the hard realities of motherhood.
A mother should never feel guilty for feeling differently during her second pregnancy. Knowing what’s coming does not make your love for this child any less. In truth, I may not ache for a baby to hold, but my heart does ache.
What does my heart ache for? My heart aches for the day when not just Miles, but another beloved child as well, will wake me up in the morning with tackles and eskimo kisses. It aches to watch Miles transform into a big brother, and to give his brother or sister one of his sweet, wet kisses. It aches to see one child on Daddy’s strong shoulders while the other holds his hand beside him. It aches to sit out in our backyard on a warm spring day and watch my two little ones play with our dogs. I may not ache for a baby, but I do ache for a child.
There is no guilt or shame in that.
And so to this baby due in October I say: “Precious little one, don’t let my dampened enthusiasm make you doubt my love. Instead, know that, despite knowing how hard and exhausting and draining motherhood really is, I still chose you. I may have ached for Miles…but I wanted you.”
Four days after my son was born, I bawled like a baby as I heard the little cry start again. It was 3 am, I was utterly exhausted, and this was the fourth time I had tried to lay my new son down and slip into bed. Thirty minutes later, I fell asleep with him draped across my chest…something I vowed to never do…something the pediatrician who had checked him out in the hospital had told me to never, ever do. As I slipped into sleep I cried again, feeling like a failure as a mom.
I’d always wanted to be a mother. I was pretty sure that, when the time came, I would know exactly what I was doing and that motherhood would come naturally to me. I was so wrong.
Sure, I had those amazing feelings of love you always hear about. Changing dirty diapers didn’t make me cringe a bit. Once the struggle of the first tough month was over, I even enjoyed nursing. What I wasn’t prepared for were the feelings of inadequacy and uselessness. My filthy house, dirty dishes stacked high, and inability to get one decent meal on the table made me feel completely incapable as a house wife. The fact that my son was not a “typical” newborn (as I thought he should be) made me feel out-of-control. My exhausted frustration at my son when he would scream for hours every night from colic made me feel like a terrible mom. Most of all, though, I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything all day. I struggled with feeling a sense of purpose.
I knew that taking care of my son was my purpose for this season of life, but there was a disconnect between knowing that and feeling it in my heart. I knew I was doing something very worthwhile and purposeful, but most days I felt like I was just treading water. The problem was that, deep down, I wasn’t just a milk-producing, diaper changing, baby holding robot…there was a very real and individual person just dying to be let out! The challenge in any change of seasons is finding the balance between who you are as a person and the tasks God has put before you for today.
For me, finding this balance meant two things. The first was that I had to change. I had to let go of my need for control and desire to do things the “right” way and instead be flexible and learn to be the mom my son needed…not the mom I wanted to be. Anytime God refines us, the process is far from easy and painless. There were days that I despised the new mom posting on Facebook asking for ideas of things to do because her baby was so easy and she was bored. Yet, I have come to realize that God gave me Miles with all of his out-of-the-boxness so that He could mold me and force me to let go of my controlling tendencies. He gave me a very real little individual so that He could change my individual self.
Finding the balance for me also meant fusing who I was as a person with the role of mother. Again, this isn’t an easy process. I have come to believe that, in any season or role we find ourselves in, our personality should still shine and show through. I don’t parent the same as any other mom because I am not any other mom. I am a tea-drinking, outdoor-loving, greenthumb-wannabe who loves traveling and good food. Consequently, my son spends a lot of time outdoors, is well acquainted with garden tools, has traveled more than most people will in a lifetime, and will eat just about anything…including spicy food or strong-flavored ethnic cuisine. He is his own person, but his daily life is the way it is mostly because of who I am as a person. God placed Miles in my care because He knew that the mama I am is the mama Miles needed.
As I approach my two-year anniversary of being a mother, I’ve gotten into a better groove. I have a system down for at least keeping the house manageably clean. We do eat a home-cooked meal most nights, even if it was something I stuck in the freezer two weeks ago and just dumped in the crockpot that morning. I already have long lists of freezer meals to assemble and preparations to make for whenever Baby Baker #2 decides to enter our home, knowing very keenly how needed those will be. I feel very purposeful as I order our home, chase my toddler around, and reach out to other moms in our community.
I am not the same person I was before my son was born. And yet, I am more than just a mother. I am Caitlin Baker, wife, mom, homemaker, and very real person…something that brings me very great joy.