Posts tagged ‘Pregnancy’

November 18, 2011

The Glory of Autumn

Entirely because it’s my only experience, it seems to me that autumn is the best time to have a baby, at least in this hemisphere. You’re not pregnant enough the winter before to need a maternity coat. You can get away with flip flops and dresses when you feel enormous in the summer. And after the baby’s born, when you feel like you just want to stay inside all day in yoga pants, you can, because it’s getting cold out, and you wouldn’t want to get the baby sick, now would you?

I’m sure whenever I had my first baby would seem to me to be the best time to do it. But I do have one more reason why autumn (technically the last day of summer) is the best: because a year later, when your little one has just learned to walk, you can take pictures like these:

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September 16, 2011

Girl, You Huge

Yesterday was the anniversary of my due date with Jacob.  I’m not sure if there’s a word for that, but there it is.


It’s incredible how much we’ve learned about this little guy over the last year.  Twelve months ago, we didn’t even know Jacob was a Jacob, and not a Sarah, although I had a hunch.  Now we know he’s a kind of accidental vegan (no eggs, no dairy) who loves meat, blueberries, and headbutts as a sign of affection.  Who would have guessed?


Because I’ve had his entire birthday celebration planned for about three months—from his gift to the party menu, down to what he, John, and I will wear—this last week or so I’ve had plenty of opportunity to reflect on where I was this time last year.  My mom does this around my birthday, too.  She’ll tell me about when she knew I was coming, what my dad’s reaction was, how she took out the trash and gave my brother a bath before going to the hospital, and then how I was born early the next morning.  I love that story.  And a birthday needs to be celebrated, so best to start early, right?


A couple of close friends have had babies this year, so I’ve relived my delivery story enough for the time being.  Instead, I’ve been happily reflecting on how huge I was last year.  Sure, I appreciated when people said it was all in the front, and you couldn’t even tell from behind (which is not helpful in getting a seat on the subway, FYI), but let’s be honest.  I was huge.


Considering Jacob was nine pounds, three ounces, and twenty-two inches long, this isn’t really that startling anymore.  Except it kind of is.  Apart from the few stretch marks—and the child, of course—now there is very little about me physically that shows I am a mother.  Whenever I go out by myself, I walk down the street thinking, most of these people probably wouldn’t guess I’m a mom.  Most people probably wouldn’t guess I’m married either, but that’s a story for another day.


If you’ve seen Madagascar 2, you know the scene in which the sweet lady hippo, Gloria, is being wooed by Moto Moto, a male hippo whose name means “Hot Hot”—“The name’s so nice, you say it twice!” he says.  Honestly, the Madagascar movies are not my favorites (sorry, Michael).  But this scene cracks me up.


So Moto Moto, a shallow, suave dude lookin’ for a lady is into Gloria.  Because they’re hippos, his way of complimenting her is to tell her she’s big.  The first thing he says to her is, “Goodness, girl. You huge!” She’s flattered, but asks what else he likes about her.  He comes up with a couple more ways to expound upon her girth, but that’s it.  She sees him for what he is, and as she should, she leaves.  I like this scene for its recognition that whether the compliment is based on girth or slenderness, there’s more to a person than that. Well played, Gloria.


In the meantime, while we’re not being serious, and when my hands and feet were so swollen my rings and shoes didn’t fit, we had all these great lines about giant women to make me laugh.  For the record, these lines may only be applied to a pregnant woman by herself or, in my case, by a husband with express permission.


“Okay, so … what is it about me that you find so interesting?” Gloria asks.

“Well, you are the most plumpin’est girl I ever met.”

“Okay. Other than that.”

“Let’s see. Yeah, well … well, you know, you chunky!”

“… Right.”

“Uh … My gosh. Girl, you huge.”

“You said that.”

“Oh. Yeah, that’s right. We don’t have to talk no more.”


Now, all I can think is, gosh, I was huge.  And now that I’m back in my old jeans, I can clearly see what a blessing it was.


September 7, 2011

My Motherhood Birthday

As firmly as I am convinced that pregnancy is as valid an experience of motherhood as care giving post-delivery, I find myself looking back on this last almost-year with Jacob and thinking the journey really began when we saw him face-to-face.


Every day has its ups and downs, and every day has its inevitable surprises, but I can safely say that things have gotten progressively easier over time.  This has less to do with the number of diapers being changed or even how many allergy screenings came back positive.  It has much more to do with how I’ve grown as a mother and as a woman since the doctor showed me a pair of slightly purple feet and told me I had a “beautiful baby boy.”  (And to think, I never even mentioned my appreciation for well-used alliteration.)


Recently a great friend from college met Jacob for the first time. Annie is one of the most thoughtful, most reflective, most intelligent, and kindest people I know. I love having some time to sit down and talk with her. At this meeting—as was to be expected—she asked me something that really got me to think.  She asked what I’d been surprised to learn about myself since I’d become a mother.


My first response was how agile I am with my feet, or rather my toes.  There have been times when I’ve had Jacob in my arms—best when he’s a naked, just-out-of-the-bath Jacob—and needed something off the floor, seeing as most of our lives take place there these days.  Bending down can be complicated, so I’ve learned to pick things up with my toes.  Sometimes I feel like a circus act, but whatever gets the job done!


I gave Annie my answer and we got to talking about something else (I think it was how strangely spaced my toes are, making them apt for retrieving items but also what some might consider good evidence for human evolution from monkeys).  A few minutes later, a less humorous, but more honest answer appealed to me.  I told Annie and the two other girls with us that I’d learned I am not as selfless and charitable as I thought I was.


Just like Jesus says (surprise, surprise), it’s easy to be kind to people you like, in easy situations, and when you’re feeling good. But when you’re exhausted, confused and stressed, and it’s the middle of the night, even when you are only with your best friend/husband and your brand new baby boy, it can be hard to respond to what’s asked of you with love.


I’ve learned how valuable adequate sleep is for me, and not to attempt to make life decisions at four am.  John and I have both learned when it’s most important for him to help me out and in what ways.   I’m certainly not finished learning about myself yet. There’s still a long way to go, but this is a start.


In this past year, I’ve really started to understand what it means that, “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10).  Thanks in large part to Your Vocation of Love by Agnes Penny, I’ve learned to look at the moments I want to explode, yell, cry, or curl up in a ball and disappear as opportunities to serve God.  Those moments when it feels almost impossible to love are the ones that really matter.  So now I am grateful for those moments.  While I can’t say I respond perfectly every time, I am trying.  And for right now, that’s enough.


Motherhood has changed me for the better in ways no other experience could hold a candle to. As we approach Jacob’s birthday, I kind of feel like it’s my own—the anniversary of my birth as a mother.  And that is certainly something worth celebrating.

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