I know it is beyond annoying for a person without children (who haven’t been a caregiver in some other fashion either) to hear some version of “only a parent could understand” or “you’ll understand when you have kids”, but there are just some things you really don’t “get” until you yourself become a parent.
People without children (but still well within childbearing age) see the stained clothes, messy hair, bags under your eyes, house in disarray and hear about how you’d do anything for a good night sleep or how you’re counting down for a nap so you can take one too and they wonder “why should I *want* to have kids???” Us parents can sound pretty miserable at times, can’t we?
Boy they weren’t kidding when they say parenting is the toughest job you’ll ever love.
It’s been stated many times, many ways in blogs, shows & movies, but I really feel the need to share my perspective today.
Because a former high school classmate and friend lost her baby a few days ago. We aren’t that close – as in I don’t know her phone number or address, but more along the lines of friends back when and now we follow each other on Facebook. When I learned she was pregnant I was so happy for her because she’s the one who had a baby right out of high school and never had any others. I secretly commended her bravery for starting over again with a 20 year gap between kids. Her first is a boy and she was finally having a girl. She’d already picked out a name.
From her posts I can gather she was very far along in her pregnancy. Her last picture update was one of her very pregnant and sitting in a rocking chair that was gifted to her.
Then I see friends posting on her wall how shattered they are for her. Immediately I was concerned and was hoping it wasn’t what I thought it was.
I’ve been going to her wall and refreshing it every day, multiple times per day, awaiting information as it felt out of place/nosy if I posted asking what was going on.
Without knowing any details, it was confirmed for me today that she’d lost her baby girl when someone specifically commented on her wall sharing their sorrow for her loss. So unbelievably sad and my worst nightmare come true… just for someone else.
All that time, all those months… the kicks, aches, pains, soreness, indigestion, ever-expending belly and lack of sleep and the anticipation building to meet your new beautiful bundle of joy. Baby supplies bought, room decorated and all you need is your baby to come home.
That will not happen for my friend and my heart absolutely breaks for her.
I had fears of just that situation when I was pregnant at 35. I know that isn’t that “old” in this day in age, but it still felt like it to me. I was also having a girl – something I NEVER thought would happen. Everyone, including myself, expected me to have all boys. So it didn’t feel real… could I really have a little girl? I kept expecting her to be taken from me or have the doctor announce “it’s a boy” upon delivery. But no, I got her, she survived, she is healthy and she’s going to turn 2 in a few months and I couldn’t be more grateful… especially today.
Sure, you will hear me complain about the prolonged lack of sleep, my unintended 50 lb gain *after* the pregnancy, how she didn’t start actually sleeping through the night until she was 18 months old, how unbelievably hard that first year & a half was, how strong spirited she is and isn’t afraid to show you – tantrums, whining, pouting & her attempts at manipulation (already), how my house is usually a mess & that even though I constantly vacuum or sweep up, there is always crumbs somewhere or something sticky on the floor, toys never go back to where they belong, there is always laundry to do, enough dirty dishes for a family of 10, how I’m in need of either tweezing or shaving or both or that I didn’t get to take a shower while home alone with her until she was over a year old, the aggravation, the high-pitched screaming, the food issues, the teachings – repetition, repetition, repetition… and it’s only the beginning of different stages to come.
I gladly take ALL of that because I have my little girl. This is where I lose non-parents. It does seem like a lot to take, but when that’s your flesh and blood, your baby, it just doesn’t matter. You would never put up with any of that shit if it wasn’t for it being your child.
It leaves the non-parent thinking “is it worth it?” It always is, but only a parent can truly believe and know that to be true.
I think it’s only natural to complain, especially while you’re in a state of prolonged overtiredness, but to get to see that smile, hear that giggle, see her learn & grow and exert her independence… it’s truly amazing to watch and I am beyond grateful that she’s still here so that I get to do that.
So I will happily clean up the crumbs from the floor, make the snacks, restart the Elmo DVD, change the diapers, wipe the poopy butt, do the dishes, laundry, vacuum and pick up the toys today… because I have my little girl and it’s all a part of being a mom.
My thoughts & prayers for my friend today. I hope her heart can heal from her huge loss and that when she returns home, isn’t too haunted by the empty nursery.
I am blessed & grateful.