Sunday, May 10, 2009

How Baby Kate Saved Me

This post is because it's my first mother's day being a mom. For anyone who didn't know, our girl was a surprise. Not unwanted, but not planned either. Jeremy and I had planned on both graduating, then me working full time for a year where ever we went for Jeremy's residency before we planned on being parents. But - SURPRISE! Five months into marriage and we were pregnant. My, how things have changed. Little Katie Bug is now 9 months old and as I was rolling around on the floor with her last night and just enjoying her laugh and her crooked 2-tooth smile all I could think was how happy I am and how much I love being her mom.

This was not always the case. Her first month I hardly remember because I was so weak from the blood loss, but those next two were really hard for me. I thought I was ready to play with kids all day, but that infant thing is something totally different. Day after night after day after night Kate and I learned how to live with each other, read each other, and love each other. Whoever says that this just comes naturally to women, I beg to differ. I think whoever spends the most time with the kids is the one who learns what works the best because you have to. I was overwhelmed remembering how many people said I'll always miss these days, they just pass too quickly, babies are so sweet, and so on, but I would be calling my mom at noon, bawling because I was finally eating breakfast, hadn't showered yet, and been up since 5:30 and had not sat down. All I wanted was for her to be quiet and go to sleep.

I started working because I had worked so hard for an RN license and didn't want to not use it. The job was great. The hospital was great and so were the people. But Katie Lou started sleeping even less at night and I began running on 4-6 hours of sleep at night in 1.5-2 hour segments. And trying to coordinate babysitters got more complicated. After a lot of prayers and pondering I quit. It felt right, I felt relieved even though I loved the job.

Once Baby Kate hit six months, something changed for me. I don't know if it's because she became more interactive or I finally caught on to some of this mom stuff and also gave myself more of a mental break with the day to day stuff, but I was much more comfortable and started having fun being a mom. Now that we're at nine months I am truly happy with this season of life.

So looking back, I can only say Katie Lou is a gift from God. I think what really made those first six months so hard was coming face to face with how self-focused I can be and not wanting to change that. (Let me preface this by saying there should be a balance in all things!) After living on my own for 8 years - working, school, mission - I thought I had life figured out. I'd lived with so many roommates, of course I'd know how to live with a family! I'd had to work out school and work schedules so of course I could manage time well. And with all my life experience I was sure I knew about patience and long suffering. Ha, ha.

Everything I thought I knew, I'd only tasted and was WAY over confident about being able to handle any of this. Kate has softened me. She's taught me I really can't have control over everything I want, but it doesn't matter. I'm not here to have control or make things work my way, but to learn how to be happy in whatever the circumstance may be. She's helped me see I need to quit feeling like I have to prove something to anyone else, or even myself sometimes, that I really should just be OK with me for who I am, not necessarily what I can do all the time. She's helped me slow down enough to really focus on our family and find joy in making home a home, not just a place to eat and sleep. She's helped me appreciate and love Jeremy even more, and my own family for that matter. She's taught me I need to ask for help more often than I do and gracefully accept it when others offer - I'm not here to accomplish everything alone. This isn't a contest to see how independent I can be, but a test to see if I will love others more than my own comfort. She's helped me draw closer to Jeremy than I ever thought I could be. She took my fear out of having a girl (well, she's not 13 yet, but at least at this stage). Our little surprise has forever changed my life and I am forever grateful that I was given this blessing of being a mother.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I love this post Jame. I love how life makes retrospect such a beautiful thing and how hard things become perfect puzzle pieces to happy things. I love Kate and that she's bringing out this new you without even knowing it. But mostly I love that you are my sister, and that you are happy. :) Oh, and I LOVE finding out that you're only going to be 8.5 hours from us instead of the originally thought and dreaded 14 hours. This is good. YAY!