Saturday, July 2

Rule #1

The thing about having #3 so close to having Caroline is that my body hasn't quite bounced back.  For instance, I still have those wispy little bangs from where my hair fell out.  They are now of a more normal length, but that's almost kind of worse because it looks like they are intentional.  Which they are not.  I do not look good with bangs.

The other thing is that now, at exactly 12 weeks, I am already dipping into the maternity clothes.  That pooch that eventually lessens (does it ever go away??) hadn't really gotten all that "less" yet.

When I was pregnant with Jonah, Josh and I went to Edisto Island with the youth group from the church we had attended in Johnson City, TN.  They were helping a small congregation with a building project.  I was 6 months pregnant so I spent my time cooking and shopping (for groceries) and doing other things along those lines.  In the evening all the girls would come back and they would shower, go to the beach and sit around talking.  One of the girls asked me something along the lines of, "Has your body changed much?"

Even at 6 months with my first one I laughed.  I told her that I was pretty sure that my body wouldn't ever be the same again.  And I was okay with it.  My belly was stretching and there were the red lines running down my abdomen to prove it.  My balance was all off, and I got tired very easily.  Someone else had taken up residency in my body, and now I had to share it until they decided to leave.

The funny thing is that I learned more about my body from their presences than I ever would have thought possible.  I carried Jonah high and I carried Caroline low, and either way I was suddenly more aware of everything.  More aware of what I eat and drink and how I stand or sit.  If I slouched I'd get an elbow in the bladder or heartburn.

The loss of my own bodily autonomy (to some extent) has made me more aware of myself physically and emotionally.  My needs and actions are sometimes contrary to their desires and the result can be difficult to deal with at first.  it is the first step to motherhood, though.  It is the first rule, being applied so that you will never forget it.

Rule #1: Your needs and desires will have to come second.

This rule isn't absolute, and it fades away when they get older, but I can still see my mother living this fundamental rule when she drops everything to fly off to North Carolina or Tennessee to help my sisters, or when she spends time with my children so I can work, or when I can see the conflict on her face because she cannot be in two places at once.

When I was pregnant it was easy to get this rule.  Don't drink cokes, it will give you heartburn.  Don't slouch, Jonah will kick you in the side.  Eat regularly.  Learn how to give birth.  Not that complicated.  And then he was born.  Then I find myself sleeping while sitting up in the rocker, or nursing for hours on end, or unable to get up and go to the bathroom when I need to go for any number of reasons.  I was always just out of reach of the thing I needed, and unable to move, lest I wake or disturb my child.  I couldn't sleep more than a few hours at a time.

I did eventually learn to deal with those things- after all, he was a helpless baby.  Now he's three and I find that I am still constrained by him, just in different ways.  We can't just get in the car and go.  He has to buckle his own seatbelt and he has to say the magic words to open or close the car doors... heaven help you if you forget one of his crucial steps.  I imagine it will be something like this until he moves out.  

And it's okay. It's just Rule #1.  Just the first of many changes you make as a mother.


stan, tasha, isabella and gabrielle said...

Congratulations, Chara! What fun news!!! And I was reading your blog to see what you've been reading lately. Ha! I love it.

Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux said...

Rule #1 is definitely true in my life! "Don't drink cokes" seems easier in hindsight because it so immediately affected me and my comfort--but not going to the bathroom when I really, really want to is for the same reason--because if I run off in the middle of nap time, Ennis will be awake for another half hour. It's a strange mix (for me) of selflessness and being self-centered: what will make my life easiest? The answer is always whatever will make Ennis's life easiest.
Pooch: well, I keep telling myself that even though I think #2 is SO far off I really ought to work out before it's "too late." Even though I know Rule #1, vanity still pops up now and then and adds a little drama to my life! Hope you're all well.