Sunday, March 31, 2013

Saturday, March 30, 2013

In which Mommy Loses an Adjective

If you've spent any time with online "motherhood" communities, you may have noticed that we love our adjectives. Forums, especially, are a great place to advertise how many adjectives we have. You may see a short response to someone else's topic (i.e. "me too!"), followed by what's known as a "signature." This signature includes things you want everyone to know about you. We love our signatures to be longer than our "me too" replies, so we make them something like this. Bonus points if there is a graphic "blinky" associated with each adjective:

I am a...


Cloth diapering, home-birthing, exclusively breast-feeding, organically clothed, local grass-fed beef eating, non-circing, non-vaxing, home-schooling, vegetable growing, stay-at-home mom.

This is just a sampling of the adjectives that seem to be popular around where I've read, and no, this is not my "signature." After all of the adjectives, it's hard not to compare ourselves as moms against the adjectives preceding it. Does this person think I'm inadequate for choosing differently from her in these areas? Am I still accepted if some of these adjectives apply to me, but not all? Or we take pride in these labels, saying to ourselves, that we are good moms because of them.

So, among the adjectives I could use to build my signature, it is time to admit that one of them will no longer apply. You can take "stay-at-home" off the list. I got a job, and am starting Monday. This has been a big decision, though not as difficult as I would have thought. I am lucky, because I am a nurse, and can work 3 nights a week and call it full time. We have a private sitter whom we know and trust to watch Hannah on the mornings after I work so that I can get some sleep. She is mostly weaned, and is sleeping all night long in her own room now, so she may not even miss me much while I'm at work.

Now, I think I've done an exemplary job of being a stay-at-home mom. I have kept my baby clothed and fed just fine, like here for example:

I do such a good job that she never has to beg for more:


Joking aside, we have taken a hard look at our goals for the future and decided that it will be best if I work and save my salary for a while, at the end of which time, hopefully, we will be ready to welcome home another one of Hannah's siblings (no! This is NOT an announcement!). I am looking forward to the professional development personally, and have started to get out my equipment and uniforms. Hannah has joined in the fun, playing doctor for the first time:

In all of this, I have had to take stock of my adjective comparisons. I used to be very adamant that I would *never* work outside the home with children in the house. Now, I can look at our situation with peace, because "stay at home" or not, I am a mom. I love that title most.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


When I think back, my life of childless infertility seems measured in moments, defined by specifics that seared themselves into my brain.

  • It was baking in deafening silence, while my heart could hear a small voice asking to lick the spoon, feeling a little hand in mind as we made thumprints in the cookies.
  • It was dying inside while a family member (clearly thinking as a potential "Grand") went on and on about how natural I looked with a baby after I had made the mistake of holding a newborn in front of them at church.
  • It was escaping the church ladies on the way out the door on Father's day, as they kept asking when Sam's first Father's day would be. Little did they know that this *was* his first, but the baby had died, so there was no celebration for us, and I couldn't bring myself to voice that fact, so we just ran.
  • It was realizing how everything in my house was for adults as I cleaned.
  • It was realizing that I still had a baby blanket in my closet as I avoided cleaning that closet.
  • It was hearing my ministry leader tell us that we weren't open to God's plan for our family if I was still sad about being infertile, weeks after we had told them about our plans to adopt.
Then everything changed, and suddenly my life as a mom is measured in moments, each seared onto my brain in stark contrast to the moments of loss.

  • It is knowing the smell of my daughter, recognizing it on her blankets within hours of her birth.
  • It is feeling her arms around my neck, and experiencing her relax against me when I respond to her cry in the middle of the night.
  • It is seeing a laundry line full of diapers or baby clothes, papering the sky with its joyful presence.
  • It is hearing "mama" and watching her face light up when I walk into the room.
  • It is watching her cry her eyes out when her daddy leaves, then get to the door as fast as she can when she hears him coming back, dragging him to the bed for a round of tickles.
  • It is watching her grandparents eyes as they cherish her and knowing that it is finally my turn to bring them this delight.
Does motherhood erase the years of infertility? No. They're not gone, and the new memories make the memories of those years more acutely painful, if possible. But, the memories of those years also make the new memories more acutely joyful, and the frustrations seem very small in comparison. I am so thankful for every moment of the life that gave me my daughter. If I had to do it over again, I would chose every painful moment for the baby we have right now.