It took me almost two years to write Charlie’s birth story and a year to write Calvin’s. But Quincy’s has been my hardest to write, partly because I wasn’t ready to relive it and partly because the year of sleep deprivation afterwards made me forget a lot. Luckily I had written down many of the details shortly after he was born so I could go back and piece those parts of the story together. It’s funny — Quincy started his arrival just like his two brothers before him: my water broke in the middle of the night while I was sleeping. The exact same with all three boys. But after that, my labor and delivery with Quincy was just as different as my first two times, as was our first year together. Just nature’s way of reminding you that every pregnancy, labor, delivery, and baby are different. (Fair warning: this is a long post…)
Quincy was due on February 2nd, but Charlie was a week early and Calvin arrived 10 days before his due date, so I expected Quincy to come a bit early too. I was a bit anxious because I wasn’t sure who would be taking care of Charlie and Calvin when I went into labor, as we have no family close by and planning a visit from my mom who has to fly in was too hard since, you know, babies come when they want to, not when you want them to. We have some friends who we put on our “labor list” but even still, it is stressful to not know exactly who will be caring for your children. Plus, Calvin had never spent a night apart from me and was only 17 months old, so he didn’t exactly understand what was happening. The mom guilt was real. But I make a “Charlie & Calvin fact sheet”, taped it up in my kitchen, and hoped for the best.
Every morning that I would wake up and hadn’t yet gone into labor I was relieved and more anxious at the same time. I had only ever gone into labor with my water breaking. I didn’t know what it felt like to go into labor any other way and wondered if I would recognize it when it happened. I was worried I would go into labor, not realize it, and that Quincy would come fast and I wouldn’t be able to find someone to watch the other kids. The stuff we moms worry about is sort of hilarious isn’t it? And the fact that we never learn that we can’t plan for or control everything when it comes to our little ones, even their births. Read More
What women do everyday all over this country (and the world) amazes me. Our strength, our sacrifice, our tolerance, our ability to have a cold and not act like we have the plague. If we choose, we can grow life and we can nourish that life from our bodies. We do so much that often isn’t seen or noticed or recognized. We aren’t paid as much and we have to work much harder for our successes. We have to worry about how we dress, if we walk alone at night, how our actions will be perceived. Our appearance is deemed worthy of commentary. We are shamed and judged for our choices. Sometimes by other women. So today, and every day following, let’s be united. Let’s recognize each other, support each other, lift each other up. If we don’t, how can we expect our male counterparts to do it? How can we teach our sons as well as our daughters? We are strong. But we are stronger together. Here’s to the strong women: may we know them, love them, raise them, and be them. I think if you look inside yourself you’ll see there is a strong woman in each and every one of us. Imagine what we could do if we all work together.
Art designed by Erica Canup, via jointheuproar.com
It probably sounds funny to say that moms deserve to enjoy things, but when you really stop to think about it, how much do we really get to truly ENJOY? Sure, we love our families, but with all that we do and are responsible for, are we truly able to enjoy them? Are we given the freedom (on occasion) from stress and sacrifice and responsibility to be in the moment, or are we so overburdened with an endless TO DO list or never-ending needs of our little ones that we can’t ever just stop and take a minute to enjoy that meal/vacation/nap/party/_________ for ourselves too? And who is at fault for that — our partners for not taking on more so we don’t have to, or ourselves for taking it all on or not knowing how to delegate, say no, or stand up for our own enjoyment? Or maybe no one is at fault, or maybe we all are?
I don’t know what it is about the start of a new year (or new day or new home, etc.) that always gets me excited. I love a clean slate and the opportunity to start fresh. I’m not so much a resolution person as I am a goal-setter. It helps me to focus and feel less overwhelmed when I can nail down (and make a list) of a few attainable goals for myself. Especially when things feel so out of control (in both the world right now and as the mom to three small boys) taking control of small areas of my life helps me feel less anxious. So I’m putting mine down here, so I can hold myself accountable to work towards them and also in case it helps you set your own goals for the year. Because 2016 was a “survival mode” year for me, and I am SO ready to be done with that.
When I reflect back on 2016 I have mixed feelings. Although I’ll always be grateful to this year for giving us our Quincy Q, it was a really tough one overall. It started off with a scary delivery and stay in the NICU, followed by months of colic and even more months of reflux, very little sleep, not nearly enough dates with my husband (I think we’ve had two), and a blur of motherhood living in survival mode. For basically the entire year. It took most of the year for me to get Quincy feeling better and then catch up on life and to get a handle on the whole “3 kids” thing. It has been the most physically exhausting and mentally draining year of my life. So I’m going to try to give myself some attention in 2017. I need to eat better, find some time to exercise, and get more sleep for starters. Also, I really really need to stop drinking Coke (my favorite thing) and drink water instead. If I somehow manage to accomplish those things I also want to give myself more grace — expect less of myself and put less pressure on myself to do it all. Those things will be what I work on first. But these are my goals for myself and my family to work on throughout the year.
My Goals for 2017
Getting family photos taken is something I used to look forward to, but as we’ve had more children it has become a miracle to get all five of us in one frame. Figuring out what we will all wear (especially me, especially with my still very postpartum body that doesn’t quite fit into most of my things), picking a spot that is nice for photos but not so interesting that our boys will want to play or explore rather than have their photo taken, and picking a time where everyone is in the mood to smile (or at least not meltdown) — it is no easy feat! I usually leave thinking “there is no way we got one usable holiday card photo.” But my friend Jennifer Roper always works her magic and is able to not only get great photos, but capture our family and each boy’s personality just as it is. She freezes that stage of our family in her beautiful photographs, and I know that (not our outfits or the smiles or the setting) is what I’ll cherish most in years to come.