Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Low-Down on having Number 4

So as an update, I  had 3 good days in there where I felt pretty fantastic only to go back to feeling terrible. So I have been fairly useless but today I am feeling a bit more energized (probably thanks to those B vitamin/folic acid tablets my fabulous midwife Lorell recommended). So, it's blogging time! I've had lots of things I've wanted to blog about but no motivation to sit in front of the computer long enough to do it.

So I thought that, as promised, I would give you the low down on the fourth child and how/why I came to the conclusion to have another one. As some of you may know, after I had Novan, I decided I wanted many many kids, like more than 6. Then, I had Beya and decided 6 would be enough. Then I had Iyov... and well... I didn't want ANY more, not really. Then after I discovered a love of writing, I really wanted to be done with kids. It sounds a little selfish if you make assumptions about the nuts and bolts of that decision. I didn't want any more kids after I discovered that something else could bring me fulfillment. If I didn't have any more kids, I could sooner pursue my OWN interests and so on and so forth. Well, that's just  simply not the case. It's not the reason anyway for why I was so against having a 4th child.

The real story is that I have been trying ever since Novan was born to be the best at being a mom that I could be. And I was always disappointed with myself because I was never living up to what I wanted to be as a mom. We are counseled that being a mother is a divine work. We are told how much of an impact we have on future generations if we take our role as parents seriously. And sure, after the first child, I could really see how much fulfillment and joy kids could bring. It's all true. But the incorrect assumption, that I made as a new mom, was thinking that I could fill my life entirely with children and relishing in my accomplishments as a mother in order to bring myself fulfillment. I thought, "As long as I raise my kids in righteousness and see them all serve missions, get married in the temple, etc., then I will be fulfilled as a woman." I have a lot of interests and things that I am passionate about. I have studied a lot of subjects. I love being in school and learning, but I never tried to make anything serious of those things. I never tried to develop my talents beyond simply using them in my home. I didn't want to. I just wanted to be a good mom. Wasn't that enough of a desire? Shouldn't that bring me enough self-fulfillment? No. It didn't. And I never realized it until I started writing, and I realized that other things in life could bring me closer to an understanding that I really am a daughter of God with divine potential. I am excited to know what more there is to me as a daughter of God. What other talents has he blessed me with that I have yet to discover?

I now know that there is more to me than just a mom and a wife. I can live for myself without being selfish because through appreciating myself more, I appreciate my husband and my kids more. I SEE the wondrous beings that they are more than I ever have before because I can now see that in myself. I have much much higher hopes for all of them. I EXPECT greatness from my kids, not just a temple marriage and kids of their own. I EXPECT them to discover the divine potential in themselves and USE it to bring joy to others.

And so back to the kid decision. I didn't want a fourth because I wanted to be sure that the reason I would choose to have one would not be because I was still trying to live up to my ill-conceived dream of perfect mom-dom. Because that pursuit was not making me happy. In fact, it was making me UNhappy. If I brought another child into the world, it would be for the simple joy of wanting children. I wanted it to be out of unselfishness and a desire to serve more. Because let's face it, you do nothing but serve your kids and if you aren't ready to do that, then you should not have kids. And most importantly, I wanted to make the sacrifice of having another child without the fear that I would resent that child for the sacrifices I made. In some sense, trying to be such a perfect mom and failing was making me resent my own kids. And in turn, I knew that wasn't right and so I disliked myself even more. But now that I have relinquished my death-grip on my visions of being a perfect mom, I have found a peace and satisfaction in my children that I was never able to appreciate before. I'm OK with my shortcomings as a mom. I'm ok with the fact that I am not cut out to be the mother of 8. I'm ok that sometimes I lose patience with them. I don't beat myself up when I lose my temper and yell at them over something trivial. I really believe that I am a good mom now and I know that I am doing my best. And my best is enough for me.

Brad really wanted another one because he has this thing about even numbers and he always felt like there were at least 4 spirits up there who were destined for our family. I was rather opposed. I didn't want to be pregnant and sick. I didn't want to devote months to breastfeeding service to a newborn. I thought that our 3 were just wonderful and I never felt compelled to have more even after I corrected my thinking when it came to children and myself.I was afraid of falling back into that cycle of focusing too much on my kids and myself as a mom.

Well, I love my husband and I did this 95% for him. But the other part of me is excited to have kind of a second chance at taking care of a baby with a new and improved attitude of myself. And I REALLY want another girl. I want Beya to have a little sister. I want both Brad and I to both feel truly done when this is over and I don't want to live with "what-ifs" and I certainly don't want to look back in 7 years or something and decide that I really should have had that 4th child and decide to get pregnant at 35 when my kids are all finally grown up to a more self-sufficient age.

I'm excited for the challenge and if there's one thing you learn as you have more and more kids, it goes by WAY too fast. A few years of my life sacrificed for a new spirit needing guidance in this world is well worth it. It's funny that with each child I've had, I've wondered, "How is this one going to be different? How can they possibly be as fabulous as my other kids?" And somehow they always are. They may not start out that way. But the older they get, the more in awe I am over the magnificence of the human soul. How perfect and wonderful they are when they first set out. How much is my desire that they never forget where they came from and who they are. I don't want them to have to go through the same crisis as myself in having to rediscover it. I'm grateful that I understand that now and hopefully I can have a hand making sure that they always do.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Survival Mode

This is me all last week. Nauseated. Tired. Beya took this picture of me hence all the blurriness. But it just goes to show you how lackadaisical I've been in my parenting lately. I don't even remember her taking pictures.
Want to take a guess as to why? Yep, I'm pregnant. Number 4 is officially on the way. Don't ask me the due date because I always go early and I keep more track of getting safely to 37 weeks and less track of when the baby is coming. But it's in June, that's all you need to know. And I have been SOOOOO sick. Today, actually, is the first day that I have not been completely miserable and hoping that someone would come knock me out and not wake me up for another approximately 5 weeks. I have managed somehow to keep myself and my children fed and Novan to school. That's pretty much it. I don't remember what I ate all week except that it was disgusting and made me want to gag every time and had me wishing that you could get a feeding tube put in on an outpatient basis with no questions asked. If there had been anything on earth that didn't sound completely nauseating I would have had it delivered to my front door. I even threw up twice, which I have never done in the past. This has been the WORST sickness I have experienced to date in the pregnancy realm. I have wondered what state I would be in at the 13 week mark (when morning sickness typically abates for me). But today, HALLELUJAH, I have been reminded that I am human. I've certainly had the nausea and the tiredness but on a much smaller scale. I did not lie in bed in a nauseated stupor all day. I cleaned. I cooked. I took my kids to the park. Amazing! I'm hoping Brad's fast for me did the trick and days like today are here to stay.

So, LAST and FINAL baby #4 has already given me quite the trial. I have had a hard time being excited about another child or anything that might merit excitement or joy whatsoever. I probably could have won a million dollars or something and still would have had a hard time mustering the energy to smile. Never fear though. I'm sure I'll be excited soon. I really want the last one to be a girl. I really didn't care about any of the past ones in terms of gender. But this one I care. I'm having a hard time convincing myself not to be disappointed if it's a boy. And no I'm not finding out. It's kinda hard to do that if you don't actually pay a visit to a doctor's office and an ultrasound machine. Cuz this baby is going to be at home just like Iyov was.

So why do I want another girl? Because Beya is the sweetest child on the planet and I'm wondering if it's just her or if it's girls in general. My sweet Beya has taken such good care of me this past week. She knew I was sick and that the new baby was making me sick. So she would always include "And help momma to feel better" in her prayers and she would always ask me when I looked a little more lively if I was feeling better. I only had to ask once and she would bring me whatever I asked for with a cheerful "Ok Momma!" She'd bring me a diaper and wipes so I could change Iyov in my bed. She would bring me everyone's toothbrushes with toothpaste so I could brush their teeth while I was laying in bed. She would bring me an apple if I was lying on the bed, too sick to move but knowing I needed to eat something. She would get socks out of my drawer and put them on my feet if I was cold. She would brush my hair and smooth my face or hold my hand when my eyes were pinched shut from a particularly bad bout of nausea. And while Brad is gone, she's been sleeping with me, because I just sleep better when someone else is in the room. I've kind of depended on her. She's just such a little ball of sunshine that her presence just seems to make me feel less lonely and less hopeless. Yes, that's how sick I have been. It's been awful! Oh please, oh please, let today last!
Here are a few other pictures I found on my phone this week which I believe are Beya's handiwork. You can tell what's important in her life. I think the close up of Novan is actually pretty neat. =)