I am going to be Someone’s Mother!

I woke up early this morning. (Not something that happens to me, hardly ever!) And I couldn’t go back to sleep so I decided to write a few of my feelings about being a mother. Today makes 31 weeks for me and I find myself counting down and thinking in terms of how many weeks I have left instead of far I am. 9 weeks left and its starting to feel so real.

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30 weeks!

I’ve wanted a baby almost for as long as I can remember. I was 9 when my first baby sister was born. I was so excited. They brought her home from the hospital and my mom let me give her her first bath. She showed me how to steam the bathroom so that it was nice and warm, to check the bath water so that it was just the right temperature for her little body. she showed me how to hold her so that she would be comfortable during the experience. When I was finished I rubbed her little body down with lotion and dressed her in a little pink nightgown. And then I had to hand her off to Mother to be fed and put to bed.

I remember walking down the stairs that day and out to the yard. It was October and my sisters where out playing in a huge pile of leaves. I felt larger than life and overwhelmed by love. I decided right then in that moment that the greatest thing a woman could ever experience was to have a baby and I couldn’t wait to have mine. I sank down into the pile of leaves with my sisters and I told them that I would get married when i was 16 years old. (I knew that, was the earliest possible time that it was legal to be married) and that, I still had 7 years to wait and I didn’t know how I would make it.

When I turned 16, marriage was no where in sight but I did get another little blessing. My niece came into my life and gave me a taste of what it might feel like to be a mom. As I cared for her, got up with her during the night and rocked her until I felt my arms would fall off trying to get her to sleep I felt a swelling within me and a longing like I had never known before. I also felt a sense of peace and satisfaction that I had never known before and I believed that the most meaningful thing that I could ever do in my life would be to be a mother, to care for children, whether I had given birth to them myself or not.

My niece and I

My niece and I

The years continued to go by with marriage never presenting itself as a viable option. I got caught up in school and work and I loved what I was doing. I had great room mates, I was dating, I was having fun. Children started to annoy me a little. They were noisy, often smelly, and they NEVER seemed to stop moving. I loved the easy flow of work in the office, I loved the challenges and the deadlines. It wasn’t messy and chaotic like raising children. It was structured and fulfilling. I felt like a success. I worried that all those years of longing for children were gone and now ┬áby the time I actually had them I wouldn’t want them anymore.

I went to visit an older sister one day. She had 10 children. Before I left her house all of her children got together and sang for me. They had beautiful voices, beautiful faces, but more than anything as I sat watching them, their voices melting perfectly together, the oldest looking somewhat bored and detached and the youngest, her face animated and alive with every word that she sang, I realized that these were human beings, 645 2these were people, lives that my sister had created! They would go on, they had their futures ahead of them! 794she was teaching them, raising them to be good upstanding people. Because of her they would experience all that life had to offer. I saw her love for them reflected in her eyes and I saw an unspeakable bond between mother and child and I KNEW that there was nothing, no work, no experience that I would ever have that would be more fulfilling than that of being a mother.800

But I worried it would never happen for me. That baby sister that I had bathed so carefully had grown up and was a woman now looking to get married herself.

Me with my two grown up, baby sisters.

Me with my two grown up, baby sisters.

I felt old and hopeless. My boyfriend had just broken up with me, and marriage seemed so far away. I went to bed one night sobbing and aching for what I thought I might never have. It wasn’t a new experience. I had done that many times over the 15 years I had been waiting for this blessing.

This night however, I dreamed a dream. It shook me, it was more real than anything. It was so special. I dreamed that my son came to me as a strapping young man. He held me while I cried, and encouraged me to hold on, to be patient. He promised he was coming and that it would all be worth the wait. He brought two others with him, but he was the one that really affected me. Whenever I had thought about being a mom I had imagined having a baby. I never imagined a boy taller than I am, handsome and strong. I never imagined him comforting me assuring me that all would be well. He was my hero and Oh I loved him like nothing I had ever experienced. When it came time for him to leave I begged him to stay, but he couldn’t. He promised that it was just around the corner and that I needed to hang on and be patient a little longer.

I woke aching to hold him.

Now, just about two years later I lay here in bed feeling a little body squirming and kicking inside. I feel love so real and tangible for the baby inside of me that I hold my belly loving the feel of having him so close and I cry with happiness. This boy and I who have faced this lonely pregnancy together will soon be going through the birth experience together as well. He has been my rock, my hero. His presence has brought so much peace. My son already feels to me somewhat like the man that I hope he will be one day.

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He is a human being. In about 9 more weeks, he will start his life. He will start his one chance at mortality. He will start making the decisions that will shape his eternity! Nine weeks! I feel overwhelmed that I am his mother. That I am responsible to give him everything he needs to be successful. That I am being entrusted with the fragileness of his new life, of his soul, fresh from heaven.

I feel overwhelmed with Joy that my time has finally come. That one day soon a little person will call me mom. He is the best reason for living that I have ever had, and for the first time in my life I feel that there is someone else that I could live for. That no matter what happened in my own life there was someone else who is more important than anyone or anything in this world. I would live for him, I would die for him. My little Preston has become the center of my universe and my heart is as full as my belly!

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THIS is how it Should be.

I’ve been feeling sorry for myself lately. Feeling sorry about all the things that I DON”T have. For years now I have been watching my friends and seeing all the things, and opportunities that they have and feeling bad that I haven’t had the same. I had one room-mate who got to participate in all kinds of sports and extra activities throughout college and high school. I did high school alone in my bedroom without even a teacher. Even in college I was supporting myself, working, and couldn’t afford to do anything except just what I needed to do to graduate.

I wished I had, had the same opportunity that she had through those experiences.

I had another room-mate whose parents paid to put her through all of her schooling including graduate school so that she could just focus on classes and grades. She had time to cook meals, sit at home and read books just for fun, and had a nice relaxing schedule with out the stress of worrying about how she was going to make the rent or her car payment. She had money for nice clothes and all the extras.

I wished I had, had that. But I had to accept that my past was different from theirs. My family was different from theirs. And it was ok because I had things they didn’t have. I knew my way around a kitchen because I had done so much cooking when I lived at home. I knew what if felt like to have dozens of brothers and sisters that I would do just about anything for. I had experiences and memories that were different from theirs but no less meaningful. In fact I wouldn’t have traded them for the world.

Know one else got a family like mine.

Know one else got a family like mine.

My family knows how to play together.

My family knows how to play together.

But I thought my future would be different.

One by one I watched my friends get married. They each had the beautiful wedding dresses, were married in the temple, were greeted by cheering family and friends when they came out. They had beautiful receptions and romantic honeymoons. And I thought that one day I would have all of that too.

I imagined myself marrying a handsome, return missionary, with a degree, and a good job. I imagined settling into our own home and starting a family. I imagined Sunday dinner with the in-laws who would probably get on my nerves by being a little too involved in our lives. I imagined coming out of our bathroom one morning and announcing to my husband that we were expecting a baby and seeing the surprise and joy on his face. And it didn’t seem too far out there.

Then I fell in love and got married. I got married in Uganda. No one in my family was present and none of my friends were there. We were married in a chapel instead of the temple because that is the way it is done in Uganda. The wedding, the reception, everything was beautiful and I was so happy but it was nothing like I had imagined.

After the wedding we went back to Joseph’s apartment and he went back to work. There was no honeymoon, in fact in that first week it seemed I rarely saw him before 9 pm. Next thing I knew I was squatting in a dark dingy outhouse trying to pee into a tiny dirty cup while keeping a terrified eye on the many cockroaches by the light that the small crack in the door afforded. I prayed the test would be negative. Not because I didn’t want to be pregnant but because I didn’t want to find out in this way.

“Hey!” the doc shouted from the other room. “Do you guys want to know the results of the test?” Joseph and I stood by expectantly. “It’s negative, there is nothing there.” the doctor said callously. “Now where is my money?”

Joseph paid and we left.

We found out later that we were in fact pregnant and the situation surrounding that test was much better. As I became sick and then returned home to carry the baby and prepare for its birth here I started feeling really bad about all the things that I didn’t have.

I watched my friends with their husbands and it didn’t seem fair. As the pregnancy progressed and I heard the heart beat, saw the ultra sound all with out Joseph, I felt sorry for myself. When I continued to get bigger and the weeks went by one at a time and I realized that Joseph was going to miss all of it. I wanted to cry. When we passed our six month anniversary I felt cheated. I wanted to spend my first year of marriage with my husband. I wanted him to get to experience all these things with me and I wanted time with him before our baby was born. I see my pregnant friends resting and focusing on taking care of themselves and their babies, and I am doing 13 credits of school and working trying to support myself, prepare for our baby, pay visa fees, and plan for our future on my own.

When we were denied the visitors visa and I realized that I would give birth to this baby without him and might not see him in a very long time I felt abandoned and a little angry.

But today I don’t feel any of those things. I realized today that all those things are hard because I am comparing my circumstances to others. I am looking at what other people have and assuming that somehow I deserve the same things. I realized that it’s all part of a package. I can’t demand all the same things my friends had growing up without giving up my own upbringing. And I wouldn’t trade them for the world. All the financial support and extra curricular activities in the world would never match up to what my family gave me.

You can't replace family.

You can’t replace family.

And they mean the world to me.

And they mean the world to me.

I couldn't possibly trade any of it.

I couldn’t possibly trade any of it.

The path I am walking now with Joseph comes as a package as well. Our experiences in Uganda, the sweet love letters that my husband and I write to each other on a regular basis, the strength and experience we have gained from this separation, everything about our marriage and our lives together is ours. It all comes together, the good with the bad.

Joseph and i chose to start a life together.

Joseph and i chose to start a life together.

And when you stop looking at others and thinking about what SHOULD be. You can start to see the beauty of what IS. So when I do see my husband again, and have the opportunity to place our first-born child in his arms, I will know that this is OUR experience and that THIS is how it SHOULD be.