I knew I was pregnant.
I knew even before you technically are suppose to (i.e.. I hadn't even missed a period yet.) I had gone over for Chinese take out at a close friend's house, and as I opened the Chicken Lo Mein, I was over come with a smell of fish. My stomach turned, and I think I turned green. My friend asked what's wrong?
"I'm pregnant. I just know it. This chicken dish smells like seafood and making me want to throw up. That's it. I know I'm pregnant."
We went on to list all the other pregnancy symptoms, and I mentally made note if I was experiencing any others.
Yup. They were all there. I had just gotten married the month before, and at the tender age of 23 I found myself expecting my first child.
I wasn't ready.
That's all I could think every time I raced to a bathroom for the umpteenth time that day. I'm not ready for this.
Well, babies come as babies do. And a short 8 months later, my little bundle of all boy arrived.
I was over-joyed. I was, I really was. Ok I was joyed--not over-joyed.
I was in love with him. All ten little fingers, and all ten little toes. He was perfect.
I also was hormonally psycho, and can clearly remember crying hysterically while I loaded dishes. My hand covering my face as I sobbed. My son was maybe 10 days old. This is forever, I thought.
F-O-R-E-V-E-R (in the voice of smalls, only you 80's kids will appreciate that reference.)
Like, no going back. This was my new normal.
I called my mom and said "I feel trapped. And not just trapped, but doomed." She laughed, and said "Welcome to motherhood."She went on to say, this feeling will pass. The overwehlming feeling of forever being trapped will go away and you will love being a mom."
What I once thought was just hormones, actually was a real and concrete crack in my outlook of mommyhood.
I hated it. I hated being tied down, revolving my schedule around nap times. I hated not being able to just get in the car without it taking 30 minutes to do so.
It took me 8 more years, and the addidtion of another child to fully love and embrace mommyhood. I wasn't the type that could just stay home with a child. I needed complexity, I needed more from life than just changing diapers. I found most mothering tasks horribly boring. Yes, I loved holding my child as he fell asleep. Yes, I was grateful for him. But I most definitely felt like my children were keeping me from my bigger purpose. I wince as I write this, but someone has to tell the truth. Motherhood is hard as hell. And it surely was harder for me who desperately wanted to be anywhere but stuck home with a child.
I must add in here that I lost two babies--miscarriages, in between my two children with 6 years between them. One would think that would give me some perspective, it really didn't. I grieved those lost babies, and I still do, but it didn't devastate me as one might think. So for 6 years I only had one child, really not that hard compared to women who have more than that. But to me, it might as well been 7 children, that's how overwhelming it seemed at the time. From the outside no one would have ever guessed my internal struggle with motherhood. I hid it well. We hide ourselvse well, don't we? But deep down there was a festering of uncontentment--an ungratefulness that God had given me in these kids.
I worked A LOT. I worked as much as I could, and counted down the days where child care was free I.E. Kindergarten. Other mom's cried as they dropped their little one's off on the first day of school. I, on the other hand, did NOT. I skipped out to my car and waved see you in 8 hours!
I multi-tasked work, emails, builidng a business, and mommy hood. And in case you aren't aware...we were not made to multi-task.Or at least I wasn't. I do not multi-task well at all, something always suffered. Let me re-phrase, I can multi-task tasks, I CANNOT multitask PEOPLE AND TASKS. And unfortunately, for many years my children were the victims of poor mult-tasking skills. I hated when they would interrupt me working, anger flashed across my face and I'd say "Later, later, I'm working right now."
I was annoyed more times than I can count. My kids always felt like they did something wrong. I'm pretty sure my son felt like he was walking on egg shells. One minute I would act loving and the next I was angry that he was there. I hang my head, as I type this. But I know it to be truth.
Ok, I know it is NOT just me, but I YELL and freak out when I am stressed. I rush around like I can't find my head and those poor kids....well, I'm praying they have forgotten their early childhood. I was, by far, a great mom. I mean, don't get me wrong they always had their needs met and are absolutely loved. But that underlying feelings of being "trapped" always seemed to be on the back burner with me.
For many, many years I resented being a mother.
And then the divorce came and suddenly I didn't have my kids with me all the time. Every other weekend they where at their dads, and all I could think was I am missing out. I am missing out on their lives. When they come back to me they will be older, and be different. They may have learned something new and I wasn't there to even know about it. And that heartbreak changed me.
It's easy to take forgranted things that come easy. Motherhood came easy to me in the sense that I got pregnant easily. Other women are not so fortunate.
I took forgranted so much.
And suddenly my heart and mind changed.... softened. I could almost hear my heart whisper "this too will pass and will you even remember it? Capture this, Carla. It will too soon be over."
Now a days I sit and stare at my children. I do. They even ask why I stare so often. But I don't want to miss a thing. I try to memorize their faces, the distinct color of their eyes. I want to hear their voices, and noticed just last night that my son's voice sounds different---older and deeper. The other morning, I sat quietly to read and heard my him from the other room making all those boy noise that only boys can do, s as he played with lego's. I stopped reading and just listened to his not-not-so-little voice. I listened to the battle he was playing out, I listened to his crashing sound effects. I listened until I couldn't take it anymore. I got up and went and stared at him in the doorway, closed my eyes and tried as hard as I could to capture the image. To capture his childhood. He will too soon be gone from that table, my house silent.
Emails now just sit in my inbox, phone calls unanswered. I try my hardest to put away the phone in their presence. Because the thought of missing a moment is a thought that I just can't stand. It may have taken me longer than some women to arrive at the place that I am now. These kids are my heart. They are my joy. No longer are they preventing me from my calling in life, they are my calling.
"The days are long, but the years are short." Just ask any mom out there.