Sunday, February 27, 2011

for those of you who like to read...a note from my journal

Becoming Mama…

There are crazy identity crises that I am going through right now. For one thing, I am not working. Although I never really thought my career mattered a ton to me, I have realized that after investing a whole decade of my life to education and the application of that knowledge, it really is important and central to who I am. When I meet someone at a party, they’ll always ask what I do for work. Having to answer that I am unemployed since we moved to London has been a change in how I see myself. I don’t want to be labeled as lazy or dumb; I want people to see me as a hardworking educated woman. But without a career in my lap, I have to find security in other ways.

Another way that my identity is changing is through my body. It’s no longer slim and slender. It’s got lumps and bumps and droops and marks all over it. I’m no longer attractive to the average guy – although I notice that women look at me with admiration. My body will forever be different; I don’t expect to ever be what I was. I am okay with that – it is for a purpose. And I am just thankful that I have a loving husband who always finds me to be the most beautiful woman in the world!

Emotionally, I cannot even comprehend the love that I have for you, my little unborn baby girl. And, yes I know that this love is only a tiny bit of what I will feel and experience once I meet you and get to know you. The emotional and hormonal swings during pregnancy have been strong – although not overwhelmingly so. I have felt fairly stable, and have enjoyed having time to process my “deep thoughts” about becoming a parent. I am guessing, though, that my emotions will certainly be stronger once you arrive in my arms!

Cognitively, my mind is filled with new information – things I never thought I would invest so much time in learning about: breastfeeding, healthy sleep for children, various aspects of my reproductive organs, how to keep marriage strong in parenthood. I’ve gone from reading highly educational textbook material to pop-psychology and medical advice. My brain doesn’t feel nearly stimulated enough, and I wonder if this reading material is making me smarter…or dumber. Nonetheless, I am desperate to be careful to not reinvent the wheel with parenting, so I long to gain any insight I can from the “experts.”

All of my relationships are also changing. My relationship with Daddy is about to go strictly from “couple” to parental. Friendships are different; I am drawn to other young moms going through similar stages in life. Everyone in the family has a new name – Auntie, Cousin, Nana, Granny…they all relate to you. I am concerned about my single girlfriends, and making sure that I nourish those relationships – I don’t want to be someone who just talks about baby stuff all the time and neglects the other aspects of life. I also find that I don’t have as much energy to waste on trying to people-please; my own family and home is more and more of a priority.

Yes, Momma-Bear is growing inside of me. I don’t care nearly as much as I used to about what people think. Despite all the changes going on, I am accepting them – not fighting them. I prioritize my space, my body, my marriage, my life. I feel like I have to – because no one else will. I know that I will be the protector, the safety net, the nourisher as you enter this world. It will be a huge responsibility and a tremendous privilege.

You will become the center of our universe – even more than you already are. The attention and questions and inquiries of everyone around us will revolve around you. My head will usually be cut off in pictures, I won’t get nearly as many Christmas presents as in the past, and David will likely greet you first when he comes home from work. But, I won’t care. I am happy to bring you into a family that’s filled with love and caring for you. Soon enough you’ll understand that the world doesn’t revolve around you in reality…but for now, it will seem like it does!

As I enter motherhood, I realize that I am stepping over a major threshold. My old life will be forever gone. I will never walk around this earth strictly concerned about my own needs; I will always be thinking about you. Parenthood is the most permanent of commitments, the most transforming of choices, and the most emotionally powerful of relationships. I always say that the most difficult aspect of parenthood is that the child doesn’t change to fit into relationship with the parent; the parent has to do the work of changing, growing, maturing to fit into a pleasant and influential relationship with their child. I hope that I will be flexible enough!

{and just because I like pictures more than words}:

The Day We Got Engaged (December 15, 2003)

And Now We're Expecting (January 2011)


Cate said...

Thanks for sharing Erika! It's neat to see how things can change tons in such a short period of time, isn't it? You're going to be a fabulous mom and David is going to be a fabulous dad and that is going to be one really lucky little girl. :) Hugs!!

Mindy Seybold said...

Hey, I took that picture, didn't I? I thought it looked familiar!

lyssa said...

So true, all of it!

Vanessa Z. said...

That is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing your innermost thoughts {and putting to words what we've all felt at one time or another as well}.

Canadian Kristin said...

You are even more beautiful and more lovely than when I first met you! Love the insights you have gained and appreciate that you have shared them here. {{hugs}}

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