Love & Terror – 60 day countdown

The last month has been filled with a mish mash of various contractors coming to my new home. To install sprinklers. To paint the high ceilings we can’t reach. To configure an alarm system. With them has come terrifying child related advice – since most have been men in their 40’s and 50’s who have children of varying ages.

“Get ready for your life to change” they’ve all said looking at my burgeoning belly in alarming, ominous tones. “It’s the best thing you’ll ever do, but it’s hard. Really really hard.”

“Duh.” I want to say like a 6th grader (do 6th graders still say that?). “Like I thought it was easy.” It certainly wasn’t easy getting to this point, so why would caring for an infant human be any easier than making one with Stage IV endometriosis?

And come to find out, the same thing has been happening to Merp. A colleague with whom he does much of his business, and who also utilized reproductive science to have his daughter, said this: “Man, do you realize how much your life is going to suck?”

Geez thanks. Coming from someone who went through infertility I wasn’t expecting such negativity. But I know how some guys talk and I assume this is probably in the same vein as the casual wife bashing that goes on at any male dominated happy hours across the country, ball and chain references flying like dollar bills to the bartender. Still though I want to tell all these people to suck it. I’m afraid enough as it is, guys. Maybe I don’t lament my fears to every random I meet, but I assure you they’re there without your help. In fact, here are a few of those fears, in no particular order (fears that many a new Mom have mulled around at some point, I’m sure):

Will I become a mommy zombie?

Will I ever be able to finish my book, aka any other project that is important to my identity as an individual (between dirty diapers and all-encompassing care for my helpless child)?

Pass the bar (see parenthesis above)?

Have a career (you get the idea)?

Will I be able to have a vaginal birth?

Will I make enough milk?

Be able to comfort a screaming child?

Will there be birth complications?

Will my child be healthy?

Will I be a good Mom?

How will I measure up to the scrap booking, cake pop baking, crafty mothers out there who make it all seem so easy?

I think I’ve expressed similar fears before and yes, I could go on and on and on, but honestly the thing I’m afraid of most, the very very most is – wait for it – that I will explode with a love so big my 5’9 inch frame won’t be able to contain it. That this love will overcome the me we know right now, and with it new branches of worry will sprout from my already fret filled brain transforming me into another version of the self I know. Because I love so much RIGHT NOW as it is. I sometimes cannot even look at Merp without welling up I’m so overfilled with love for him. I can’t even imagine loving something more than I love my little two dog, one husband family.  I’m the type that purposely didn’t have my wedding filmed because reliving those moments is just too emotional for me. Am I a total weirdo? It’s okay, you can tell me if I am.

There’s also the fact that Merp and I, by moving, have been transported to what almost feels like a different state. A few blocks down the street of our perfectly planned suburban community (the type of place I NEVER would’ve imagined living a few years ago) is a gorgeous, brand new stucco elementary school. Every day at 2:30 kids file up the hill, backpacks jumping from little shoulders, papers flapping from little hands, while beautiful young moms nudge them along like they’re vulnerable new chicks bating some imaginary, but very hungry, wolf. It all seems so perfectly foreign, as if just by watching them for a moment I’m committing an atrocious sin. I don’t belong here. I’m no Mom.

Even though we’re almost done decorating the nursery (pictures to come) in light and dark turquoise, orange, and white. Even though I only have a few weeks left of my hospital birth class. Even though Daphne is due in exactly 60-days as of yesterday. Even though baby shower invitations have been sent. I still find it hard to believe that I will most likely be a Mom on or around April 9. A MOTHER. A MOMMY. That person I still cling too when I’m sick or sad or sorry. That person it seems I could never live without.

When I think about what that word means, MOTHER, I’m filled with that same urge I get to look away from old photos. It’s almost too much for me. Too profound. I, with Merp’s help, will be responsible for shaping, PROTECTING, nurturing, educating, feeding, clothing, potty training, and loving a little person who for quite a while won’t give much back but demands. HOLY BAT CRAP.

“But Steph Mignon,” you might be thinking, “Didn’t you think about all of this before? When you were giving up gluten, going to acupuncture, and shooting yourself with hormones?”

Well of course I did.

Not.

I mean there were fleeting thoughts about the responsibility of parenthood and blah blah blah, but something happened when I was told I may never get to have that experience. I automatically switched into DO mode. Everything I did was meant to get me here. And now that I’m here, which is almost there, I don’t feel prepared mentally or emotionally. Like at all.

So this is what I’m going to do (I don’t sit idle for long). I’m going to dive back into the message boards I began to neglect after the first trimester. I’m going to read the book my dear friend sent about happy babies on blocks. I’m going to listen to the hypo-babies cds that came in the same package. I’m going to start getting ready for the land of Mom with the same urgency that has brought me to the edge of that land in the first place.

I might still be scared as hell, but at least I can be sort-of kind-of prepared, right?

Speaking of exploding, I have gained 28 lbs. as of my last doctor visit. WOW.
Speaking of exploding, I have gained 28 lbs. in total as of my last doctor visit. WOW. What will the next 2 months bring? Hopefully no more than 7-8 more lbs.!
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21 comments

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  1. lamentingthelentil

    I love love love this post. It is what i am feeling too. Almost exactly. When we were trying to get pregnant, we were so focused on getting to that ‘end goal’ that we kind of lost sight of the ACTUAL end goal. But the overwhelming-ness of the actual end goal is not one i could really even wrap my head around until i was pretty far along in this pregnancy. As the love for these humans of mine has built (and especially after we became high risk and there was fear of losing one of the babies or delivering both early) the weight of motherhood and everything it means seems to have settled quickly into my chest and my bones. And I’m with you. I could not imagine loving anything more than i love my fain family as it is right now – AE and my two deardear dogs. But all of the sudden I’m starting to feel it creeping in and it is throat-closingly terrifying. But it is also so very something else that i just can’t seem to find a word for. But it’s a good something else.

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    • Steph Mignon

      Awe, I’m so happy there are a few of us IF bloggers all pregnant right around the same time so that we can empathize with each other. It’s happening and it’s amazing, but I’m glad other can also acknowledge how scary it is! Hope you are doing well Lentil!

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  2. Kimberly

    Yup – I know how you feel. Like “what do you mean I am going to be responsible for two people!?!” Just dosent seem possible yet! Maybe I will realize I am a mom after I manage to keep them alive for a few months?

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  3. gardengirl29

    Great post!

    How funny- I, too, hate looking at old photos and video footage for the exact same reason. I get too sentimental! It’s tough for me to make photo albums for that reason. I look at photos of good times with Matt and I think about how much I love him and how short life is and how I want to spend a billion years with him and get sad. Or I think about my family aging. The silly thing is that so far life has just continued to get better, so there is nothing to be sad about!

    I got those same annoying comments while pregnant. Annoyingly, before I got pregnant, everyone talked about how great kids are in a brainwashing sort of way, and then once I finally got pregnant, I mostly heard smug, knowing comments about how my life would change. And I agree- the difficulties of children are things we’ve considered before. We’re adults, after all! The comments are a bit condescending. The good thing about all those annoying comments, though, is that they over-prepared me for the hard parts, and so far, I have found this whole parenting thing much more enjoyable than people implied it would be!

    I think the fact that you have such emotional intelligence and are so aware of your thoughts and feelings means you’ll be a great mom. But all your fears are totally valid and normal. And I really do think that you’ll be able to do many of the things that you’re passionate about eventually, just maybe not during the baby stage, lol!

    Yes, you will love your baby so much. I never could imagine loving a baby more than my dog, but, well… but I still do love my dog dearly of course! And you’re so right about now having the stress of someone else to worry about! It’s all worth it, though. =)

    I love the view of the mountains from your yard!! =)

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    • Steph Mignon

      Awe thanks Friend! I am so lucky that you have blazed the trail a view months ahead of me. Your advice and friendship have been invaluable my dear. Thank you! Sending love to you and your little one… can’t wait to meet him!

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      • biowoman29@yahoo.com

        It is so cool how these things have coincided for us- I feel lucky to have shared it with you! It has been extremely helpful for me to talk to you as well. I can’t wait to meet Daphne, too… sending her lots of good growing vibes and good thoughts for a smooth labor!

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  4. journeyformybaby

    The guys that DH works with had him all but convinced that having a baby was going to be one of the most regrettable decisions of his life. Why do people feel the need to “warn” expectant parents about how “awful” life with be after children? I will just say that DH was pleasantly suprised I’m sure at the ease of slipping into his role as daddy. He certainly isn’t “miserable” and he’s already talking about wanting another baby in a few years. Something he had said we would NEVER do again during my pregnancy because “the guys at work” had scared him.

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  5. Lauren

    It’s amazing after everything that we have been through to actually now face the fears of real motherhood. I’ve got to think that this part is normal. Somehow, I can’t get past my worry that somehow my breasts won’t work right and I won’t make enough milk, etc.. It’s a silly fear, but…
    I love your photo by the way! You look so relaxed and happy and … Mommy-like 🙂 hugs!

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    • Steph Mignon

      Awe thanks Lauren! Hope you are hanging in there! And the breast milk fear is one of my biggest for sure. It’s hard to imagine milk actually coming from my body… I’m a little concerned that I haven’t had any leakage yet. Ah so much to worry about!

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  6. Daryl

    Yep. It took so long for the reality of this pregnancy to kick in, who knows when I’ll actually start to feel like a mom! I share a lot of your fears, especially about birth and breastfeeding. I also worry that my husband and I won’t be on the same page parenting-wise. That this little one will have him wrapped around her little finger, and I’ll end up being the bad guy all the time. I also don’t want to lose myself in the process of raising/protecting/nurturing another human being. I know those first few months are going to be especially hard. But we’ll both get through it. The thing we’ve wanted for so long is almost here!

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    • Steph Mignon

      Can you believe it? This is really happening!!!!! May our bodies work as they should, may our babies be healthy, and may our husbands share in the role of parenting in a way that makes us both the ‘bad guy.” It’s funny you mention the difference in parenting because I almost lost my shit on Merp the other day because he was complaining about how much he hates reading. I was like “You better NEVER let our daughter hear those words come out of your mouth. I LOVE books and she should too, or at least be given a chance too without your negativity!” Oh man, it’s going to be interesting, this parenting stuff.

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  7. hopingonhope

    Dont be afraid. You might not even fall in love with Daphne instantly after she is born, but when you will look into her beautiful eyes and think “I made that?” All love wil return and more. I had the sam thoughts even in labour and now just 7 days after birth I cannot imagine a life before him. It seems so empty without him and he doesnt even do much beyond scream.

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    • Steph Mignon

      Aw, thank you! And how amazing that your baby is 7 days old. It’s beautiful and awesome. I just started reading the book “Happiest Baby on the Block” about comforting newborns when they scream and I can say that it is getting me excited (not the screaming part, but the part about seeing this thing I helped make). Being a mom just seems so abstract when you can’t see the thing inside you, but what a miracle to be able to look at your little guy and know that he is yours and your his.

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  8. Alisa Winslow

    Excellent blog. You are right to be scared because you are indeed about to be totally overcome with an indescribable love. And many of the fears you describe could happen. I wanted a natural birth but marginal previa had different ideas. You won’t write as much or read as much, at least for the first two years. But however you get to Motherhood, it will be the best experience of your life. Espcecially sweet for those of us who fought so hard for it. I can’t wait to read about your journey through motherhood.

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    • Steph Mignon

      What a thoughtful comment. Thank you. I’m letting myself get a little more excited at the thought of being a mother while trying not to “think” too hard about all the things that could go wrong. And yes, I think what you’ve described is reality…. the next two years really will be dedicated to caring for my child and while I’ll miss the freedom of now, I already know any and every sacrifice will be totally worth it.

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  9. josamarie

    I love this… I hate the “you’re never going to sleep again, get prepared for life as you know to end” comments! Just like you said, DUH! It wasn’t an easy journey to get here, of course it’s not going to be easy going forward, that’s what makes it all so WORTH IT!

    We did Max’s nursery in the exact same colors, can’t wait to see how yours turned out! I’m in love with the color combo (which we chose because I was too lazy to paint the orange walls that came with the house we bought last year… I don’t think I’d have thought of it on my own!)

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