Lately, God has been teaching me a lot about patience and submission. Patience with His will for my life, and Submission to that will.
Life after Becky's birth has been very difficult. I have been dealing with feelings of anger and helplessness. Postpartum is hard. Most of managing a baby falls on the woman, and I am a woman who has two kids under three.
Some of it is my choice: I breastfeed, so I am my nurslings only food source right now. And it's wonderful that I can breastfeed. So many want to and can't. I see the grace in it; how I save so much money (formula is expensive) and I love the fact that I am able to soothe Rebekah with just a lift of my shirt. Yet it also does not allow me space from my child. Sometimes all I feel like is a milk machine. Sometimes all I do is hold a baby. Sometimes this makes me very weary and vexed with life. I am more than a mother; but I am a mother. These two things must exist together, but often I feel at war with myself.
Recently I have been struck at how much my body has changed after giving birth to my two wonderful blessings. There are rolls. There is sagging. There are times I look in the mirror and don't recognize myself. I mourn my prebaby body still, and probably always will. I think this is unique to women--my husband, although a loving and Godly man who I greatly esteem--cannot quite understand. His body is unchanging, his sex drive unaffected by small humans, engorged breasts and sleepless nights. He goes to the bathroom by himself, showers by himself, mostly unaware of my lonely days of parenting while he is at work.
That reminds me of a funny story. I was in the shower, and my husband decided to get in the shower too. I had asked him to watch the kids, but two minutes into my shower he decided he also needed to be clean, and I heard him start doing just that in the other shower downstairs. And of course that was when Becky started crying, and I could hear her. I thought he would get her, (because I specifically asked him to watch the kids) but he continued showering. So I got out.
That was when the fight started. I just wanted to shower alone, I said. Can't you just watch the kids for 10 minutes so I can enjoy some hot water? He looked baffled. You always take a quick shower, he said. He assumed I'd be right out. Yes, I explained. I usually take a quick shower. But this time I specifically asked you to watch them so I could enjoy a shower by myself for quite a while longer than I usually do. You could have taken Becky with you, I said. You could take her in the bathroom and put her in her chair. I do it all the time.
He looked so confused. Take her with me? I remember him saying that was impossible, how could he shower and watch a baby. That was too many things at once.
And that was when I realized he had no idea that I have to take one of the kids with me when I use the bathroom. Every time. Whenever I am alone. It dawned on me, as I stood there dripping wet in my towel and trying not to cry in frustration, that when he is home we are together. I've never left him with both kids. He has never parented them alone yet. He has no idea.
I told him I always have to take one kid with me when I shower or when I use the bathroom. Every time when he isn't there. His eyes got wide, he'd never thought of it before.
How else would I shower? I asked. I mean, the two year old will sit on his sister. That can't happen, so one of them must come with me.
Our conversation eventually ended, but I'm still thinking about it. And laughing.
I was upset that day, but now I chuckle. Communication really is key in marriage! I need to communicate my needs more for sure.
It's been almost six months since Becky was born, and I have left him with both kids for a few times when I've run out now--but never long. The breastfeeding--you know, you need breasts for that. And it happens frequently. More frequently than I would like sometimes. Hah.
Anyway, women that choose to have children--its a burden I think we alone carry, like the weight of the baby in our bellies--for awhile, postpartum. So many intricate things I do at home for my husband that he never even hears about! I am glad God made women strong to carry this burden.
I was struck by that today.
I am trying to look at my body with pride now, not with disdain. A body that carried two babies and lost four. A body that allows me to do the things I love and be the person I want to be. A gift from God, not a tragedy. It's hard. I feel ruined sometimes. I look at my husband (who recently lost 50 pounds) and how pregnancy and childbirth has unaffected him physically and I am envious. Then I look at myself, and all I can see is the effects of my pregnancy on me and how it has changed me. I carry these marks and these afflictions upon my body and I, only I, know that weight of that. It's strange sometimes.
But God is good. And he will give me what I need to carry me through these two pregnancies, and any others He sees fit to bless me with.