The other day, a friend posted a picture on Facebook from five years ago. She was sitting next to her friend, and they both had their babies sitting on their laps that looked to be about three months old. Her status read, “Look – When we still had sanity, and we thought we had none!” Today, she has three beautiful children, and her life looks much different, but this comment really made me think!
By Nicole Nowitzki
When you have your first child, your entire life is turned upside down! You went from having freedom and sanity to a classification of tired and overwhelmed that you didn’t know existed. You went from making plans weeks in advance to desperately finding time to pee, eat, and shower. You thought your job was stressful and hectic until you brought home this little bundle of joy, and then you realize that you had no clue what stress meant.
I sat in shock for quite a long time after reading her post. It made me think back to those real feelings. I was tired, stressed, worried about everything, and lonely. I was really, horribly, terribly lonely. I went from teaching 90 amazing 8th graders, having meetings, visiting with my awesome co-workers, making phone calls, and lesson planning, to sitting at home with this tiny human. Then, when my oldest son turned 2 months old, we moved to Colorado, and an entire new type of loneliness set in. I no longer had family, friends, or comforts of home. It was a strange type of anxiety that caused me to want to leave the house daily.
I finally started to get into the swing of things when he was about 10 months old. I got a job, signed my son up for daycare, and started making plans for the future, and then we found out we were pregnant with the twins. Number one, I didn’t know how on earth I was going to be able to take care of two tiny babies AND an 18-month-old. Number two, we now live in North Dakota, and we are even farther away from our families. I have no idea how I survived the entire experience, but I did.
I finally started to get a handle on life because the twins were walking, and I feel like children are so much happier when they can move around the house and play outside. Then, we found out we were pregnant again. How was I going to add a baby to this complete insanity? I seriously, honestly, truly didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I did.
I have a friend doing cancer treatments and she has a newborn. I have a friend that has two children, and one has intensive special needs. I have a friend that is at Mayo with her newborn, and every day is a new struggle. I have a friend that just lost her husband, and she has three small children. I have a friend that she and her husband both lost their jobs. They are all saying, “How am I going to do this?”, but they do. While you’re in the moment, you go day to day…minute by minute.
To be completely honest, I’m writing this to my old self… my first-time mom self. If you are scared to have another child, but you really want another one, do it. Shockingly, the second they are born, you can’t remember life before them. You just do things a little differently, but you just exchange one type of crazy for another. I didn’t believe it, but it’s true. I think about some of my other friends, and they have eight children and twelve children. My mind does backflips just thinking about it, and then I realize that they just do it, just like me.
Ultimately, as moms, we are usually going to be overwhelmed, but somehow, we make it work.
We put on our big girl panties and adult. Yes, life could always be worse, but moms don’t need to hear how their lives aren’t that bad. We need to be empathetic and remember how it felt or put ourselves in their shoes.