Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On Motherhood

Angie, over at 7 Clown Circus has asked bloggers to write about what motherhood is to them. This is what I've come up with.

I never had that strong urge many young girls get, the urge that tells them they want to eventually be a mother. Sure, I used to play house with my friends, pretending I was the mom to that perfect imaginary baby.

As a young teenager I started thinking up names for my future children, the children I would have with my first boyfriend, Matt. If we had a son, he would be Reese, after a character in the movie Terminator. I never did have a son and luckily no children came of my young relationship with Matt. I do still love the name Reese though.

When Jimmy and I married, having children wasn't even on our radar. I always knew that he wanted to some day be a father, but I was still in that undecided, terrified stage. I've always been an extremely codependent person. How the hell could I nurture a child when I couldn't even nurture myself?

But it happened, and quite suddenly. One day, when we had been married for three years or so it finally popped into my head. I think I'd like to get pregnant. Not, I want to be a mom; I hadn't thought that far ahead. I was more interested in the whole experience of being pregnant.

I think it was two months later that the little stick thing turned up with a blue line. Happiness, yes. Terror? Hell yes. It finally hit me. I'm pregnant, but holy shit, there's going to be a baby when the pregnancy is done!

How am I going to do this? What if I get morning sickness? Throwing up is my worst fear in the whole world. And even if I don't get morning sickness, babies get sick! How am I going to deal with that?

I wish I could tell you that once Mikayla was born the phobia went away, or at least got better. But it didn't. In fact, it got exponentially worse. And it wasn't just the emetophobia that was affecting me, but agoraphobia and panic disorder. I never went anywhere alone with Mikayla for nearly the entire first year of her life.

Fast forward another three years or so when I had another, I want another baby moment. A month later, I was pregnant with Madison.

Now I've got two girls dependent on me, plus a host of phobias and "mental" disorders which affect my life every. single. minute. of every. single. day.

There has not been even one time that I have gotten in the car with my kids without thinking, "What if they get sick? What will I do?" I completely freak out around any kind of gastrointestinal illness. You've heard of the flight or fight response? Mine is flight, then catatonia.

All of this to tell you that motherhood, to me, is a daily challenge. Yes, it is a challenge to every mom, but for me it goes beyond the everyday trial and errors that come along with children. I live in constant fear of something that to most other people is just a normal bodily function. An unpleasant one, to be sure, but something that is not feared and obsessed over 24/7. Do my fears affect my children in a negative way? Hell yes, and I hate it that it does. I've tried my hardest to hide my ever-present terror from my girls but I've only been partially successful. Mikayla is my strong, fearless child, the one who helps shelter Madison from my weaker moments. Madison, on the other hand, is her mother's daughter and already exhibits signs of having the same "issues" as me, fear of what she terms #3 among them.

My different problems make me less of a mother than I want to be, but I still wouldn't change having my girls for all the money in the world. Because I may not be a perfect mom, or even a really good one, but I do the best I can, and hope that with enough love from me, my girls will never look back and wish they had a different kind of mother. I pray that somehow I will be able to instill in them the independence that I have never had. I will wrap them up securely in my love, my respect for them, my dreams for their futures. And if one day they become the strong, powerful, loving, independent women I wish them to be, maybe then I will be able to look back and feel pride in knowing that in some small way I helped get them there.

Sharing a silly moment with Mikayla, December 2008

My sweet princess, August, 2009

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

30 "Sister" Lovin' Friends Said:

  • Muthering Heights

    This is a very sweet post! I think it's a daily challenge for all of us! :)

  • niartist

    You're an excellent mother! I mean, you didn't make them push you out of the mud when you got stuck that time ... I think that counts like SUPER HIGH! LOL!, but then again, I don't have kids! LOL!

  • santamaker

    Justine, I think your girls are very lucky to have you as their Mom. You love them like no other mom could and I know that they'll share your sense of humor and there's really nothing better than those silly moments when we laugh till we pee!
    As for the phobias, heck, we all have our issues. Most people try and deny we have problems, at least you are open and honest about them. Wish my girls were still your girls' ages. What fun!

  • Cole

    What a great post, Tiney!!

    You are an AWESOME mom. Hopefully, one day I get to be as good a mom as you are.

  • Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria

    Oh honey I think we all had fears about being a good Mama...I know I sure did and many times as my girls were growing up I ddidn't have the time I needed to spend with them...but being a single parent was not easy on me...Thank God for Wally coming into my life then...But girl you know all my kids are now older than you and when I see them I see all the things I instilled into them now as young wife's and mothers and grandmas now...so all the fears I did have have been long gone...My girls were the Best gift God ever gave to me...you'll be just fine Justine...always be honest with them and they will grow up to be honest with you...I have always had an open heart and open door policy with my girls...Great post my friend...Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  • Stephanie

    This was really sweet. I think your girls have an excellent example of a strong, independent woman. You rock, Mama.

  • Swirl Girl

    What a touching and honest post. We all face our challenges everyday - to the best of our ability. This IS as good as it gets...as they say.

    Your kids are lucky to have you in their corner.

  • Erin

    What a great story! Children are the best, they have unconditional love and they say show me all your faults and I will love you in spite of them!

  • Swirl Girl

    this is so honest -
    I don't think any of us are without our doubts about being a good mom.

    that only makes us human.

  • blueviolet

    That was beautiful, Justine! None of us are perfect though. We just do the best we can, right?!

  • Bird Shit and Baby Caca

    Great post and great pics!

  • ♥georgie♥

    Loved this Justine! LOVED IT! I so wish we lived closer i just know we would be friends!

    I apologize for not stopping by sooner-you got a bloggy redo i LOVE it! who did it?

  • Amy

    I think we all do the best we can... even when dealing with #3...HA!

  • Susie

    Perfection is overrated! Great post and lovely pictures.

  • squawmama

    Great story Tiney... You are a GREAT MOM and never forget that... I know your sweet girls think you are the bestest ever!

    Love & Hugs

  • Scary Mommy

    What an amazing post!! I think we'd get along really, really well. :)

  • Rachelle

    Justine...thank you for such an open and honest post. We all have our issues and thats what makes us who we are today. You are a good person and your girls are very lucky to have you for their mother.

    P.S. Love your new blog design!

  • Sophia

    Justiney....loved this post. You had me cracking up throughout the whole thing. Your phobias...of how to take care of baby when you can't take care of yourself...hahahah..LOVE it. I can tell you are a terrific mother though! Kudos to you! :)

  • Anonymous

    Like the line from Juno 'being pregnant typically leads to having a baby.' ;)

  • Ginger

    Very honest post about being a mom and your fears. I can relate to the panic attacks.
    Your girls seem to be pretty well rounded from all your posts about them I've read. It sounds to me like you are a great mom.

  • Michele

    Your girls are very lucky to have you for a mom...I still say your family sounds so fun!

    I'm having more panic attacks now with Cassie's baby, than I did when I had them!


  • Mayhem and Moxie

    Your post was absolutely amazing. I think we all approach the journey of motherhood differently. However, your story proves that there are definitely certain "truths" that unite us all.

    Thank you!


  • Gayle

    Hi Justine,
    Great post. Your girls are just beautiful! And so are you.:0)
    And, I'm SURE they count their blessings to have you as a mama.


  • Kelly's Ideas

    I am touched by your honesty....

    Thank you.

    Love to you.

  • Rena

    It's really hard not to push our own fears onto our children. Great post, btw!

  • bj

    Oh, Tiney...I do love your new blog dress. It is just perfect!!
    I still haven't figured out how I lost you for a bit....
    And, your love for your girls comes thru your postings so strong. No matter what you think, they are blessed to have such a loving mom. And, issues?...gosh o'mighty, don't cha know that we AL..... EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US..... have some kind of "issues". I don't have room or time to list all of MINE!! Too dang many!! :)
    hugs, bj

  • Life with Kaishon

    What a wonderful post! I love the pictures. Your daughter is very beautiful! And AMEN to motherhood being so many things.... I can tell you are doing a great job because your love is abundant and isn't that the most important thing of all?

  • 4 Lettre Words

    Lovely post...and blog! Just stopping by from the SSS '09 linky list. :o)

    Have a great weekend!

  • Life on Bonnie Lane

    I think you are an awesome mom! Believe me, no one is perfect and we have ALL screwed up at one time or another! As for phobias, mine is heights. I can. not. do them.

    I always knew I wanted to be a mother, from the time I was a little girl and that feeling never went away. But right now, I do NOT want to be a grandma! Someday maybe, but not now. And no, there is no bun baking in the newlywed daughter's oven, but SHE would be thrilled if there was!


  • Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

    That was absolutely beautiful, Justine! None of us are perfect, and you are an awesome mom! :)