Fear of the Unknown vs Fear of the Known

I’m having trouble.

I’m currently in the blissful weeks of pregnancy. The afternoon nausea has gone, and I’m mostly even keeled (with the exception of dealing with a very trying almost 4 year old. WHEW I WILL BE GLAD WHEN THIS STAGE IS OVER. THERE I SAID IT.) I mostly am symptom free, and not yet in the showing + feeling kicks stage.

And yet, I am petrified.

Last pregnancy I was nervous, in the “can I do this? Can I really be a parent?” naivete way. But this time around? Petrified. I see pictures online of my friends’ brand new baby and I’m propelled backward in time with all of this new knowledge and I’m like “no no no no no this can’t be happening to me.” Like, wake me up from the nightmare.

Rationally I know I’ll survive, as we do. But thrive? Boy am I concerned about that. I sit in stillness for a minute and try to imagine a tiny wriggling 8lb baby on my chest while my son yells “mommy more orange juice” from the living room and think, “what the fuck have I gotten myself into?”

The fear of the known has always been hard for me. During sports seasons I would DREAD the daily conditioning, even to the point of making myself occasionally vomit to avoid practice. Knowing what was to come was terrible. The anxiety buildup was beyond what I could control. Something sprung on me in the moment isn’t fun, but I suck it up and deal much better. So having 10 months to think about this impending doom (as I can’t help but conceptualize it) is crazy scary.

And then I get the mommy guilt trip that I’ve thus avoided with my son so far. But this worry that somehow my antepartum anxiety is going to effect this little one. That I’ll give birth to a neurotic daughter* and thus feel terrible for creating a child just like myself.

I spin and spin and annoy myself to no end. Despite the fact that I know I will be okay. I’ve been okay this whole time, and I will be okay again, but I’m petrified of the hard parts. With my son I didn’t know what to expect. And so once he was born I rushed headlong into parenting with a naivete that I’m afraid will be tampered down by my obsessional desire to conserve energy at all costs.

Can anyone at all relate? Am I completely a nutcase?

Lego Ninjago does nothing for  my liberal "it's a culture, not a costume," leanings. At what age will I have to enforce that?

Lego Ninjago does nothing for my liberal “it’s a culture, not a costume,” leanings. At what age will I have to enforce that?

Enough love to go around? YES. Enough patience? Now that’s the real question…

Google Image Search: expanding a family

We’re thinking of having another baby.

Gulp.

There, I said it, and didn’t put any fluffiness around it like, ‘expanding our family,’ or some such nonesense. No, we’re talking about trying to get knocked up…sometime this summer, hopefully, to coincide with my teaching schedule next year. While best laid plans don’t always go how we want (Potamus was an oopsie 3 months early), we’re going to at least TRY. But the whole ordeal is giving me major anxiety, because I’m struggling in so many ways AS IT IS, that it seems ridiculous to think about bringing another child into my world of wacky.

Now, don’t get me wrong, half of what I write about is my own perspective of the crazy, because Boof looks at me and says, “you’re a good mom,” and from someone who’s stingy with compliments, I know he means it. It means I’m probably a pretty good mom, to one kid, most of the time. But I wonder…how will that look if we add another munchkin into the mix?

So here are a few things that I’ve been mulling over, and talked with Boof about last night:

1. I want a daughter VS I want a sibling for Potamus

I know that most people are all about “oh, I want a happy healthy baby,” but I really would like a daughter. I don’t know why…maybe karmic replay of the relationship of my mom/me or my birthmom/me? Perhaps? Maybe I have fantasies about her being just like me and me getting to see myself growing up before my eyes and can provide a way for her to feel safe and nurtured and not like the epic weirdo. I see the relationships that my MIL has with my SILs and think, “hmm, that could be me someday.” Or maybe I think that pink onesies and Easter outfits and ballet slippers are SO FREAKING ADORABLE that they’re messing with my head. I want to be a mom of a son and a daughter.

Boof wants a sibling for Potamus.

Well, technically he wants a sister for Potamus.

While he admits he wants a girl, a daughter, he’s more selfless in wanting that sibling for our son. I think that having another child will be a potential side-perk for our son, but really, it’s because I want to have a daughter and a son, like I mention above.

Does wanting a daughter, rather than wanting a “healthy baby” make me sound like a horrible person?

2. Fear

I’m afraid of many things. Before we had Potamus I worried about being a mom and having energy, and now I see that I worried almost needlessly. I’m a pretty good mom. And Boof’s a pretty good dad. And we have a pretty good kid. Our life is lovely, right now, and I worry that the fear of adding another is clouding my ability to simply enjoy the moment as a family of 3 + dog. I also worry about #1 and think…if I had a son, I know I’d love him to bits, but I am afraid of being a mom of two sons. Two boys. Two boys + a husband. Two boys + a husband + a male dog. For a woman with a bent toward the masculine, anyway, that image makes me feel both exhilerated at¬†the¬†thought (YAY ROUGH AND TUMBLE, BOY STEREOTYPES!) and also push me into the opposite (there’s a reason I’ve showered and worn mascara every day since Potamus was born…I need to feel other like a mother and that, in my mind, is feminine and homemakery).

3. Love. Patience. & other Parenting things that freak me out…

I know I’m a mom, but the older Potamus gets, the more I feel like myself again…aka that introvert who loves sipping coffee and reading on the couch. I’ve gotten some time in the past week to do that and it feels SO GOOD. I worry that bringing another life into our family will mean holding off on all of those things, AGAIN, and that seems sad. And yet, on the other hand, really? Am I really thinking about not having a kid because I want to read some books? I mean, come on Monk-Monk, that’s just silly.

But there’s something, in my head, about being a mom of one that seems less threatening than being a mom of two. One kid you can reason with. Two means being pulled in two different directions. Twice as much mess and playdates and sporting events. That seems like twice as much work and cutting me in half, leaving how much for…me? Selfish, sure, but a worry I have.

The love, though, is something I’m not worried about (but previously was). We were laying there talking and it blurted out, “I’m not worried about there not being enough love to go around, but enough patience to go around.”

Patience is not really my strong suit. I hate waiting, which is why WAITING to even get pregnant is driving me insanse. I’d rather plunge into the unknown, otherwise I sit in a puddle of anxiety. But seriously, when we say my “patience is wearing thin,” I think of life with two kids. Does patience, like love, expand to fit when more enter the family brood? Is patience a finite resource that I might use up the day before our new potential new baby enters the scene?

I realize that my impatience is the space between what I want to have happen and what is actually happening, so I wonder if I dial back my expectations and give up the idea that sleep is important, that my patience will expand to meet the demand? I don’t know, I worry about that, though.

For all of you two+ families, how did you make the decision to add to your brood? What were your fears? For those of you in a similar place or having decided “one’s enough, thanks”, what prompted you to make that decision?

A sledgehammer to November

Potamus stuck his snot-nose hands in my mouth last week and gave me his green germy nose bug, including sore throat, stuffy nose when trying to sleep, and runny faucet during the awake hours. I am so fucking tired that I seriously want to punch someone. It doesn’t help that Boof still has little job prospects and I feel like I am tasked with the enormous burden of providing for my family and still having emotional energy leftover for a whiny snot-nosed baby who hasn’t seen me all day.

I didn’t sign up for this.

In fact, it was my worst fear. Because, after all, I don’t really like children all that much. On any given day, about 95% of the time I am in love with Potamus, but the other times I am pissed that I have to, yet again, deal with his needs.

And I can’t imagine NOT co-sleeping, but my sleeping is for shit, and I can’t seem to find the magic sweet-spot that accommodates both of our needs: his to nurse all night because of reverse cycling and mine to sleep more than 1:30 at a time.

Add insult to injury, Scrummy will not stop peeing and shitting all over the house. But not like “accident” puddles, they are full on puddles marking the corner of the chair, the jumparoo, the high chair, the bookshelf we store Potamus’ carseat on, and the kitchen counter. Pooping in strategic shmeary places, too.

My emotions come leaking out in destructive ways, like wanting to take a sledgehammer to Facebook, as it is the month of sappy “gratitude” posts from all my friends whose lives seem full of “snuggly kitties” and “lost 20 dollar bills found in couch cushions,” and “breathmints,” all making their life so fucking wonderful.

And then, my natural tendency toward depression as the light gets less each day, is supposed to be assuaged by the “end of daylight savings,” which really just means “fuck over your circadian rhythm and spend the next week fighting sleep even more.”

Sigh.

So tonight, I’m grateful I don’t actually own a sledgehammer, and that Amazon doesn’t do same day deliveries…

 

Now What? Moving on After Rejection.

I’m trying to remind myself that we are all made of sparkle dust, souls merely existing earth-bound for a period of time, and that, in cliche terms, this too shall pass, but hot damn I haven’t cried so much in months.

Yesterday Boof found out that the job he wanted, the firm we felt SO good about, the one he had built relationships with people who seemed to really get him and be excited to offer him a job…isn’t going to happen. The official rejection letter came on Saturday. We were crushed. Not just crushed because, at this moment, he has no other options lined up, and that firms are so far into their interviewing/hiring process that he has virtually no shot, but because we had felt so good about it. So good. That gut feeling that I always get when something is going to work out…yeah…that meter is clearly off now.

Square one.

In the practical reality of things, nothing has changed, save the hope that things would be different come the first of the year. Boof is still studying for his CPA exams, watching Potamus in conjunction with his own mom, and we are still scrimping and relying on our in-laws to float us indefinitely. I am still the not-quite-enough-breadwinner, the one who gets up in the dark and leaves my sleeping boys to trudge through rainy traffic to the ‘office.’

Nothing has really changed.
And we aren’t even at risk for feet of flooding like my East Coast friends.

Sparkle on.

Focus, Intention, Purpose

ImageThe last few weeks at work have been hard. I wonder if they’ve FELT harder than they actually have been, though, since I tend to project anxiety and fear and frustration onto events and then focus on them intently. It’s like a meditation, an object of focus, and that tends to be the fear/anxiety/frustration spot that my mind rests on, rather than on the wide open space between all of the crises that arise. I think that’s the largest challenge in my line of work…navigating the space between the fires I have to put out.

So, this week I’ve been trying to focus on the large gaps of amazing time I get to spend with Potamus, as this summer IS slower than the busy season. I am also trying to focus on setting an intention for the future, but not trying to propel my anxious self too far ahead. It’s like that biblical verse about only fretting about today because tomorrow will take care of itself. I tend to try and project my current, very anxious preoccupied self, into the future, and into the busy season and think “oh my god, I can’t handle this. I can’t handle workin 16 hour days and shuffling my baby around between places.” But truthfully, that ISN’T happening (yet), as I am currently at home watching The Olympics with Potamus snoozing peacefully in our bed. It’s his 2nd nap of the day and it’s not even 1pm. Not stressfull. No crisis here, and with only 1 client on my caseload (and they are currently in the inpatient unit) I don’t have a whole lot to do.

So I’ve tried to open my heart, set an intention toward abundance and structure in the job department..or in the life department actually. The last time I did this, when I was in a session with Courtney, I ended up having the craziest experience afterward: I got a new job, found out I was pregnant and bought a new house…all within a few months. I was at a place where I was open to change, to abundance, to newness and fullness, but lately I’ve felt small and constricted, like the Grinch who’s heart was too small. My heart feels like a raisin that’s additionally dried out and shrivelly because it was kicked under the couch and has been relaxing next to lint for the past 7 weeks.

I’ve noticed a subtle shift inside me because of this new focus. I’ve actually found several jobs online that I think I would love AND fit my criteria of part-time or structure. Hmm, perhaps my whole world doesn’t hinge on one perfect position. Perhaps, as Anne Lamott says, I can just hop from stepping stone spotlight to the next. Even simply seeing different options for work gives me hope.