*this post was actually written the day before I went into labor, and I neglected to share it. As I read it again, I am even more perplexed by these thoughts and questions, and look forward to your insight and feedback 🙂
You may be wondering where I have been for the last month.
I mean, I did pretty much fall off the face of the planet for a bit.
Or maybe you were not wondering at all.
Either way, I’ll fill you in: I’ve spent the last month growing a baby to full term in my belly (something that can be quite exhausting), packing our entire house and moving (also quite exhausting when considering the first), working out as much as possible, and FINALLY FINISHING MY EDUCATION.
That last one was probably the most draining, if I am honest. It only took me something like fifty-seven years to complete, but I can finally say (with a smile on my face) that I am done! I have a degree in my hand, and a major accomplishment under my belt.
Well, actually, I don’t have the degree in my hand because they have to mail it me, but you get the point.
Although writing is one of my greatest passions, I have actually really enjoyed taking a small break and just focusing on one thing (not really) at a time, and having copious amounts of time to just think.
My thoughts lately have almost entirely revolved around family and relationship. With the upcoming birth of our sweet Sadie Rae, I find myself analyzing every possible scenario, regarding both her birth and our lives after she arrives.
I can say with certainty that I have the absolute best partner possible for this journey, and I am daily humbled and blown away by him in about a million ways. I can also say with certainty that I am terrified.
I know, I know, every new mom is terrified, right?
That’s probably true, but the “new mom” stuff is not what I am most afraid of. I mean, sure, I will have plenty of sleepless nights and rough mornings with tired eyes, but I have almost over anticipated that. And yes, there are a million things to figure out regarding caring for a baby, even if you have done it before. Add to that all of the expectations, both self inflicted, as well as from other people, and all of the judgements regarding decisions, and pre-judgements regarding your abilities, and it is a LOT.
But what I am terrified of, to be entirely vulnerable, are relationship dynamics.
I don’t know what is right or wrong, and I don’t know how one can ever know, because each of us has our own beliefs, culture, upbringing, personality traits, pet peeves, sensitivities, values, love languages, and dreams and goals.
And who am I to say that mine are right and yours are wrong?
But it gets tricky when you start thinking about a precious child that you have nourished and grown for nearly ten months inside of you… carefully praying over every decision you make in order to guard and protect that child and keep her safe.
And then all of a sudden in a single moment, you are supposed to expose that child to the world and all of its chaos?
I mean, how?
When the entire world around you has their own dreams and desires, their own values and beliefs, as well as their own ideas and expectations regarding their relationship with your child, how do you know what the right or wrong choice is?
I mean, sure, there’s the “Sorry, my kid, my rules” way to go, but then what does that do to relationship?
I am a firm believer in good, strong boundaries- even in healthy friendships and families- and sometimes boundaries hurt those who are less familiar with boundaries, and possibly don’t have healthy ones, but how do you decide which boundaries can be more loose and which ones are firm when it comes to your own child?
I remember once a very close friend of mine- the matron of honor in my wedding- actually told (not asked) me that they were no longer allowing their toddler to kiss anyone on the face other than her and her husband. I was saddened, but not because she set a boundary. I was saddened at the thought of even having crossed a boundary in the first place, but thankful that she was bold enough to make the choice that she felt was best for her family.
I always think about that, and perhaps it was hard and scary for her, but she was firm.
And that’s the thing- I think it is okay to be firm and not feel guilty. What I am not certain of is how you determine which things are needed to be firm, and what it looks like to communicate those things in such a way that you can walk away from a conversation knowing you honored your own beliefs and honored the other person in your communication, and allow God to work in that person’s heart regarding their response and emotions towards the boundary.
This is my food for thought, and I would love any and all perspective on this one.