I am beginning to think I should have read through this list before I committed. Yikes...it gets kind of deep! I am hoping by the end of this, I will be a more well rounded person. One can hope, right? Moving on...
Day 3: Something you have to forgive yourself for.
I need to forgive myself for not being the perfect mother.
As long as I can remember I have always LOVED children. It was my dream to one day have 5 or 6 of my own. I have spent most of my life, from probably about 5 on, taking care of children. Whether it was my little brother, my neighbors' children, the nursery at church, teaching bible classes, sponsoring a child through the mail, Camp Fire groups, or babysitting...you name it...I ALWAYS found a way to be around and/or involved with children. I just LOVED kids.
As I got older, I started to realize that my desire to have children wasn't totally because I just loved kids. While that was a huge part of it, I had a very strong desire to have someone in my life that was a part of me. Being an adopted child raised in a family with bio-siblings, you reach a point where you realize that you don't have your mom's nose, your dad's eyes, your grandma's laugh, your aunt's jawline, etc. I reached a point where I wanted to be able to have someone that was my flesh and my blood. Selfish? Totally. But I wanted it all the same.
When I got married and we were expecting out first babies, TWIN girls, I was so excited. Not only was I going to have two babies, they were ours. They would have my genes. Maybe my smile, maybe their dad's nose..honestly, I didn't care. I was just thrilled to have a connection, for the first time, to another being...or two. :) That was until we lost them 6 months into my pregnancy. I was crushed, hurt, and devastated to my core. There are no words to describe that pain. Not only were my baby girls gone, a huge part of me was gone too. Two lives that were a part of me, were now buried in the ground. Only my heart knew the love that I had for them. I got to snuggle their tiny bodies, hold their perfect little hands, and kiss their tiny fingers and toes, and, of course, their little noses (definitely their daddy's!)and then let them go.
Letting go was hard. Choosing a funeral home, finding a cemetery, picking out a casket...there are no words. The days before and after were miserable. I was left to wonder. Why did God take my babies from me? Did he think I would not have been a good enough mother? Did he know that I would fail them time and time again? Did he think I couldn't handle taking care of them? I begged, and pleaded with God for weeks. Promising him that if he would give me another chance I would be THE BEST mom. Well, almost 2 months after we lost our baby girls, I became pregnant again. I was cautiously optimistic throughout the entire pregnancy, but almost 11 months to the date that we lost our little girls, we had our little girl.
I was elated about our newborn, but reality slowly started setting in. Motherhood was nothing like I thought it would be. It didn't matter whose smile or nose she had, there was a LOT of work and emotions that went into raising her. Not only was I dealing with crazy postpartum hormones, but I was also dealing with the loss of the twins and, SURPRISE, my first mom decides she's ready to enter my life. I WAS A MESS! All the promises I made to God about being the very best mother in the world seemed to go right out the window. I hated myself more times then I can count for not being a better mom, making better choices, knowing what to do in all situations, etc. AND to make things even better, 4.5 years later we had a little boy AND 3 years after that we added another little girl to the mix.
I still struggle with motherhood at times. However, I am also starting to realize that it was very unrealistic to think that I should be the perfect mom. Yes, raising children brings an abundance of responsibility upon myself, but I also need to give myself a break every now and then. My thoughts about raising children prior to actually having them were solely based on my need to feel like I belonged somewhere...I wanted "my people", so to speak. My thoughts since having children have drastically changed. Yes, it's nice to finally see myself in another little being (that has turned out to be a bit scarier then I ever realized!!), but there's so much more to it then that. I am so very thankful for my five little blessings. Even though my time with two of my children was short-lived, they have all taught me in one way or another how to be a better person. I'm so thankful for them and also grateful that I have reached a point that I can forgive myself for not being the perfect mother that I feel they deserve.
Looking at the road ahead, I have a long haul in this job as a mom. I want to enjoy it. I want to set a good example for my children. The only way that I feel I can do that is to do what I think is best (and not beat myself up when I later realize that I should have done it differently) and just be entirely me...their imperfect mother that loves them unconditionally with all of my heart and soul.