Thank you so much for being patient with me over the last couple of months. I know so many of you are Moms - and Dads who help Moms through these tough times - and know firsthand what it's like to survive that first trimester. We've made it through, and I'm so happy to tell you that I think the worst of it has passed, and I am already making sawdust again!
I really thought Grace would be my only child.
The two years that followed the birth of my daughter Grace were the most difficult of my life. We had one of those babies, you know the ones who don't sleep, don't take a bottle or pacifier; scream in their car seats, scream when anyone but mamma holds them, scream all night? That was our Gracie.
I don't recall a single moment when my baby sat on my lap and was just content. I nursed her for 8-10 hours a day, anything to make the crying stop. And in the hours I ran out of milk, I walked her in circles, distracting her by bouncing her, showing her pictures, taking her outside. I wore the straps right off a brand new baby backpack before she out grew it.
I felt hopeless and helpless. Doctors just shrugged their shoulders and told me that some babies are just "that way" and to do my best.
Even now, just writing about those two years, I find myself feeling anxious and stressed. And as this new baby grows bigger each day, I have more fear than excitement about it arrival.
Yes, I am scared. I am terrified. What if I just can't do it again?
This fear is what has kept me for seven years from having another child. As much as I love my daughter, I have lost my confidence in myself that I am capable of bringing another baby home and caring for it. I am not capable.
So what has changed?
A few months back, my daughter, who now is a happy, content child, and I were driving home from my sister's house. And little Gracie asked me, "Mom, when I grow up and have kids, who's going to be their Auntie?"
I didn't know what to say. I have one of those relationships with my sister where we can hang out at each other's house all day and where are kids are all treated as our own.
"Mom, when I grow up, who's house am I going to bring my kids to and hang out?"
I just told her I didn't know, and changed the subject. But that conversation haunted me. Siblings are so important in my own life, and my siblings are even more important in my daughter's life. I felt sad for my daughter, resented myself for not having the courage to give her a sibling.
And as I looked at my daughter, I realized something else.
No matter how difficult those first two years were, no matter how long every endless night was, no matter how hopeless and helpless I felt, one thing I am absolutely certain of.
It was worth it.
And I'd gladly go through it all over again than to not have Gracie in my life. I'd gladly spend the rest of my life not sleeping with a screaming baby on my back, than to not have my daughter.
Our new baby comes in December. As fearful as I am of having a newborn again, I know it will be worth it.
Our children are our greatest projects of all.