It Takes a Village

During the last several weeks of our pregnancy, I have noticed some interesting things about myself.  I am more irritable.  I am more impatient.  One might say, more easily annoyed. And perhaps the things that I am most easily annoyed with happen to be things that my husband is, or is not doing to help prepare for our impending arrival.

Let's just say, my mood has been "special." And, since I am not carrying our baby, I cannot blame it on my hormones.  This has made things a little tricky at home, as my motherly, nesting instincts set in very early on in the pregnancy and I have admittedly been a bit of a "Tiger Wife," since.

I joke about my feelings, of course, but because they weren't fleeting, I became concerned.  I walked into my therapist's office as I do every Wednesday, sat down and said, "How on earth could I be thinking about running away with my baby when all I have ever wanted is to start a family and nurture it with my husband?? I am concerned that Jeffrey and I do not meet eye-to-eye on some every fundamental things in life.  I am doubting all of the things that I thought I wanted!"  She paused, and gave me a surprised look, and just said "Ok, well, how so?"

Without getting into specifics, I came up with one example that was important to me. She explained that the experiences that we each have had in life, will lend to having varying viewpoints and ways of internalizing and handling situations. "It doesn't mean that you don't want the same thing, or agree on the same fundamental things in life", she said.

That made a lot of sense to me, but I was kind of on a mission to get her to agree with me at that point. I came up with another example and said, "Ok, well what about this! When I tell Jeff it is REALLY important to me that the house is COMPLETELY in order and organized BEFORE the baby arrives, I don't think that he takes me seriously. This may sound really frivolous, but I have asked him three times to please move the television off of the floor and find a new place for it.  We were going to mount it on the wall, but he said he didn't want to bother mounting an old TV on the wall.  Then we decided we would temporarily place it on a table, just to get it off the floor.

THEN I come to find out after bringing it up a third time that he would be "perfectly fine" leaving it on the floor "for about A YEAR!" I felt like I was speaking to a martian. I told my therapist that at the time, I explained to Jeff that these things may seem trivial, but that they are VERY important to me.  Our home is the space that I am going to be "working" in and spending most of my time in caring for our baby, and so it is even more important for me that it is organized and that it feels good to be in. He finally got it, but little things just continued to bother me and I was concerned I would harbor frustrations and anger and that it would turn into resentment.

I continued with my therapist and as I explained what I was feeling more, I was surprised.  After all that we have been through,  I guess I just didn't think that I would feel these things.  She stressed that what I was feeling is COMPLETELY NORMAL and that it is incredibly likely that other expectant mothers have felt the exact same things. She reminded me that even though I am not actually carrying our child, that I am spiritually and emotionally pregnant.  I am an expectant mother and all of the emotions that I am having, feeling protective, nesting, nurturing, are completely normal and biological in nature. .

In the animal kingdom, the mammas have to protect their young from predators-sometimes including their own fathers! Some, including Cheetah, raise their young in isolation.  So, I was just connecting with my inner Cheetah-ness, I suppose.

In all seriousness, I didn't like how I was acting and feeling...pushing my husband out of the picture?? Running away with my newborn baby? What the?! I wanted to make sure I addressed it BEFORE the baby arrived, if possible.  I told my therapist that I will remember that we are going to be a "triad" soon, and she said to remember that we are a COUPLE, and together, will be raising a child. That was my "aha moment".

It was a great session, to say the least and that evening I explained to Jeff that I know why I have been a little hard on him lately.  In the sweetest voice I have I said, "It's because I am afraid you are going to eat our baby..." I explained more and apologized for my behavior and for hurting his feelings.

The funny thing is that I was actually nervous going into that therapy session. Even in that safe environment, I was afraid of acknowledging that I had such thoughts. Shining light on them, however, revealed so much about myself and about the kind of mother and wife I hope to be. Now, if I can just remember this once the baby is born!

And not all mammas in the animal kingdom raise their children in isolation.  I am going to do my best to be a little more like the Swan or Penquin.  After all, it has literally taken a village just to bring this little being into the world and the more love surrounding him once he is with us, the better.