26 March 2012

Ten years


One of the hardest Sulvanisms for me to shake was the idea of spacing. It did not occur to me that I would be lighting each new pregnancy off the smolderings of the last. I was looking forward to the breaks that only seemed reasonable and necessary; I, like everyone else, had always lived break to break. Some months of not serving as host for another human life would keep me going. No weird clothes. No icky and embarrassing demands on my body for a while. Time for the baby to get bigger so it wouldn't be so rough adding another.

It didn't work out that way. Sometime in the last few days I lived the unknowable moment past which I have been pregnant, nursing, or both for ten years with no breaks in service. The part of me that finds this shocking has gotten smaller over those years, but she's still in here somewhere. While the lot of normally functioning woman is no longer unthinkable to me, it remains incredible and menacing and gargantuan. It is a tidal wave and I am a bicycle on the beach. To think of it makes me want to fall down on the floor and just lie there.

I'm good at faking my way through local life like a normal person; to do otherwise would make everyone miserable. But I always secretly feel like an alien around women with kids the age of my older kids, because I do not know any who are living the lot of normally functioning women like I am. They have moved on to basketball practice and bike rides. There are no maternity clothes boxed up in their closets, there is no nursing paraphernalia in their top drawers. Precedent indicates that the baby and preschool moms, my closer allies for now, will soon leave me to join the basketballers and bikers. But I'll probably still be here; pregnant, nursing, both.

I didn't get the memo. I'm the supermom nobody wants to be.

13 comments:

Gayle Wilson said...

I wish this was a bit like facebook so I could click "like" (like, I like your writing, your thought process, your heart) instead of trying to come up with a meaningful comment.

Angela said...

I'm not far behind you...pregnant, nursing, or both since September '02. Baby #4 was due Tuesday last, so even if he is the last I'm looking at a few more years of nursing once he arrives. It is tedious, the constant physical sustaining of little people. I cannot remember quite what is like to feel not...depleted on some level. There is blessing in that with each new babe the older children are a bit older, and oh what a useful thing a nine year old is.

Reb. Mary said...

Yeah. I keep noticing how much younger all my fellow preschool moms are getting.

Anonymous said...

What is a Sulvanism?

Lucy said...

That maybe explains why I was feeling so old on the maternity floor when our last was born. Like you, the old me is smaller, but still notices these things?

Gauntlets said...

Great point about smolderings.

Rebekah said...

Gayle, No meaningful comments necessary. Thanks for listening.

Angela--depleted. YES. Hope your waiting is over soon!

Anon, I refer to my contraceptive past as "Sulvan" in reference to the moon in CS Lewis' That Hideous Strength. It's shorter.

Aubri said...

I've heard it many times now, the concerned "Just give yourself a little break this time." I've never really known how to respond to that, other than to just start blubbering "I WISH I COULD!" (Our biggest gap between babes is 14 months.) I relished my 4 months of post-partum "normalcy" and just when I started to get that extra little pep in my step, I'm back to hosting our 5th blessing!

Mergog (that's my alien name)

Katy said...

Yay for Aubri! I feel this way when people encourage me by telling me how great it is to have all your babies so close together, instead of spread out over years, even though it doesn't feel like it now. Hmm, yeah. I know it's meant to be encouragement, but it really makes me tired

Emommy said...

Thanks for this. Now almost four months post-partum, I've been fighting the excitement of a summer of just-nursing (aka no pregnancy) with the ticking-clock feeling (aka wish we were blessed again). The stretched skin in my midsection is something I feel obligated to address, now that my body's not a host (kinda like eating lots of spinach when it is); at the same time, I'm terrified that we'll never be blessed with another child. The grass is always greener (maybe especially when I'm realizing that I'm slowly running out of wearable non-pregnancy clothes. When the preggo clothes look appealing, that should tell me something, right?).

Rebekah said...

Aubri, you are a FORCE. (I don't have an alien name, but I do have a brother who sometimes goes by Lortok.)

Katy, siiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

Emommy, my midsection makes its own rules and we're both less stressed that way. Try it! :D

Cathy said...

I was pregnant/nursing for 23 years, though I must confess, I did usually have some months between nursing and the next pregnancy, and that's a Huge Difference, I know, than smolderings. But a lot of the other things I can relate to. Like being in Moms' circles where the Moms are young enough to be my daughters. And just barely starting to imagine maybe I was getting some energy back, then getting hit with discouraging morning sickness again. Boxing and unboxing maternity clothes for twenty years. Crying, everytime, just trying to dress for church the first few weeks post partum. I don't feel so odd now, in the company of such as you. Thanks for saying it all so well, and may God grant you all His peace. You Are blessed.

Anonymous said...

When #1 DS started confirmation this year, I had a hard time adjusting. "Am I really old enough to have a kid in confirmation?" And then after that passed I realized, "Hey, I am old AND I am going to have baby #7 while #1 DS is starting confirmation" and then after that passed I counted up how many years my family would be involved in confirmation - 15 YEARS IN A ROW! LOL Then I talked to my pastor and told him that I would be an official volunteer for the confirmation program for the next 15 years. :D