At Home, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Life is crazy. We moved into Harvard student housing last week and it was a zoo. By God’s mercy my mom came into town and helped us pack. I seriously don’t think we would have made it without her help. She pretty much got into town and power housed her way through our apartment. The only downside to having her pack was how excessively she tapes boxes. It’s given us a lot of laughter as we unpack.
Now that we’re in the new place, I feel both deeply grateful and am dealing with a lot of anxiety. The place is really great, all things considered, and will be great with a kid. It’s much more accessible to campus, there is a washer and dryer, and tons of areas for children to play in – as well as tons of children themselves. Baby V definitely won’t lack for playmates.
With that said, though, I’m struggling with my pride, my limitations, my doubts, and my worth in this move. My pride is rearing up because this place is just so small and so unglamorous. While everyone else is buying houses and moving on in the world, we’re choosing to live in cramped student housing. I find myself worrying not about the apartment itself so much as I worry about what other people will think of it and of us in it. I’m facing my limitations because I am working a ton in order to live here rather than a half an hour away, and I feel overwhelmed wondering if it’s really sustainable with a baby. Can I really work as many hours as I’m committed to working in a week and can Trey really get through his PhD excellently with a baby on the way?
This is the most I feel doubt about it. I know a lot the emotions involved have to do with the fact that I just moved, the house is still a disaster, and I’m really, really behind on my thesis. But nonetheless, I’m starting to better imagine the realities of adding a baby to our lives and am trying to reckon what I foresee with everything I’ve committed to. Lord, please let this child be a good sleeper! And of course, with it all, as with any time I feel emotionally overwhelmed or stressed, I am really struggling with my self worth and the decisions I’ve made. Am I making the wrong decision by not trying to do a PhD myself right now? Are we insane for continuing with school through our 30s? If I can’t have as much academic success this year as I think I need to be in a good position for applying to programs later was this whole degree a waste? Is all of this pure drivel and instead I should be thinking only and solely of my kids?
I just want the answers to life and more often than not, answers are the most difficult thing to find in the world.
At Home, Arlington, Massachusetts
I'm starting to think about how I'm going to publish this journal on our blog and it's starting to fill me with fear. I don't fear people reading it, and I don't fear the reactions of the people close to me – I fear the backlash I might get from the whole confusing host of "mommydom." It seriously terrifies me to think about how much I might be judged. I could be judged for not embracing my body enough. I could be judged for having a hard time easing into motherhood. I could be judged for my own sinful tendency to judge. I could be judged for my insecurities. I know I could be judged on all of these things because I have witnessed women judge each other on each count.
I'm also afraid to share my rejoicing. Somehow, these days it feels like the good push to acknowledge women's struggles with infertility and miscarriage have made it hard to rejoice when one doesn't struggle with those things. Sometimes I honestly feel guilty about it. I remember having a huge amount of fear that certain friends would shun us as news of our pregnancy spread because they have struggled and we had no problems. I ache for them and I long for their burdens to be shared and carried communally, but I don't know what to do when I know people who actively shun their friends who do have good news. Having to choose between rejoicing and being shunned for it is a terrible thing. I try to mourn with those who mourn, and it really stings when those who mourn openly declare their inability or unwillingness to rejoice with those who rejoice. Scripture admonishes both to live in discomfort - for those who rejoice to take on the discomfort of mourning and for those who mourn to take on the discomfort of rejoicing, all for the sake of Christ's body.
As I think about sharing this journey of mine, what I fear is the inability of people to recognize that this has been precisely that – a journey. I fear being told that my journey is harmful to others. I fear being shunned by people I love because they decide they can't handle my happiness. Those who suffer often claim an inviolable perspective on life, and sometimes the rigidity of that perspective terrifies me.
("Punishment of Eros by Venus.")
About the Project
This is a very personal project. It tracks my growth and development as I journeyed toward motherhood over the recent years. It doesn't document every experience I had, and probably neglects my more joyful and peaceful moments in the frenzy of trying to communicate my fears, anxieties, and doubts. If you are a friend or loved one, please do not let anything you read here overshadow what you know of me personally. If you are a stranger, please remember that a living and flawed person stands behind these words. To all my guests here, please understand these are not political statements and try to extend me grace, even as I share my failures and foibles - I have repented of much of what I share. I don't share this journal as an exemplar, but rather out of the desire to share my hope that entrance to motherhood does not need to be a fearful thing - despite the very real fears I have fought against. Motherhood is simply a part of life and one through which I am discovering more of myself and my God.