Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Keeping it real - revised

Back in November, I wrote a post called "Keeping it real", in response to questions from people who wondered whether my life at home is perfect, and whether the positive image I always try to display on the blog has anything to do with reality.

Well, I thought that now that we have a baby around here, it's time to get back to the topic. First, I still fully stand behind what I said then:

"What I write on my blog rarely conveys my everyday frustrations; instead, I try to focus on the more profound, lingering satisfaction of being a wife and having my own home to tend to."

The way I see it, it's only reasonable to assume that any real person behind any website, blog, column or book might have details about his or her life they choose not to share. I sure have my little everyday setbacks, but it doesn't make my overall happiness and contentment any less sincere.

I also wrote:

"Having a baby will produce a shift in our schedule, availability, mobility, plans, routine, and family dynamics."

Well let me tell you, ladies - two months ago, I knew this in theory, but I wasn't even close to realizing how truthfully this statement would reflect our life. These days, apart from taking care of the baby, pretty much everything else is put aside. Yes, dishes and laundry are still done, and we still shower every day and find time for regular meals, but otherwise - cleaning schedule, cooking, baking, other projects - forget about it. Also, no longer we are free as birds to go out anytime we like, anywhere we want. Many times, a conversation over the phone is stopped because baby is crying. The needs of a tiny human being must be taken into consideration at all times, and often override our own.

And that's alright.

I'm pretty sure I'm as sleep deprived as any new mother out there. Our baby doesn't automatically adapt to our schedule. She's hungry, she's fussy, she needs to be changed, bathed and dressed - and not necessarily when it's convenient for us.

And that's alright, too. Yes, my baby keeps me awake at night, but instead of being frustrated about it, I think of all the women out there who would give anything to be kept awake by their child - and their arms are still empty. And I realize, yet again, how very fortunate I am.

This, in my book, means keeping it real.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think it's wonderful that in times of stress you try to be thankful.

I try to do that. When my five are making a ruckus, and the house is upside down, and all I want is peace....I try and think of all the many who yearn to have a big family, or children at all, and then I am ashamed for not being more grateful.

However, I do (respectfully) think that being too cheery/ positive/ Pollyanna can sometimes come off as artificial.

Personally, when I read your birth story, I could not believe that PAIN was hardly mentioned. Excrutiating pain that tears you apart. Pain that makes you look at everything else differently from then on. Either you had a very easy birth, or you chose to emphasize other aspects. But I can't really relate to a birth story where pain is not a main motif. I can't connect with it, it seems too overly positive to be convincing.
Tammy

Serena said...

You have a good head on your shoulders, Anna!

Rebekka said...

I really appreciate your "whole picture" take on things, I have to say. I love family- and home-oriented blogs, even though I'm one of those with empty arms (temporarily, I hope), and your blog is a refreshing step back from the messy details so many others talk about (which is also okay).

One messy detail I would like to hear about, though! ;-) How is it going with cloth diapering?

Mrs. Anna T said...

Tammy,

I agree it might be that I had a very easy birth. I have nothing to compare with, right? The migraines I had at the end of pregnancy were FAR more painful, and literally made me want to jump out of the window.

Labor, on the other hand, was hard work, but I knew each contraction brings me closer to holding my baby. Focusing on that, instead of thinking about the pain, really helped.

But again, maybe other women have it much harder.

lady jane said...

Indeed!

Jacqueline said...

Anna,
What a wonderful post!

We all need to focus on God's truth...babies and night time feedings, fussy times, the work of home and motherhood are blessings from God. The more we see things as the Lord does. The more content we become in our lives.

Thank you for this today!!!

Blessings,
Jacqueling

Rachel said...

Thank you for acknowledging that there ARE sooo many moms out there who would love to be sleep deprived b/c of their newborn. I would love to be experiencing that right now, but my beloved daughter is in heaven.

Enjoy all that you experience with Shira - good and bad. Life is but a vapor!

Jenna said...

This is probably why your blog has so quickly become a favorite (of very few I check daily). I love the honesty and reality of your words.

You haven't had the "ideal" childhood with "perfect" circumstances for producing a God-fearing young lady. No... it is the trials and imperfections that life has brought you through that has made you the person you are today. That makes who you are becoming so much more precious and beautiful.

If I ever make it to Israel someday, I would love to visit with you and your little family. :) To thank you in person for sharing your heart openly with anyone in the world who happens upon Domestic Felicity.

Yesterday, I bookmarked your series on "Dedicated Daughters". I hope to read through it when I have a chance. That is where I am today... practicing being a faithful daughter in preparation for being a faithful wife, God willing. (I am five years older than you, so my years as a daughter in my father's house are lasting a long time!) From just scanning a few of the posts, one thing that jumped out at me is to make the most of your circumstance, no matter what situation God has placed you in ~ and to be joyful. I look forward to reading your thoughts on this topic for encouragement.

Have a good evening! (It's morning here.) :)
~Jenna

Adelaide said...

Tammy - I think that everyone experiences pain during childbirth differently. My mother did not find it to be painful and said that a shot she received after I was born hurt more than labor or birth. I, on the other hand, found relatively early contractions to be very painful and had an epidural. It sounds like Anna's experience was just different from yours or mine.

Ace said...

Anna, you are WAY ahead of me. I RARELY got showers. I still have to kind of take everyone hostage into the bathroom with me to get a good one. So you are way ahead of the game.

I would never believe people when they would say this to me, but you are gonna miss this part. You will one day look at a child, a teenager, then an adult and realize the "baby" was so special and is gone forever (except for in your heart). You will never again be so close, so needed so loved by your little one and it is very temporary.

Hold tight and enjoy it. Smell her head, touch her hair, make her laugh, hold her when she cries...the memories are all you get to take away.

Life is Supposed to change when we have little ones, they make us BETTER people.
Otherwise we are just one step from children ourselves (at least I am).
Many Blessings:)
Ace

Anonymous said...

I am one of those women who long to hold a baby, thank you for your sensitivity and pray for me. God bless your family and Shira.

Blue Castle said...

You're very wise in the way you share your life with your readers. We could all wallow in the difficulties of everyday life, but it's much better to think on the things that are lovely and to cultivate a thankful heart.

Untypically Jia said...

You're such a good example. I don't have a baby and I still on occasion have trouble with those darn dishes! LOL!

Tereza said...

Well exactly! I blog quite often and yet I just know that not everything comes through on my blogs as it is in real life. For example I blog about cooking with kids. Immediately people think I'm a saint for doing so yet they (even when i tell them) don't believe me when I say that I'm not naturally patient and fail many times. So that goes to show that what you see on a blog is not complete...however I too love to just sit down and focus on the positive.

Kelly said...

Well said Anna. It's all about focusing on what you have. Babies are difficult. Those first 6 weeks will be blur someday. Usually by 3 or 4 months a baby falls into a schedule even it it is one of their own making, like my girl. I too would keep my mind focused on the fact that at least I had a baby. I know too many women who can't have children.
All goes back to count your blessings, even in the most frustrating times it's good to focus on what you have.

Neuropoet said...

Anna - enjoy every minute - as exhausted as you are, you'll miss these days when she's a little girl and a teenager... it goes by so fast. I would love to be blessed with a newborn again...

I'm one of those women who really didn't feel much pain in labor, it was uncomfortable, but not that bad. My last pregnancy was very difficult and I had a lot more pain during the pregnancy itself than I did during the labor. In fact, labor actually brought a lot of relief from the pain... Every woman labors differently though, and often differently with each child! :)

Blessings on your little family,
~Jenny

Bethany Hudson said...

What you've said here is so important to keep in mind, Anna. Funnily, I wrote about almost the same thing today :)
~Bethany

Joy of Frugal Living said...

Thanks for being so considerate to those who would love to have a baby - your sensitivity is part of why I love reading your blog. I feel fortunate to have a baby on the way right now, but I've spent much of the last few years having a hard time dealing with the complaints of those with kids - especially if they were silly enough to say "see what you're missing?" as though that should make it better.

You are right - we all have our struggles. Working to focus on the positive - and we all have many things to be grateful for - helps with everything. It's much better than wallowing. :)

Nurse Bee said...

Thanks for being honest. Your blog does seem to tend towards the ideal side of life, but we all hve different styles and purposes for writing.

Rose said...

Straight to the point, gently uplifting and filled with commonsense. A post that reflects you dear Anna.

PhDCow said...

I had so many plans and schedules and ideas of what life would be like when my daughter was born.

But then she was born and all bets were off.

I think having a baby is one of those experiences that you can't understand until you've been there. Someone can explain it to you until they're blue in the face and you think you understand, but you really don't.

I'm glad that you're accepted the changes with so much grace. Had I done the same, I wonder if my post-partum depression wouldn't have been so severe.

Anonymous said...

WOOOOOWH!! Wait one cotton picking minute...You still shower! LOL That will change. These are the absolute, without a doubt, for sure, greatest days of yours and hubbys life. Not that it don't get better, it's just so, well, so, I don't know, just the best. I am so happy for you both.

Shelli

Gombojav Tribe said...

When I'm sleep deprived or overwhelmed or feel like live has been turned upside down by a new baby, I turn to Isaiah 40:11,

"He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young."

He's leading me, so it will be OK!

angela said...

Wow. I love what you said about thinking of those women who would love to be in your position. I'm not there, but I will think of that the next time I am up with my baby. That really puts a new perspective on things. I have 3 children. My youngest is 7mos. It's been a hard winter with repeated colds and ear infections and I have been frustrated, but your words of wisdom will be in my mind now. Thank you!!!

Julia said...

I'm smiling because I remember when you wrote those words I was thinking that it's wonderful that you know it's not going to be easy, but there was no way to really know the full meaning of those words until you lived them. It sounds like you're doing great.

My advice to young moms is to surrender to motherhood. When you start holding out expectations that your child will sleep so many hours or that she will stay still for a diaper change or that you will be able to have 2 minutes to use the restroom in peace, that is when you start getting frustrated and angry when your expectations aren't met. If you can let go of your plans and live in each moment you will find more peace. It's easier said than done. ;)

Julia
www.greensummervillian.wordpress.com

Sparkly said...

Like the anonymous commentator above I long for a child but 11 years on I am still without. I am grateful that someone who has what I so deperately want truly appreciates how blessed she is, so thank you.

Sparkly

Anonymous said...

And just about the time you think you're just tooooo tuckered out to give any more...........she'll smile.

Mrs. L.

Walters Inc said...

What you shared in the last part of your blog is so true! In March of 2006 my little son Alexander was stillborn. My heart and arms ached so. Now the Lord has blessed us with a daughter in June and at times when I feel frustrated I remember those lonely days before and all the joy I have now! It keeps my perspective clear. I am glad also, that despite the new mom difficulties are able to find so much joy and love!

Coffee Catholic said...

Three months seems to be the Golden Age of newborns! Elspeth is three months old today and what a change has come over her in the past week! Laughing, smiling, talking, sleeping through the night... **Whew** We finally get sleep again just when I thought I was going to DIE!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being so honest about the first months of motherhood! No its not easy and time just seems to fly, so enjoy time with your little one because before you know it she will be so big...

I read alot of blogs where the women seem to have a "perfect" baby/house/life (of course, our own babies are perfect :))
But.. they don't show the real side of what it is to be a mother. The hard work, the tears and the laughter. Thanks for being so open about it, cause it makes us other young mothers know we arent the only ones!!

Take care Anna,

J

The Gastronaut said...

I am struggling at the moment with a very whingey and demanding 4-month-old and I have been waking up each morning wondering how I am going to get through the day.

Your words, "all the women out there who would give anything to be kept awake by their child - and their arms are empty", brought me to tears. I am going to go run to my son now.