When we got married, my husband and I agreed we would wait at least three years to have children. This was a compromise between him saying, “Let’s have a baby right now, our clocks are ticking!” and me saying, “I’m not sure I want to give up my awesome life for kids … ever.” A year into our marriage my mom passed away, and we were both surprised when a switch flipped inside me and I decided I wanted a baby RIGHT NOW.
It took us a year to get pregnant, and as excited as I was, as soon as I saw the positive pregnancy test I knew I was in for a challenge. Not only would pregnancy be hard on my body and motherhood a complete change in my lifestyle, but I would have to do the whole thing without my mother, which I knew would definitely be hard.
The first trimester was tough. It was a time filled with huge changes and lots of questions:
Is this awkward and embarrassing bodily function normal?
Should I be eating this?
Am I really ready to be a mom?
Like most expectant parents, we chose to wait until the 12-week mark to announce our pregnancy, and I didn’t begin prenatal care until that time. In those first 12 weeks, really the only “person” that could answer my questions was Google. It was easy to feel alone and scared. I missed my mom during this time.
As my pregnancy progressed, people would ask questions about my own birth, trying to guess the baby’s weight or my expected labor time based on my mom’s experience. Fortunately, my mom had taken the time to write down a few details from my birth story, but it was no substitute for having her around to answer those questions in-person.
It wasn’t until my baby shower that I looked around and realized how many “mothers” I had in my life: grandmothers, mother-in-law, stepmother, an aunt who raised me as her own, mom friends (both young and old), “adopted” mothers when I moved to town and friends with no children who mentored children. Motherhood came in all different shapes and sizes, and I realized I had no reason to feel alone.
These mothers were my tribe. They were the ones who gave me input on local OB-GYNs and midwives while searching for the best prenatal care options. They taught me about cloth diapers and took me shopping for baby items. They taught me how to pray scripture over my child before he was even born. They spent hours making precious quilts and booties for my baby. They modeled what it’s like to be a good mother. They gave me hand-me-downs and let me borrow maternity clothes. They offered to take over hosting duties at gatherings while I was suffering from morning sickness. They brought loads of delicious meals once the baby was born. They held, squeezed and loved on me and my little guy – especially on the days we were feeling less than our best. They texted me regularly just to let me know I’m not alone in this tiring and often thankless job.
I still miss my mom and nothing will change that. I wish my son could have met his grammy, and I know she would’ve beamed with pride seeing his little face. But I feel blessed to know that we are not alone. God provided the tribe we needed and I am so thankful for this village, our unexpected family.
Lindsay Suto is a wifey and new mom living in North Idaho. She likes reading, cooking and someday hopes to leave the house in clothes that aren’t covered in spit-up. You can find her blogging at lindsaylea.com.