It’s hard to believe that we’re quickly nearing the end of this very special pregnancy. I think back to last fall, when my eyes kept adjusting to the pink lines on the home pregnancy tests (I took 2, remember?). In shock, all I could think was, are you kidding?!? I have more than enough “life” on my plate already! Working as an entrepreneur, being a wife and a mom of 2, caring for dad in our home, volunteering . . . AND I’m knocking on 47! Continue reading
“Are you getting ready for the baby?”
(Pause) “Uhhh . . . no.”
My response to this popular, well-meaning question has likely surprised some folks. So, let’s be clear: We are over-the-moon happy and excited for Baby Dancy’s arrival this spring. And we’re equally grateful for a healthy pregnancy and growing baby in my tummy.
But, we’ve also had a lot going on. So much so that my stretch-and-grow muscles ache. Continue reading
Ever since sharing our surprise pregnancy at age 47, my hubby and I have received quite an assortment of reactions.
He has his own stories of responses from guys (let’s just say they involve a lot of high-fives). For me, reactions from women have varied but ultimately fall into 1 of 4 categories:
1. “Wow. Just, wow. Oh, and congrats!” (A shock-awe-and-happiness combo.)
2. “Better you than me.” (I can’t blame them but, quite honestly, it’s the hardest to hear and feels the least kind.)
3. “I’m calling my doctor to be sure I’M okay.” (Understandable, as they’re prompted to reassess if their own birth control methods are, ahem, in order.)
And then there’s a 4th reaction, and it’s been quite prevalent. But, it’s the one I did not see coming and did not anticipate would warm my heart the most:
“You’re giving me/my loved one/my friend hope.”
Those words, shared by more women than I can count, have made me pause every time.
See, before this pregnancy, I wrongfully assumed that 99% of women in my age range were like me: simply not even thinking of having kids anymore. At my age, a lot of women are already planning for empty nests, caring for elderly loved ones, and kicking up retirement planning a whole notch or two. Quite often, these rites of passage come up in conversations in our kitchens, on the phone, in Facebook groups.
New babies for my age group? Not as hot a topic as when I was in my 20s and 30s.
Case in point: The other day I realized there’s literally no one I nor my hubby know who’s been in our current situation—specifically, someone who’s working, raising school-age kids, caring for an elderly relative in their home each day, AND expecting a baby at our age. No one we can call to ask, “How did you DO IT?!?” We know we cannot possibly be the first folks ever in this situation. We just don’t know anyone personally. (If you do, we’d be grateful if you refer us.)
So, this 4th reaction from so many women has been wonderfully surprising for me, both generally speaking and given my own journey. Not only has it debunked my assumptions, but it also has stretched my gratitude for . . .
. . . being a hopeful chapter in many other women’s stories. Becoming an unexpected source of encouragement for others who persist on the journey to motherhood is humbling. And so is learning that they’re now praying for my health and a safe delivery.
. . . the reminder not to take blessings for granted. Like, a fiercely devoted husband who tells and shows me he loves me every day. Two healthy kids with quick minds, caring hearts and willing hands to help us love a new baby. And, yes, a new bundle of joy who happily dances in my tummy.
. . . the gift of a whole new tribe—women with renewed hope in the possibility of everyday miracles. Their hope, in turn, revives my own faith in God’s power to create odd-defying miracles in our lives each day.
I never expected to be pregnant at 47. I never expected to give others hope in the process. And, I never expected to be surrounded by so many prayers as a result. But, man, oh man, am I grateful for it all.
How have you grown because of the unexpected reactions of others?
My hubby and I are ardent planners. Over the last 19 years, we’ve come to value having a roadmap for our journey together. Buying a one-story home we can easily maneuver later in our golden years? Yep. Having two kids, 3 years apart so “they could play together?” Uh-huh. Career moves that let us balance work and family time? Check-check.
But, are we also learning flexibility because plans can change in a split second? You bet. My mom’s sudden death. My brother’s bout with cancer. Moving my dad in with us after a fall in his home. And so, so much more. We get it. Continue reading
So, the other day, I messed up.
Hubby was out of town overnight, so I was parent-on-point. I looked at the calendar. Only one Saturday morning activity? No problem, I thought. I got this.
Well, it turns out that I didn’t “got this.” Our son was scheduled to play his first game with a new lacrosse group. And, he was clearly excited. He jumped out of bed on his own. Got dressed quickly. Ate breakfast without dawdling so we could be on time.
He was on point. But, his mama? I was already 2 hours late and didn’t even know it. Continue reading
I’ve always been industrious, busy as a bee. As a kid, I could keep myself occupied for hours by creating art using typing paper, tape and crayons. As a teen, I stayed busy with homework, school clubs, music, and church. And none of that changed as a young adult.
Yet, I’m not a high-energy person. Type B through and through, I require quiet time to recharge and recenter. Otherwise, I’m a walking billboard for “Exhausted: Proceed with Caution.”
My natural way of operating in the world is caring for others by giving them a lot of my time and attention. When I became a mom , that modus operandi only intensified. Sleep deprivation? Whatever. In my overachieving-first-time-mom mind, I HAD to be sure our little one ate, slept and had clean diapers or the world would end. Literally.
So, I just kept going and going and going. Kinda like the Energizer Bunny, but without the benefit of batteries. My ever-so-thoughtful hubby, worrying more than a bit, would look at me and almost plead, “Karin, grab a nap. You. Are. TIRED.”
But, you’re a new parent like me, tooooo, I’d think to myself. You know as little about this parenting stuff as I do! I trusted our newbie parenting skills as far as I could throw an elephant. So, I couldn’t truly rest. Instead, I’d look at my loving hubby through bloodshot eyes weighed down with bags and reply, “Nuh uh.”
Time kept moving along, and so did I – usually in a fog of fatigue. When our daughter was 9 months old, we visited family at my parents’ home. My big sis, with kids of her own, fell instantly in love with our daughter – and saw the fatigue all over me.
“Give her to me,” she insisted, as soon as we walked in the door. “And just go rest. I got her.”
I knew my sis would know what to do if the baby cried, pooped, even managed a whimper. She was a safe and trusted harbor, a Jedi-level mom raising 3 older kids.
I almost ran to the bedroom, confident our little one was in the hands of a pro.
I’d discovered my Off Button.
I won’t even say how long I slept or how much drool I left on my parents’ pillows. But, to this day, it was one of the best naps I’ve ever had. I woke up smiling with renewed energy, able to be fully present with my hubby, our little one and extended family.
My life is still blessed with family, work and more. So, yeah, each day is super-full. I’m planning and executing and scheduling and transporting and cooking and cleaning and writing and editing. And thinking of it all when I’m not doing any of it.
I’m still pretty good at wearing myself out.
But, the good news? I’m better at pressing my Off Button when needed. I’ve come to trust that the world will not, in fact, fall apart if I stop being a busy bee and just rest. No alarm clocks. No itineraries. And no cell phone or computer use. I simply lie down, close my eyes, and instantly go into a deep slumber.
And, when I do so, I’m all the better for it. So are those I love, care for, and work with. Why? Because I return reenergized and ready to engage. My best self shows up. Not the snippy, too-tired-to-talk-laugh-or-smile Karin.
We all have moments when we need to push our Off Button. Being “On” most of the time– the pull of cell phones and social media, full work days, demands of others, you name it – can wear us out and down. Our brains, hearts, and spirits can only manage so much. We’re mere mortals, after all.
We all need an Off Button. Do whatever it takes to figure out yours – and then, when it’s needed most, press it.
Your Turn: What’s your Off Button?
I remember how uncomfortable and downright ornery I’d get at times as a new mother. Despite talking with actual parents of actual babies for guidance before our firstborn arrived, I expected a newborn who would sleep all night (nope, for both our kids). I expected to feel confident as a new mom – you know, that mothering would come naturally for me (yeah, right).
But, our sweet, little angel taught me that there’s the Theoretical Baby, and the Actual Baby. And they’re definitely not the same. Continue reading