Disclaimer: More-Serious-Than-Usual Post to follow.

I am going to earn the title of Mom of Two Kids ANY DAY NOW.

And I am totally unprepared.

My house is a wreck (because I’m unwieldy and exhausted and constantly contracting and therefore don’t feel like doing anything), thank you notes are not written, Christmas presents, although bought, are not wrapped (I’m thinking that reaching over a newborn to wrap them would be easier than reaching over the current state of my belly, but I’m starting to panic a bit about that assumption), and in general things aren’t exactly ready.

But unfortunately, since I seem to have as little of the Nesting Gene as I do the Popping-Out-Belly-Button Gene, I just can’t seem to get it together enough to not feel a little panicky on the inside.

But besides all that physical stuff, I’ve been doubting my mental preparedness to have a newborn again.  I’ve been open about my struggles with the newborn phase with Ali.  And, although I have lots of reasons to think that I will do MUCH better this time around (and I really am quite excited about having a teeny tiny baby to cuddle with again), I’ve still not been confident in my state of fully grasping what is to come.

(Especially since I am to that stage of being completely and absolutely fixated on GETTING THIS BABY OUT OF ME AT ALL COSTS.)

(As if they’re easier when they’re on the outside or something.)

But at any rate, my multiple levels of complete unpreparedness hit me Tuesday night, because the next day, I planned on asking my doctor to – you know, do That Thing That Doctors Can Do that helps send most women into nearly immediate labor.

And so, as I was laying in bed, realizing that it actually could be my last night before having a baby, I started having mini-panic-attacks as I thought of each and every item that was currently out of place in my house and mind.

Wednesday morning before heading to the doctor, I was doing my bible study (despite the odd mix of excitement and panic that only a deeply-pregnant-woman can experience), and God directed me to a verse.

THE verse.

That is now MY verse for the next few months.

It was, of all places, in Proverbs 31 – you know, the Chapter of Extreme Guilt and Conviction for All Women Everywhere.  Although an inspiring and exhorting chapter, it would not be my first choice to look for an ENCOURAGING verse.  But God’s just cool like that, and He spoke exactly what I needed to hear for the Newborn Phase:

Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

This verse may not seem like much to anyone but me, but it spoke to my very soul.

Part of the reason that my transition with Ali was so difficult was that I found myself alone, every day, quietly not being the Type-A-Overdrive-Productive person that I had always been, for the first time in my life.  It was easy to get lost in despair and worry because I had nothing to distract me or keep me busy, something that I personally need for mental stability.

If I had been blogging when Ali was a newborn, I probably would have had SO much more of a healthy mindset – blogging really does wonders to help me have an outlet to find the amusing and ridiculous in the mundane and even in the chaotic and disastrous.  And so, with this verse, I love that God not only gave me permission to laugh at the crazy days to come, but that in so doing, I will be able to have strength and dignity through it all, because I’m not despairing or getting lost in the mire.

Although I don’t know if this encouragement makes sense to anyone but me (which is just fine since it is, after all, MY verse), I am thrilled about the idea that enjoying and laughing at the days to come, no matter what they bring, can actually help me have strength and dignity, and therefore preparedness, for what might have otherwise been, at times, despairing.

And, as usual, I love God’s timing in giving me this verse at JUST the moment I needed it.  Although my doctor didn’t do The Procedure this week, he promised to do it Tuesday.  But regardless of whether it works or not, at some point in the next eleven days, I am most certainly guaranteed to have a new baby.

And, although my house may not be perfect or my Christmas presents wrapped before Noah’s arrival, I feel much more at peace and ready to tackle – and enjoy – and laugh at – and genuinely be thankful for – the blessed newborn phase to come.

31 thoughts on “Unprepared Preparedness

  1. What a great post Rachel! I admire your honesty, and that verse is perfect. It spoke to me to when I just read it not because I am pregnant but for other reasons.

    I know you are going to be an amazing mom of 2, and you have a great support network.

    A suggestion about the gift wrapping, why not see if one of the teens from church would like to do it for you for a little money.

  2. I can relate to all your anxiety and fears. I would imagine that anyone almost due with the 2nd child would feel the same way. I was exhausted, sick and scared (and excited) when my daughter was about to be born. And yes, having two IS really hard. But once you get past the exhaustion and crazy hormones, it is so, so much fun. There is no greater experience as a mother than to watch little acts of kindness between my children. My son is 3.5 years older than his sister and although they do fight (sometimes a LOT), it is totally over shadowed every time she makes him laugh or he kisses her on the top of the head.

    Sixteen months ago I was exactly in the same place you are. Here’s the stuff I wish someone had told me:

    The first week or so after my C was very hard physically, since my son didn’t understand why mommy didn’t feel so great. It sounds like you have family nearby like I did; if you can, line up sitters for Ali as much as possible those first few days home so you can rest with the baby. I bet all the grandparents will LOVE the opportunity to spoil her rotten for a few days. And max out your hospital stay, too! I was so anxious to get home after my son was born, but with the second, I just enjoyed the privilege of having someone to cook for me and clean up my bathroom! Also, don’t make the mistake of feeling overly guilty about not giving Ali enough of your time the first few weeks. I was overwhelmed with (no doubt, hormonally induced) guilt at first, but once I was back on my feet I was able to spend quality time with just River and I realized that he had really enjoyed all his “Daddy alone time” while I took care of a newborn.

    Finally, and most importantly, remember that it really does get easier with every passing day. You’ll fall into a rhythm and a routine and in the blink of an eye your baby will be walking and Ali will be in kindergarten and you may even find yourself daydreaming about a third baby. Good luck!

  3. Once again you amaze me! Love this post. Honesty is deep, but it is wise. I’m only 3 hours away and love wrapping if you decide you need help! Can’t wait to meet little man!

  4. Oh sweetie, I wish I lived closer. My spiritual gift is cleaning and helping! (Ask my best friend…she volunteers me to do it ALL.THE.TIME.) I went over to my sister’s best friend’s house who is pregnant and cleaned her kitchen and dining room. It’s like I can’t even help myself… I am praying for you!

    And isn’t it so cool when God gives us verses JUST for us? :-) He loves you, don’t forget it.

  5. If it makes you feel any better, I found the transition from 0 to 1 absolutely difficult beyond belief. My expectations were unrealistic. The transition from 1 to 2 was MUCH easier, and 2 to 3 was the same. It really is easier the second time around … just having more realistic expectations is a big part of it. Thinking of you!

  6. What a great post! I love when I find a verse that is written just for me. I got mine when S was about 10 days old and I was at the end of my tether. The first few weeks are definitely going to be hard! But if you are like me you will hit the peak somewhere around 7-10 days and then each day starts getting easier after that…not a ton easier but your life will slowly start to regulate and you realize you really can be a good mom to 2 kids. :)

    Just be prepared for a few days at the beginning when you are questioning your sanity and your will to live, haha. :)

    And for the presents…buy a bunch of cute bags and just toss em’ in! No one will fault you for not bending over the wrapping paper this year! :)

  7. Oh and blogging is really a lifesaver for a new mommy!!! It helps you look at things in a humorous light. Instead of wanting to cry when baby Noah has just squirted poop ALL over his room at 3:00am you will be thinking of how you can use it to make a funny post. Definitely improves the outlook!

  8. aw, don’t worry, you’ll do fine! sure, it’ll be crazy sometimes, and often overwhelming, and your house will continue to look like crap for… um…… I don’t know, at least the next year (I haven’t gotten any farther than that yet). but it’ll all be ok :-) you’ll smell that little tiny baby head and hold him as he falls asleep in your arms, and for those 2 minutes everything will be perfect. and then you can use all that regained strength for life to emerge from the perfect moment and tackle the crazy zoo (might I suggest cattle prods?) that is going on in your house.

  9. Kids, even older kids, won’t remember cobwebs in the corners or furniture arrangements not being ideal. They won’t remember dust or clutter. They will remember the emotional FEEL of you, they won’t even remember really what you look like right now without pictures to poke the memory. You want to be remembered as BEING there instead of being busy.

    You aren’t feeling up to wrapping? Don’t wrap presents this year. Have you or your husband ‘hide’ Ali’s presents like easter eggs and she’s have something active to do to find and collect ’em all. Get tin foil and duct tape and have your husband ‘man wrap’ them. It’ll be funny rather than ‘tragic’.

    Thank you notes. Ali can help here too. Spell out “Thank You” for her and let her make the thank you cards. You or your husband can just address ’em and send them out. (My cousin did this with her second and third child. It was adorable and quite possibly my favorite thank you note ever.)

    You’ll do fine and remember that you have a ton of us ‘lurkers’ that are praying for you, even if we aren’t always vocal. *HUGS*

  10. AWW Rachel, you will be just fine! He always leads us to the right verse at the right time and now you can lean on that. Noah will be just perfect and beautiful and sleep like a baby, so you will have all that time to wrap those presents. With Ali’s help, of course (unless they are for her!)

  11. Thanks for sharing this Rachel. It’s amazing how the God of the Universe loves us so much and knows us so individually well that He provides just what we need at just the right time. I will be praying for you as you adjust to having a newborn again and being the mother of two. I wish I could be there to help you in some way. I know that God will give you the strength and resources to handle things. I think your perspective of looking for the humor is an awesome one.

  12. Awesome how God works like that. :) Love reading stuff like this. And to the commenter Meghan who said your kids will remember you being there– that is such a good reminder for me. I needed to hear that. Thanks.

    PS- My answer is still “not anytime soon”. I can still remember that screaming. Bless you for coming around so soon!

  13. It’s going to be okay. It will still be there tomorrow. I tell myself that every day. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, accept any/all offers of help, and don’t be afraid to say “no” if you need to. Enjoy these final days of happy misery and single-child-ness. I’m praying for you, friend.

  14. Isn’t the Lord amazing in His timing? I will have you, Chris, Ali, and little Noah in my prayers in the days and weeks to come!!
    On a side note, I know I haven’t seen you in like…forever…but I am off school this month and totally wouldn’t mind helping out wrapping gifts or cleaning or babysitting or anything you need me to do. From one sister in Christ to another. Just let me know!! My number is 205-215-7289.


  15. While two is harder than one, two is also twice as much fun, joy, blessings, etc. You will laugh more only because so much more will be happening around you. You will probably stress a little, too, for the same reason (forgive me, I am such a realist!) But so worth it. My two are 2.5 years apart and while there were some trying times when they were little, they pale to all the good times we have had. Even in chaos, a woman can have strength and dignity. It is in how we choose to handle life. Rely on the Lord daily (as you do now) and becoming a mother of two will be an easy transition. For me, going from no children to one child was harder than going from one child to two children. Praying for you, Chris and Ali as the day of Noah’s arrival draws near!

  16. That is beautiful Rachel. I am so glad you are feeling at peace. Don’t worry about all the *stuff*… just enjoy your time with Ali. It’ll come together, and if it doesn’t? Noah won’t know the difference. You’re gonna rock Mama.

  17. Hi Rachel,

    A quick prayer going out for you from the other side of the world…

    But what about your husband when it comes to chores etc? It’s all very fine and dandy for you to do the housework when you’re able to, but surely he’d do a few things to straighten up the place and make you feel happier now that you’re incapcitated? My husband hates wrapping presents and writing cards, but I know he would if I couldn’t for some reason. (Especially if I dictated the cards!)

    “Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
    If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up. ” Ecc. 4: 9-10

    (PS, no pun intended over ‘labour’! :) )

    1. He’s definitely been a TON of help! And he even wraps presents – don’t tell him I told you, but he actually taught me how to wrap right ;)

  18. Thank you ALL so much for your encouraging words, advice, and insights!! You all are the best! You really have no idea how much it means to me!!!

  19. What a wonderful post! Last year in BSF we studied the incredible dignity of Jesus on the cross, how he had the presence of mind to continue to fulfill his father’s plan and provide for his monther despite so many temptations and the power to do otherwise.

    I couldn’t help but contrast his dignity with my own unexpectedly natural childbirth experience, in which I certainly lacked all dignity! This is as close as I have ever been to the kind of physical suffering he was experiencing, yet not even close in so many ways. Yet he gives you the promise of strength, dignity, and laughter in the days to come. And he has proven his ability to give it to you!

  20. I know you are going to be a great mom of two. Don’t forget the “kid math” is always different than you might expect. Adding a newborn doesn’t necessarily mean double the work. My inlaws swear that after two they found that anytime they “just” had one it was so much easier than they remembered. My sil loved having her toddler around to fetch and carry – it made coping with the newborn easier and two often amuse each other!

    PS Leave the chores! You have a perfect excuse!

  21. Ohhh Rachel, I like this post! For me, I’ve always treasured that passage because as a daughter/mother/wife/woman…these things are blessings that God gives us the ability and talents to do {and no, I don’t think they’re done all at once or maybe even all in a year!}

    I love the gift of laughter!

  22. So much has changed in the last several months!Your blog looks great and I love the signature The color is good and I like the two sidebars.

    I thought that you were going to have Noah at the end of the month.Or maybe I’m just not remembering right.You’ve done such a good job with Ali I’m sure you’re more prepared than you think.But,you do so much Rachel,and I know you’re a perfectionist about some things like me.If you worry too much about if you’re ready you’ve miss out on just enjoying your family.Maybe we’ll met one day before Noah gets to be grown and I won’t be able to ‘see the baby’ anymore.

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