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Coffee Talks: Lessons from Motherhood

My first born will be turning 4 years old tomorrow. I am a combination of proud and weepy. I get it. I know they grow up before you realize it and all those other cliche sayings about babies, but that doesn’t change that I’m emotional and trying to hold it together today.

My son changed my life in so many ways. It was a difficult road for me to regain my health before I could even think about motherhood. I had battled close to a decade long fight with bulimia, and when my husband and I decided to take our friendship to the next level, I also started my recovery process.

I was in outpatient rehab, seeing doctors, and going to therapy weekly. When I spoke up about my dream of one day being a mom, I got a lot of eyebrows to raise. It took finding the right partner for me to want to have kids, because I was never sure before. Kids terrified me. My husband changed all that, because I finally felt at home with him. I really wanted to start a family with him, so once my health started to climb in a positive way, we sat down with doctors.

Health Scares & Tests

I had been on birth control for rough periods and always having ovarian cysts since I was 14. I had a family doctor I had seen my entire life, who also helped me through my recovery. He told me that My uterus was abnormally shaped, and getting pregnant, especially with my history wouldn’t be an easy feat. I was told to go off of the pill right away.

This was all a full year after my big stay in the hospital for my eating disorder and depression, and everything was going great. We were also planning our wedding. It was summer, and we were going to tie the knot in early November.

I was letting my mom take reigns on the wedding. We wanted something small and country. I gave her colors, food ideas, and told her I just wanted dress control.

I actually found a dress online that I fell in love with, so we took my measurements, and we ordered the dress. During all of this, I started getting sick. I went to the doctors hoping for baby news and that maybe that were wrong about how long it might take. We went in and they did blood tests, and it showed something wrong with my cell counts and levels.

I was so confused. They sat me and my future husband down and told me my chances of conceiving weren’t the best, and they had news about my liver. They threw around the possible “c” word you don’t want to hear and said I needed more tests to get answers. With our wedding creeping up, I couldn’t believe what they were saying.

I decided to go to my gynecologist to see what they said. More tests and a lot of conversations later ended with me still not being pregnant and having my other tests all over the places. It sounded like the grownups in Charlie Brown talking. I couldn’t help but go numb and tune them out when they tried explaining my cell counts and the lab results. They had to be wrong. I was getting married in less than a month at this point.

So, I had another appointment. I called in two weeks before my wedding day. My dress arrived that morning, and it wasn’t fitting right. I had been so sick for the last two months. I couldn’t keep anything down, and I had a fever. Then, I started to bleed, but after years of bulimia and then going off the pill, my periods weren’t normal. I called my parents and told them to take me to the OBGYN while my fiancé was at work. He’d been running ragged from all of the doctors and tests, so I wanted him to sit that one out.

Finally Some Answers

My dad stayed in the car while my mom and me went into to see the doctor. I had called my family doctor too, and they wanted me to have the gynecologist fax over the appointment results. I sat on that cold table with a trash can on my lap, because I was so sick. The doctor came in, set down a big folder, and did an internal exam. Then, she walked out without a word.

She came back and wheeled in a small machine that can do sonograms. I told her I had one in the beginning of all of this mess, and I was too nauseous to lay on my back any longer. She told me if I wanted answers, we had to keep doing tests.

Within minutes, there was a heart beat. I was 17 weeks pregnant. I didn’t have cancer. I was carrying a baby, and as soon as I heard that heart beat, a warm sensation washed over my body and I cried. I had never been happier in my life. My mom sat in the corner and cried too. She thought she was going to lose me because of the chaos with all of those tests and how sick I was.

The doctor said the baby was healthy, she gave me nausea medicine and a list of vitamins I needed. She was just as surprised as the rest of us. She also set up more appointments and printed out the picture of my little bean.

Both me and my mom walked down to my dad with tears rolling. I got in the back seat without a word. Dad started to sniffle, so I handed him the picture. He screamed. He screamed the happiest “fuck yeah” he’s ever yelled. We called my family doctor and told him. The next step was waiting on my fiancé to get off of work and share the news. I was excited, relieved, and still sick but happy.

When he showed up in my mom’s kitchen after his shift, I was sitting at her bar with a stack of lab orders in front of me. My parents were quiet. My soon to be husband was terrified. I just told him to pull up a chair. My dad started to cry again, so it made it more tense. I slide the sonogram picture out of the stack and handed it to my fiancé and said, “congratulations daddy. I’m going to be okay.”

After what felt like hours of silence, he hugged me. It was the best news we ever got. Our wedding was two weeks away, and right after our mini honeymoon, we would find out the sex of our baby.

It wasn’t our first pregnancy. I had a miscarriage that I don’t talk about often. I wasn’t healthy when it happened, and I still feel terrible guilt over it, because I had no idea. I was on the pill and still in early recovery. So, this felt like a miracle.

The Best Lesson

My son has taught me so much in these last 4 years. The best lesson he taught me was that you can always find light in the darkest times. He was our miracle. He changed our lives, especially mine in the best way possible.

It was an extremely tough pregnancy, and I had a few issues along the way, but we were very fortunate to give birth to a very happy, healthy baby boy. We named him Dean, and he’s always been called Deanie Bean.

The lessons I’ve learned from motherhood have been my favorite lessons. My kids have completely transformed not only my life, but me as an individual.

Lessons from Motherhood

1. You can’t control everything. I’ve been a control freak my entire life. I could try to blame my OCD and the list of other things my therapist used to rattle off, but there’s no point. It’s a lesson I desperately needed. You just can’t control every situation, and motherhood happens. Shit happens, and it’s the most magical and terrifying experience at the times.

2. Parenting isn’t one size fits all. I had an idea in my head about how I wanted to mother my babies. I knew I didn’t want to be like my parents or their parents. I wanted to combine all of the good parenting I had witnessed growing up. I wanted to take parts of all the wonderful parents I knew, and smoosh them together. Taking advice was okay, but all parents are different and no two styles are the quite the same.

3. You can’t please everyone. As much as I want my parents and in-laws and everyone to think I’m a good mom, there’s no way to please everyone. It took me a long time to realize that I didn’t need anyone’s approval.

4. Enjoy the little moments. They do grow up fast, so enjoying those little moments is important. I use to try to capture every moment on camera. Now, I just live the moments and remember to enjoy them as they happen. I still take pictures and everything, but I try to soak up all the little moments and snuggles.

5. I am strong. Becoming a mother has taught me so much about my strength. I learned that I don’t need anyone except those babies. They have given me the strength to be healthy and the best version of myself. They are the reason I don’t allow negativity and toxic relationships in my life anymore. They have shown me how strong I can be, and that’s one of the lessons I’m most grateful for.

Inspiration

My kids are my inspiration whenever I have any doubts or fears. They keep me motivated to keep chasing my dreams. They are blessings, and I couldn’t imagine living without them. Seeing my son get ready to turn another year older, has me in tears but for all the good reasons. I’m so proud of who he’s growing into. He constantly amazes me.

I also can’t wait to share the details of our trip to Lake Tobias Wildlife Park with you all. I hope you have a wonderful week.

-Jenni

16 Comments »

    • Thanks! It’s like he’s a full blown teenager with the sass sometimes! It’s so fun though. I have a two year old too, so it’s quite the mix.

  1. Love this story and it brought a tear to my eye! Dean is your little miracle. I just submitted a story for Chicken Soup for the Soul and I think you should submit this one under miracles. They are currently taking submissions with that topic. God Bless and happy birthday to Deanie Bean!

  2. Oooh my goodness Jenni! This was so beautiful and touching. Reading about your struggles and ultimately the happy ending brought tears to my eyes and it’s just another example of what an incredible writer you are. You bring out so many emotions when you tell a story. You’re an amazing mom and it was nice to read what lessons having kids has taught you. ❤❤

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