** This was originally a guest post on Jana's blog! Massive thanks to her for allowing me to be on her blog! **
As I am awaiting the birth of my second child, "Can I do this?" keeps popping into my mind and it is sort of taunting me. I am very familiar with this question because I asked myself that all the time when I was pregnant with Gracie.
I was convinced I couldn't do it, how does one even keep a tiny person alive? What about rashes? How do you know when you need to see a doctor? What if they start breathing weird? How much sleep is too much sleep? Is my baby supposed to smell like that?! My questions and fears just kept growing and growing as my daughter got older. Then about 6 months ago on my daughters 2nd birthday I realized something, not only could I do it, but I was doing it.
I remember when Gracie got stitches; four of 'em on her mouth. She had slipped and fell on some stairs at the playground and blood was everywhere. I freaked OUT. (I am telling you...be covered in your child's blood, it will do something to you.) As soon as I went through the many What do I do!?'s I snapped out of the fear and knew exactly what to do. It was almost like a switch just flipped on in my brain.
That same kind of switch flipped when Grace was born. I like to call that The Mommy Switch. It's not as if that switch unlocked all the answers to motherhood and its challenges; I wish. But what it did was give me the ability to figure it out.
Looking back on my daughters life I can see several instances that I had never handled before that completely overwhelmed me, but we got through them. Things like her first in-her-hair blow out, figuring out why she was jerking in her sleep as a newborn, the first time she drew blood getting injured trying to walk, 24 hours of non-stop crying, massive fits in the middle of Ulta or Target, screaming for Elsa for an hour, 105 degree fevers & bleeding ears....everything from the mundane to the very serious. Each situation freaked me out in different ways, but again, a switch turned on and I took care of my daughter in the best way I could.
I think as mothers we just figure it out as we go along. None of us had ever been a mother before we were one, if that makes sense. Yet we are expected to hold all the answers to keeping a tiny human alive? No. If any mother says they have it all figured out, they are lying to you and to themselves. I will stand by that statement to the end. I bet even Mary Poppins had a moment of "Oh man, what do I do here?"
Don't let the fact that you don't know everything get you down or make you feel inadequate. In many ways we are all a bit inadequate. After all, how can anyone feel adequate to care for a being that they love beyond all reason and explanation? We are always going to feel like they deserve better than us, especially when we are overwhelmed in a situation.
In the park that day, with my daughters blood dripping down my arms, I wished that she had a different mom who could deal with the situation better. I felt completely inadequate to be her mother in that moment. But you know what? I may not have done everything in a calm manner, but I took care of my baby the best way I knew how to and she was just fine.
In any situation with our kids, that's all we can do! You just have to figure out how to handle each situation so that your kid comes out ok. You have to accept that you will never know all the answers. You will always face a situation you haven't faced before. You will probably freak out for a second. But then a calm will come over you and a game plan will formulate in your head and then bam you are figuring it out and getting things done.
I am worried about being able to handle two babies, I am worried about raising them in a very cruel society, I am worried about the teenage years...but I also know that I will figure it all out. I trust in my instincts and I trust myself to give these kids the best life I know how to give them.
When I lose trust in myself, I remember something super important: Heavenly Father trusts me. After all, He trusted me enough to give me one of His children to raise. While that does intimidate me some times (talk about pressure) it also fills my heart, because if HE thinks I can do it, then I can. I just have to believe it and put it into action.
Which is what motherhood all comes down to: trusting yourself.