Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tummy Whenever: Family Photos Part Deux

Dun... Dun... Dun...  I am slowly but surely creeeeeping up on my due date.  I honestly can't even wait! I am peacefully enjoying this Sunday afternoon.  Tomorrow is my 32nd birthday.  Everyone keeps asking me what I want.  Considering that I am due the day after my birthday, I would think that answer is obvious: I want to have this baby and meet my daughter!

This has been one hell of a roller coaster for me emotionally.  I have been very stressed out in these final days, as I prepare for child birth and bringing home our new baby.  The Hubs and I have been arguing and fighting with one another like nobody's business.  I am overly emotional.  He is pig-headed.  I am demanding.  He is overwhelmed with my demands.  I am terrified and I lack trust.  He doesn't feel a deep connection to a child that he can't see or touch.  So many emotions and running back and forth between us that until we took these family pictures and had a day out together, I was really concerned that we might have to take a break from one another.  It was crushing me from the inside out because I thought growing your family was supposed to bring couples somewhat closer as they plan and prepare in unison.  Well, we didn't plan anything together.  We didn't prepare anything together.  I planned, plotted, prepared alone and griped at The Hubs for not helping.  Finally, we both sat down and looked at the calendar.
It's a Saturday afternoon.  Our Little Someone is due Tuesday.  We haven't even made up a crib for her.  We have no clothes for her.  Nothing.  It's not the vision I had going through this.  The Hubs apologized for being absent and disconnected and suggested we heard out an redo our family pictures, have dinner, and get pedicures as a family.  Just what the doctor ordered!!!

But then I really stopped and I started to think about other moms I have been talking to.  They are also loaded with anxiety about getting ready for their new additions.  They are also angry with their significant others for not jumping when these mamas need something done.  So many other expecting mothers were also concerned about whether their relationships would last through the stress.  We have been encouraging to one another, but I have to be honest:  It is easier for me to give positive, motivating advice than it is for me to take my own good advice.

So when The Hubs came to me, waving his white flag, I knew I had to at least try to reconcile our situation for the sake of our little family.  Both of us were hurt.  Both of us are nervous. Both of us are anxious.  With that being realized, I figured I would take time to spread some positive vibes for couples expecting children... couples who are in new relationships or expecting for the first time in a very long time.
For men out there, I know your role is difficult.  I know you are handling an emotional, frustrated, excited, stressed out woman right now.  I know you are worried about provision and taking good care of your woman and your family as it grows.  I know that you want what's best, but you may not know how to best provide those things.  I know that you care deeply, otherwise you would have run for your life upon hearing you'd be a father.

Try to Be Compassionate.  When women are pregnant, they are terrified.  Most women don't want to do anything that would harm their fetus, which is where you come in.  There should be a desire to leave your ego behind and pull through where she falls short.  If she asks you to do something, do it as soon as humanly possible and to the absolute best of your ability.  No, you aren't her slave.  This isn't about following orders.  It's about providing a sense of security.  It's about showing her that you are ready (even if you know in your heart that you are worried/scared) to provide for her and that you will do whatever she needs and whatever it takes to make her comfortable.  It's about building stability and trust. 
Remind her that she is Number One and Most Important.  Not your job, friends, free time, your other children... Nothing and no one comes before your woman right now.  Let her know that if she stumbles, you won't be distracted. You will be there to catch her, help her to her feet, and support her on the rest of her path.  Being pregnant can be the loneliest feeling in the world.  Women need to know that their significant others are putting them first.

Be a Team Player.  No, you have no deeper connection with your new baby at the moment, but it helps so much to trust your preggo.  You may think she is being crazy and frivolous, but I promise that every instinct is being driven by a greater force that is our of her control.  If she needs to buy a crib, save the money and buy it.  If she needs 40 onesies in 4 different sizes, get them for her.  I am not saying go broke, but I am saying take an active part in the planning and preparation for your child.
LADIES!!!  I know that you are uncomfortable.  I know that you feel lonely as everyone is moving faster than you are and seemingly having more fun than you are.  I know that you are anxiety ridden about finishing your pregnancy healthily, having an uncomplicated labor and deliver, and about bringing home your new baby.  I know that you are frustrated because you are being forced to relinquish that control over your body and your life that keeps you feeling secure.  I know that every day the stress becomes greater as you come to the realization that your journey of pregnancy is coming to an end, and with no down time to rest, your journey as a new mother begins.

Be Direct in what you want/need and how you feel.  With hormones raging and emotions spiking, it can be really difficult to even know what you want, let alone communicate it.  Take time to make sure you are getting to the root of your frustrations so that you can express them in a direct and concise manner to your significant other.  It will make it easy for him to respond.  Men think differently than women.  They think in more concrete and linear manners.  Telling him a list of what you need done and giving a date to have it finished will yield better results than arguing about things that annoy you.  Telling him the things he needs to change to make you feel safe and loved will work out better than complaining about his shortcomings and character flaws.
Be Empathetic.  Try to understand what he is experiencing and make sure that you are contributing to him as much as you want him to contribute to you.  If you want an emotional support system, make sure you are offering the same thing.  Try to understand that he is not connected to your baby.  He has no idea what you are feeling.  He has no direct line to your hormones.  Remembering these facts will help you communicate better rather than focusing on finger-pointing, blame, and criticism.

Be Patient!  This is the most important.  Ladies, no matter how you feel at the moment, the TRUTH is that this will all come to an end in a little under a year.  If you are in a truly terrible situation and fully unhappy, then disregard this message.  Similarly, if you are in an abusive or otherwise unsafe relationship, disregard these words.  If you are just having a rough patch brought on by hormone-fueled tantrums, arguments, and anxiety, then give it more time.  Things change significantly after the baby is born.  Give your man a chance to redeem himself if he can.  And forgive him the way you expect to be forgiven for anything you say or do while pregnant.
I am really grateful The Hubs insisted we make up and take these family photos.  He chose the location.  He set up each pose.  I needed to see him be a team player.  I needed him to put me first, as I wanted to capture these moments and he hates photos.  I needed to let go of my resentment and focus on pulling us together in these final days before our Little Someone arrives.

By the time I post this, I will have had at least a week with my Little Someone, maybe two.  I am praying for an easy labor and delivery to share with you all and a speedy recovery.  I have a project list a mile long to get working on!