We’re staring down the home stretch of this pregnancy to a due date. Over the past few weeks, I’ve finally let myself do some of the things. We organized some closets. We ordered some size one diapers (I grow big babies). My mom graciously washed newborn clothes and bottles and we put them in their place. I’m starting to believe this may actually happen. This baby may be born healthy and strong. It may even come home.
We’re more minimalist than I thought I would be as a parent. No perfectly decorated nursery for Emerson or this next child. Our plan for this one is a pack and play in the office till sleeping through the night is a thing. Then, both children will share. I’ve gone back and forth feeling guilty about this. Should my children have perfectly decorated rooms? Shouldn’t I have a picture to post of that?
I’ve started to think about some of the newborn things. Schedules. Breast feeding. Pumping. How to juggle two children. Laundry. Bottle washing. All the things. I’ve started to ask a few questions of others about what the next few months may look like. I’m in a few mom Facebook groups that I’ve started to pay more attention to recently as I watch discussions about naps and feedings. I’ve read about the exhaustion and frustration.
We had set aside today to have some fun with Emerson and to do some good cleaning of our house. Nothing says I’m 38 weeks pregnant with an object the size of a watermelon in my belly like scrubbing a toilet. Well we had set aside today to only focus on some cleaning.
Late yesterday I received a message from a pregnant teenager saying she needed a place to live, 11 weeks pregnant and very unsure of what her future holds. Then Donte needed our help today too. He’s been out of a 3-month-jail-stay for a probation violation (maybe more about that in the future) for less than 48 hours and is already running out of options. Smith and Smith Social Services was open for business. I was researching pregnancy housing one minute and editing our list of resources for Donte to call the next. JR was on the phone with him planning a route on public transportation for them to meet so Donte could borrow a computer to do some research.
I think about these three people – my “first” boy Donte, this pregnant teenager, and her unborn child – they aren’t sure where they are going to sleep in the near future. While we were a little distracted at times today, I explained to Emerson that we were helping Donte find a bed in which to sleep.
“A big bed?” She asked. She’s very fascinated with the idea of a big bed right now. She had one for three days in June and then was demoted for bad behavior on my birthday.
“Yes, honey a very big bed. Donte is taller than the door. He used to sleep in the bed in your room.”
Then we prayed for Donte to find a safe bed.
It’s easy to fall into the middle-class motherhood trap, where the things matter so much. I’ve caught myself being tempted by those things in recent days. But today my heart broke for three people who are worried about something much more basic – where to sleep, what to eat, where to live.
When JR went back to pick up our computer from Donte, I sent him with a packed dinner of anything I could find in our fridge. Our 6-foot-8-man-boy had only eaten once in 48 hours.
Being a parent is not an easy task, I’m very aware of that. I’m also aware that its a tremendous gift. I’m writing tonight to remind myself in a few weeks that when I’m tempted to be overwhelmed by the daily things (the laundry, the spit up, the crying, the lack of sleep) and when I’m tempted to focus on complaining about how hard it is, that all this baby really needs is a safe place to sleep, some food to eat, and some love. With Jesus in me, I can do all of that.
It’s a broken world we’re bringing a child into. Today was a painful reminder of that. There are so many “kids” out there who haven’t been given what we hope to give our children. It’s not as it should be.
One of our favorite children books is “God made light.” The line that currently makes me teary says, “And on the day you were born God said ‘Let there be light.'”
With that truth, I hope to bring our next child into the world. Baby, we want you to be the kind of person that will work to push back darkness in the world. The kind of person that will love Jesus and be light to those living in brokenness. We want you to grow up to be an adult who will care for women in crisis pregnancy situations and minority men who have fallen into the broken criminal justice cycle and other people like them. In the meantime, your mama is going to try her hardest to not sweat the less important stuff (your appearance, your performance, your nursery, nor your schedule). Hope to see you soon. If you want to come tonight, that’d be great because the house is perfectly clean and that like never happens.