Thursday, August 03, 2006

on preparation

I've had the easiest pregnancy in the world. Seriously. Aside from being tired beyond description for the first twelve weeks, I've had such an easy pregnancy ("So far," my mother would add) that there's really nothing more to say about it. I haven't been sick, I've had no complications, all of the pregnancy milestones have been met on time (But I think it's because God knew my limits. There's no way I could have thrown up every day ON TOP of all of the other stress that we've had in the past six months. I would have cracked).

So my thoughts on pregnancy aren't that interesting. It's been fun. Based on my 20 weeks worth of experience, so far I'd recommend it. But now that we know he's a boy, I'm starting to think more seriously about the actual PERSON, and not just about the CONCEPT of a baby. And that thought completely overwhelms me. The constancy of parenthood overwhelms me. He will live with us. LIVE with us. Every time I step out of the house, I have to have a plan that includes him. I remember being scared about signing a mortgage, because it meant that a piece of property was OURS. The buck stopped with us. But lawns and roofs are nothing compared to another person's LIFE.

In addition, there are just so many decisions to make. What size clothes will he need in the winter? (Well, it depends on how big he is when he's born, doesn't it? But shouldn't I buy clothes BEFORE he gets here? Seems logical.) What about baby GEAR? How am I supposed to know what kind of bottle/ high chair/ bath chair/ bouncy seat/ car seat he needs? And isn't the baby industry counting on my ignorance, so that I buy entirely too much STUFF and our house becomes strewn with baby garb?

Couple that with all of the major life decisions we are trying to make right now, and it gets much worse. How do we keep from raising a brat? This is a major concern of ours - we'd like to have a child that other people enjoy being around. But how does that happen? I know it when I see it, but I have no idea how to raise good kids. And am I going to work? Well, I don't know yet if I NEED to work, because we're not 100% sure about Brian's income. Nor do we know what our expenses will be, because we haven't moved in yet and how are we supposed to know exactly how much a baby will cost, anyway? If I do work, there are major stressors that go along with that (like childcare and guilt). If I don't work, though, that has its own major stressors (like isolation and money stress). I feel like every single day I'm making a decision that is going to affect the rest of my life. It makes me want to hide under a rock.

So I just want to say, for the record, I don't know. I don't know about baby gear. I don't know about routines, or bottles, or working while he's little. I don't know anything at all about being a parent, or how I'm going to handle tantrums or sleeplessness. I don't know, I don't know, I DON'T KNOW.

But I do know that all children are a blessing. And that we've waited a long time for him to get here. And that, for as much as I'm unprepared (and believe me, I am NOT prepared), I can't wait to see him. I don't know anything about being a parent, but I know that I want, more than anything, to be one.

For now, that's enough.

9 comments:

Heather said...

Hey Steph, if it makes you feel any better, no one really knows. We just sort of figure it out as we go, praying hard and making what decisions feel best at the time. Just like we do anything else, in life, I guess. Some people seem better at it than others, but I think we just are each better at different aspects of parenting.

As for gear, ask me anything. I have had my fill of baby gear. I highly suggest a bouncy seat and/or a swing. Those can be life/sanity savers. You can usually find good strollers, etc, at consignment shops. For the first few months, the kid will live in sleepers and onsies, so buying too many cute outfits in 0-3 months is usually a waste. And you'll get tons at your shower too. Please tell me there will be a baby shower? I want to come.

Liz said...

"I don't know anything about being a parent, but I know that I want, more than anything, to be one." That says it all right there Stephanie! You are both going to be GREAT parents - I have no doubt in my mind. You will learn as you go, as does everyone else. As far as what to buy, wait till after the showers, and buy as you need it. If you buy in anticipation, you are lible to end up with TOO much. :) I can't wait until he gets here either!!!

p.s. I got you and Asher a present today!!! yay!!

Linda said...

Steph,
You are doing fine. Try to put all the worry behind you and just enjoy the moment. You and Brian will be wonderful parents, no doubt about that! Every thing is going to fall into place, just sit back and enjoy. I doubt that you and Brian need to buy anything before this little man arrives.......between grandparents, family and friends, I bet he has it all. :) God is so good!
And yes Heather, I already know of one shower.....here at my house on October 28th! YAY! I hope you can make it to this one along with all of Stephanie's other wonderful friends.

Heather said...

Yay. A shower. Linda, let me know if there is anything I can do. *grins* Steph threw me a shower and I want to papmper her back. Oct 28th. I will run the dat eby Corey and see if we can visit his parents that weekend.

buf said...

well, how did YOUR parents handle things like tantrums, etc? Brian's parents? because, from what I know of youse guys, the Shehanes and the Gateses raised two wonderful non-bratty people that people LOVE to be around! do likewise, and you'll have smart, well-mannered, interesting, compassionate, talented little babygateses :) assuming Asher Paul's not an only child, then you'll have wonderful stupendous Asher Gates and similar Taylor :) Am I rambling? I think (no lie) I have the flu. and it's also 2:30 in the morning. So there. but I stand by what I said. and I love you guys! yay! -- janet

mikkeeliz1 said...

stephanie, i love you.

Valerie said...

Yay for babies!

Laura M. said...

SO SO SO good to see you and Brian tonight. As always, refreshing and full of laughs. OH! I NEED TO EMAIL YOU AND THE LADY!!! doing that now...

Laura M. said...

i don't have you email address..send it to me at lauragmielke@gmail.com