Thursday, August 6, 2009

a love story

Blogging and I go back a few years. I used to blog on xanga, then sporadically on myspace. I wasn't really familiar with non-social networking site blogging until I was pregnant with Nicolas. Actually, I think blogs really made a difference in my life during that time. I was, to say the least, shocked about my surprise pregnancy and started googling anything and everything I could think of related to it. Those searches led me to many of the blogs I still read today, and of course led me to new ones over the years as well. It opened up a whole new world to me. I had just graduated from college and quit my job as a bank teller, and it was such an in between time in life. Ricky and I were transitioning. We had just been married for 3 months, and our friendships were (inevitably) changing because of it. We didn't have a church home. At a time when most people are filling out job applications and dealing with the transition of student to job-haver, I found myself with terrible morning sickness and really no direction. I had made arrangements to start substitute teaching, mainly because I didn't know what to do with my English degree. Should I teach? Get into ESL? Maybe just freelance write? Those were all things that I was considering, but I just didn't know what I wanted. And it didn't really seem to matter, because I couldn't get up off the couch anyway. It's funny now in retrospect that I saw that situation as so permanent, as though I would be pregnant and puking forever. Really, it was only six weeks. It seemed much longer. But, I have to be honest here. Something other than my stomach was bothering me. I was absolutely overwhelmed with this new reality. Me, a mother? Now? As a product of my generation I never saw myself having kids until later--later probably being closer to 30. I saw the pregnancy as the end of my youth. I mourned. I remember the dread of telling people I was pregnant and having to deal with all the happy reactions. Something I discovered very quickly is that it's not socially acceptable to be unhappy with a pregnancy. How weird, I think. You can end a pregnancy in secret, or be ecstatic about a pregnancy in the open, but what about taking on the responsibility of a pregnancy and acknowledging that it doesn't make you very happy at this moment? Doesn't happen much. I tried. I made (most) people uncomfortable. So I stopped. I kept my feelings to myself and one or two friends, my mom, my husband. And that was okay. I knew full well that I would be happy eventually, but I wanted time to just feel what I needed to feel. I've never been a fan of false cheerfulness.
So, I read blogs. Lots and lots of them. I spent most of my days seeking refuge in this online world. Sounds a bit unhealthy, right? It may have been. But I think it's what I needed at the time. I didn't really have friends with children yet, so I guess maybe it was a little therapeutic to read about the lives of young mothers, even if I didn't know them. It wasn't so much voyeuristic as educational. How did people do it, I wondered. And slowly, I found out. I found out that there are young mothers everywhere. That people have children in all sorts of circumstances. That, really, there was nothing out of the ordinary about my situation. I read painfully honest accounts, and stories that were so funny I laughed out loud. I was comforted.

Slowly, my pregnancy progressed. My fatigue and nausea subsided, and as my belly grew I slowly let this new baby into my heart. I began to anticipate rather than dread. I began to dream again, except now the borders of my dreams were expanded. Largely because of just reading about how other people do life, I figured out how to do life myself. I was inspired to let go of my pre-conceived ideas about life. It wasn't that all my doubts and fears about motherhood went out the window immediately, but reading blogs in a way demystified the whole thing for me. Also, I think that the blog world really emphasized to me the need for community. Though it would be some time before we really found a community to settle into, I saw how important it was. And I knew I wanted to be part of something where honesty is valued, and where it's okay to open up about feelings and trust God with the outcome. Little did I know, I would soon be surrounded by a group of people where this is just the case. But that's another story for another day.

So what's my point? Well, several things I guess. Blogs were an outlet for me; a chance to be exposed to different points of view about life and specifically motherhood. Reading blogs allowed me to work out some of my own issues while reading about other people's issues. It clarified things for me. It was a safe place, because I felt pressured in real life to feel about and respond to my situation in a certain way. And, maybe above all, it distracted me from my life for a bit. I was growing out of a me-centered existence very swiftly; that's painful stuff. I cannot center it all around blogging. But really, blogs were a huge part of my growth, and I think, God-sent.

Fast forward a few years. I survived pregnancy and motherhood (shocking, I know). I'm probably the happiest I've ever been. I am, once again, transitioning. And I have a sweet little boy who, though I didn't always know it, is the biggest blessing I've ever received. And I find myself with some spare time occasionally (well lots of it this summer), so I'm blogging. I don't expect anything too dramatic; mainly I expect to post a lot of pictures and try to say witty things once in a while. And maybe write something painfully honest once in a while. Or make someone laugh out loud. I hope so. Sometimes that's enough.

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