Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Preparing, we're doing it...I hope?

(Gift from Lori "Grandma J". My heart melts every time I look at them.)

How do you prepare to be a mother? Some would argue it starts from the time you are very young. We watch our own mother care for each of her babies and try to emulate the way she swaddles, comforts, feeds, and talks. If you happen to fall under the category of "older children" or "oldest child",  you may even get "opportunities" to change diapers, fix bottles, wipe snotty noses, and give nightly baths to younger siblings. Would you consider these important steps in the "making of" a mother?

Others would argue it doesn't matter, because education, study, and information on "good mothering" continues to change as frequently as the years pass by us. What was good and right for our mothers doesn't necessarily "match up" with recent results journaled or published by "professionals" in the field of parenting. Walk into your local bookstore, log on to your favorite moms' club website, or open up your monthly parenting magazine subscription and you will find a plethora of "latest" news and insights for what makes a good parent, specifically mother.

Many would debate that the wide range of information available to parents today might be more problematic than helpful. You may have heard or repeated the famous saying "She/he is very 'by the book'.", inferring that someone (in this case, a parent or mother) tends to strictly follow guidelines or practices that have been spelled out in contemporary parenting advice. Most of the time, this casual statement also implies this certain parent or mother allows for no room to follow her own "natural inclinations" that some believe are bestowed upon all parents or mothers as a natural or universal "gift".  From this standpoint, relying solely on scholarly insight instead of motherly instinct could restrict a woman from becoming the "best mother" she is "meant" to be.

How do you prepare to be a mother? Is it something learned from the time you are young by imitating and watching mothers around you? Is it something you educate yourself on through insightful study of modern information in the field of parenting? Or, is a woman naturally bestowed with the "gift" of motherly instinct and insight from the moment her new babe is placed in her arms for the first time?

To say the last few weeks have been a bit overwhelming for me would be close to the truth. It's not the midnight potty runs or the constant waddling. It's not annoying reflux, consistent rise in body temperature, or occasional cramping from stretching ligaments and uterus. It's not even preparations for nursery decor, baby supplies, or choosing boy names. Heck, I look like an elephant, but that's not the weariness I feel when I look in the mirror. No, none of these "elements" of pregnancy and preparation seem to weigh as heavily on my mind as the question "Will I be a good mother?"

What does the picture of a "good mother" even look like? I've tried to create the perfect "mother model" in my mind by combining childhood experiences, information gathered in books, magazines, and online articles, and talking with friends, family, and peers who are mothers themselves and offer their own "instinctive" advice. As I mold my "model" together, I try to place myself inside of her and do what she would do, look as she would look, and be what she would be. Unfortunately, as I do this, I consistently feel tinges of a lacking somewhere. Usually these "tinges" are triggered by insignificant and small "dilemmas" that arise, i.e. matching car seats for our twins, middle names (grandfathers? uncles?), fitting into bridesmaid outfit for sister's upcoming wedding (that's a recent and most approaching one), and so...a meltdown most likely ensues and I ask myself again "Will I be a good mother?" Because, obviously if the twins' car seats don't match, I am doomed...and so are my babies.

Last night, I sat with my eternal companion in the Salt Lake Temple. He held my hand so tenderly. I kept thinking about the big changes that are coming for us and I asked the Lord "How? How am I going to do this? How am I going to do this right?" The Lord didn't tell me what I should name my children, He didn't tell me if I would be able to fit into my dress for Whit's wedding, He didn't assure me that I would be able to breastfeed, that my babies wouldn't spend time in the NICU, or that I wouldn't have down days when the babes are home with us. Instead, I felt a slight fluttering from my swollen belly. Peace, contentment, and calm filled my heart. I felt some relief as the thought came into my mind "You're going to be fine." No, the car seats aren't going to match. Yes, I did eat a Frosty last night instead of an apple. No, I don't want there to be any complications with this pregnancy or for my babies to come early. But... yes, everything will work out, no matter what the circumstance. No, I probably won't do everything perfect. But, YES, I am going to be a mother...and I might actually be good at it. As far as preparations go: The nursery is bare, we haven't signed up for a birthing class yet, and I refuse to read any more pregnancy, nursing, or parenting books (they just make me discouraged.). On the other hand, I love B. B loves me. We love babies...and really, that's all we need.


  1. YES! Love is all you need! And because you're so good about listening for the Spirit, you will be a GREAT mother! Love, love, love you! Lori (Grandma J)

  2. Megan - This is an ongoing struggle for me! I come back to this topic once a week, and I've been a mother for over 6 years! It's going to be hard, but as Grandma J will be a great mother! BECAUSE - you are not alone. Never ever alone in making decisions for and about your family. Never alone in loving your children. Brandon will always be there with you (and if you're like me, that makes all the difference!). But, most importantly you have a loving Heavenly Father who will never leave you alone in this...and you will hear whispers now and then to guide you in the right ways...sometimes when you're not even looking for them...and sometimes for little things that you wouldn't think that He would care about. This has happened to me many times! And, there will be bad days when you will feel like the worst mother ever, but that happens to all of us too. Then, you just repent if needed, eat some chocolate, and make the next day better. I hope you have a little group of mommy friends, and if you don' me! But, you will see that you have the same worries as everyone else, and just because you're thinking about it makes me KNOW that you'll be a wonderful mommy :)

  3. Aubri, thank you! It's always reassuring to know that other women, who are amazing mothers, have some of these same feelings. I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and people around me who are so supportive. I'm also very blessed to have knowledge of my Heavenly Father and His love for me. Thank for this comment. I needed to hear this today. :)