Posted On 21 May 2010 by on Guest Bloggers

A guest post from my little sister Michelle who I am always in awe of.  She is truly an extraordinary Parent…

When my husband and I got engaged, we witnessed a strange phenomenon. For me, the occasion was mostly filled with well wishes and oohs and ahhs at my gorgeous engagement ring. My girlfriends and sister immediately began speculating at what kind of wedding dress should I wear and how I would do my hair for the big day. My husband however, received entirely different responses. When he shared his news, he received jovial, but not quite supportive slaps on the back, accompanied by little gems of wisdom from his married and unmarried friends. Gems such as, “well, your life is over now!” That’s not to say he didn’t hear positive comments now and then – he did, but not often.

My husband and I puzzled over this. It seemed a strange welcome into the married club. At first we thought, misery loves company, but could all these seemingly happily married men really be that unhappy? It wasn’t until I became a mother that I really understood what was going on.

When I became pregnant with my daughter Maggie, I was overwhelmed with joy and expectation. I had it all planned out! My husband and I loved to go out with friends, we loved to vacation, and a baby was just going to add to the fun. We’d get a babysitter once a weekend so we could have date night. We’d take two vacations a year. One for the family and one just for the two of us. When I would share my plans with single friends, they would nod in agreement, and promise to visit all the time once the baby was born. My married with children friends had slightly different responses.

I’ll never forget how, after I detailed my plan to my then boss (mother of three), she just smiled slightly and said “really, that’s a nice plan”. She was almost smug and I have to say it irritated me! Why couldn’t I have it all? Other people, strangers mostly, began to disperse the “gems of wisdom” that were so generously bestowed on my husband during our engagement.

Some gems, I supposed at that time, were meant to be helpful. “get your rest now, you wont get any sleep once the baby is born”. That was a favorite of mine. Like you can actually save up sleep tokens. Other gems focused on my body. Generally, its considered rude to comment on people’s size, especially strangers. However, when you are pregnant, it seems as though the rules of etiquette no longer need to be followed. Strangers would reach out and touch my belly without asking. HELLO PERSONAL SPACE!! And touching my enormous belly was always followed by heartwarming comments. Comments such as, “wow, you are huge!!”, “are you sure its not twins?” or my favorite, “you look terrible”. I’m not entirely certain, but I’m pretty sure that if I tried these comments on non-pregnant women, id be considered pretty rude. And finally, the return of “your life is over!!”

I now understood the frustration that my husband felt when he was told over and over that his life was over. “you’ll never sleep again”, “you’ll never go out again”, “say hello to sweatpants, and goodbye Victoria’s Secret”. It was relentless. I once again was forced t wonder why people weren’t more supportive. Why did people want us to be unhappy?

I have three children now, and I think I finally know the answer.

After Maggie was born, things changed. Single friends slowly stopped calling to see if we could meet for drinks. There was no more staying out until 2am. There was no more sleeping in on the weekends. In fact, just as people had warned, there was very little sleep at all! We didn’t take that family vacation until 3 years later, and 5 years later, we still haven’t taken a trip without the children. My life as I knew it was over, just like “they” said.

However, the part that everyone forgot to add to their gems of wisdom was that a new exciting life was just beginning. I don’t stay out until 2am, or sleep in on the weekends. I do very little for myself, in fact these days showering every day is a luxury! But the truth is I don’t want to do those things anymore (except maybe shower). Sure, partly because I’m always tired (a state that your body quickly adjusts to), but partly because I would much rather curl up on my bed with my three lovely munchkins and read Go Dog Go!! For the fifteenth time this week. My life as a single childless woman was over, and my new lie as a wife and a mother had begun.

So were the people with “gems of wisdom” really trying to make us feel bad about our decisions? I don’t think so…I think they were, in their own way, saying welcome to the club. Not the misery club as it would first appear, but the rest of your life club. They just forgot to add to the “your life is over” gem that a new fulfilling and exciting life full of unimaginable love and emotion is about to begin. So the next time I’m about to embark on a life changing event. And someone passes on a valuable gem of knowledge, I will smile and say, “aren’t I lucky?”

One Response to Life is Over

  1. This is so beautiful – thanks for sharing your story. You seem like wonderful people. It’s great to see/show that there are so many awesome individuals world wide to our kids. My husband and I also feel that days spent with our kids are the best days of our life. It was a change and adjustment in the beginning that really no one can prepare you for. However, we waited until we were ready so it wasn’t that bad. We look at it as a journey, or a long walk into unknown territory. We have truly grown up and grown together through our 12 years of marriage and addition of 2 kids, 5 (Jessica) & 9 (Caleb). The world is just so busy now and I hang onto those down days to just enjoy those “little” moments of bliss.
    So thank you for sharing this as it reminds me of the time we will spend together today with our church family for a fundraiser. Dinner & Movie Night for our Youth Mission Trip this Summer. Please keep them in your prayers!
    God Bless you and your Family,

    Michelle & Family

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