So much on my mind lately… I have a post about the words you say and the character that reveals, but that will come in a few weeks. For now I just want to say that I’ve received wisdom in some unexpected places recently.
My college roommate, Sami, came to visit me the other day. We lived together for three years in college and grew quite close during that time and have always kept in touch, even when Sami moved to Rhode Island (seriously, a FL girl can’t stay there for too long). We were in each other’s weddings and went through a lot together as roommates…boyfriend break ups, cat nip adventures with our cats Six and MoJo (may they rest in peace) and lots of chatting over meals about our lives, our dreams, and anything you can think of that you’d chat about with your college roomie.
Sami is married to Sean, and mom to a gorgeous little girl named Stella.
When we lived together, I remember Sami asking me for advice and talking with me about God and all sorts of things, but this last visit, I was the one asking for advice. She’s a great mom and her motto is “every baby is different.” She’s not a “this is THE ONLY WAY” type of person, and she gave me a lot of encouraging words.
Recently the way I make decisions for my family and for Reagan was attacked, and I didn’t quite know what to make of that or how to handle it. One thing is for sure, becoming a mom for the first time is a shock to your system, receiving a rare diagnosis for your newborn is another system shock, and then to be attacked for how I’m handling things…third shock, and I was down for the count. I’m a new mom and I’m doing the best I can.
Sami remarked that everything is new when you become a mom, going to a restaurant with a baby the first time, is a brand new experience, and there’s so much stuff you have to bring…you navigate it the best you can. And in our case, we navigate it by weighing the pros and cons in excruciating detail. “What if there’s not a table outside? What if it’s too hot? What if we have to sit inside? How will we handle it? Should we request to sit in that corner of the restaurant where no one is? What if she cries? What if she needs to be changed? Should we just order our food to go and ask for the check right away in case she gets fussy? Do you know if that bathroom is big enough to bring her stroller in there? Should we change her in the car b/c public changing tables are gross!? What if it rains? What if they don’t have a cup big enough to heat her bottle up in? Should we bring what we heat her bottle up in? Maybe we should just stay home.”
And Sami wisely told me that you get more comfortable with things as you do them and that’s for ANY new parent, let alone the additional pressure of having a newborn with a rare disorder. Sami noticed that I’ve gotten more comfortable with the diagnosis as I’ve talked about it…and talking about it and blogging about it is helpful for both Rob and I. Getting Reagan’s diagnosis was a shock, but we have become more comfortable with it as we’ve watched her grow, learned her patterns, put her on a schedule, gone to Dr. appts., received her test results, etc.
Sami is right, you get more confident as you go along…but the confidence is not just given to you…you have to earn it by doing things. You have to overcome your fears and face every new and scary situation. We can’t just live in a bubble, our Dr.’s have told us that over and over…they are very proud of our decisions to get out and they know we are very careful and protective, but they know and we know that we have to do this. We have to try and get comfortable. It’s good for us, and when she gets older, it will be good for her. Socialization isn’t something we can refrain from doing; we have to do it, even though it’s scary. Every. Single. Time.
This past Sunday, we took Reagan to church for the first time. And the same questions came up…”Where should we sit? Should we bring the stroller in or just the car seat carrier? What if she cries? We shouldn’t have a goal of staying until the end…let’s agree we can leave at any time, OK? What if someone wants to hold her? What if a someone we don’t know gets too close?”
I mean, we could question ourselves to death and I feel like I do. And right before we got to church I just told Rob, “I so desperately want to make the very best decision and I have no idea what it is.” Have you ever felt that way before? I feel like I have those perpetual judgment weights in my lap, judging every single decision I make…so having an outsider judge my every move was not too welcoming for me. Again, I’m learning and doing the best I can…
So on Sunday, we sat in the back, and went to the church service with the least amount of people and kids. Reagan loved the praise and worship, but was tired and fussy…so Rob walked her around in the lobby while I tapped my foot nervously wondering how things were going out there. She did pretty great…I have NO idea what the message was about and I’m pretty sure our friends that sat next to us may have been somewhat distracted by our baby girl, but it was another fear filled hurdle that we overcame. We did it!