One thing I'd been VERY apprehensive about for years with regards to having children was giving myself so completely away, and losing myself. In fact, I had a boyfriend in college and we would laugh together at a random "Reason #345 not to have children", etc, etc. A lot of them were silly and had to do with screaming, crying, or pooping, but truly, the idea of sacrificing my body, my time, my identity, and so much of myself was terrifying.
But now that we're actually pregnant, years later, I'm happy to say: It's still terrifying! I woke up one night a few weeks ago with an almost panicky feeling about losing myself and my identity, and this absolute fear that my baby won't KNOW me.
Of course she'll know so many things, like the sound of my voice and the sound of my heartbeat, the smell of my skin and the look of my face. She'll know me in a way that perhaps none ever have, which is in itself a bit overwhelming. But my fear is that because of that crazy new relationship, she won't know who I am as a woman, as a person. As a baby, she'll know me because she depends on me, because I will always be there for her, and because I WOULD give myself for her. But it's a true risk, I think, and a real sacrifice, for one of the nearest and dearest people in your life, and one you'll come to know inside and out, not to know the real you. In the light of day I feel better about the whole panic attack, and I'm sure things will end up fine, but it is still a very real fear, I think.
I'm only now beginning to ask my own dear mother questions about what her experiences were like with me, and it's only because I'm going through them now. I'm still so self-absorbed! I suppose I wouldn't know what questions to ask, or to even know to be interested otherwise. When I was in school, I thought stories of her as a child were wonderful. When I started being interested in boys, I wanted to know what her experiences there were like. And as an expectant mom, now I'm finally asking her questions about that. And I love my mother fiercely, and with a love that is especially reserved for her and no one else. And I know the things that make her laugh, or worry, or about her daily ins and outs. But all of my images of her are viewed through this lens: mother. Perhaps I've known her better than some, but perhaps there are those even now who know her better than I.
So I have a legitimate question: will I lose some of myself or my identity when Adria joins our family? At least for some years, before she's able to think of me more as a person and a woman instead of just as her mommy? I'll be honest, I'm still not the person I want to be, and I'm not sure I entirely know my own self. Which may also be why it's scary to think about losing that even more. I already think of her all the time, and when I'm not thinking about her, she'll start moving around in my belly and all my love and attention will be drawn there. Perhaps I'm afraid of losing part of my identity in that because she'll be so important to me. And although I'll remain the same person to others outside our bond and our family, to my precious little daughter, I won't be all of the things I think I am now. I need to give myself a break on this--in some ways I'll be more.
I think a huge focus for me will need to be on Christ, in order to weather this particular storm. So much of this pregnancy has been amazing, healthy, good, and positive. But internally, this IS a storm, and I don't feel like a bad person for acknowledging that. But even now, B.C. (Before Children), I need a rock to hold onto. In order to become more of the person I want to be, I have to give myself away more and more to Christ. I do a crappy job of that too, but I desire to reach the fullness He's set for me, made me for. The irony doesn't escape me that in order to be firm in Who I Am and not lose myself with my child, I need to strive all the more to give myself away to my God and Father--and the one who knows me better than I've ever been known.
Lord, know me! Help me! Keep working on me, and please, oh please keep making me more into who you want me to be!