Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bad Dogs and Good Conversations

There are, wonderfully, lots of new mommies at our church right now! I love watching them with their newborns. I love holding their babies even more!

Strangely, none of this has given me the desire to have more children. It has given me the desire for my friends to have more children, and as I write this, my friend Julie is obliging by being in labor! Praying for Julie and baby #8!**

The other night we finally broke down and watched the movie, Marly and Me. What I liked about the movie was that it started with a couple on their wedding day. We don't know whether they lived together first, and I loved that! They progressed into a nuclear family with a bad dog. The woman decided that home was where she needed to be, so she left her high speed, much applauded career and stayed home with her children.

I wanted to stand up and cheer.

Some of the new mommies in our church are forced to go back to work and my heart aches for them. One situation is ideal, where the Dad can be there if the mother can't. The other situation is good (grandma watches baby) but less ideal. This mother's heart is breaking to leave her little one, and my heart is breaking along with hers. The fact that some of these mommies are working just so they'll have medical insurance makes me burn, but it still doesn't make me want socialized medicine! Anyway . . .

One scene in the movie was particularly hard to watch. Surprisingly, it wasn't the end of the movie (which I won't give away in case we aren't the last people on the planet who haven't seen the movie). The scene that hit me hardest is when the mom has a baby and a toddler and she finally gets them both to take a nap. She's resting on her bed with the bad dog, when the dog suddenly hears the garbage truck approaching. Despite her urgent pleading to the dog to stay and be quiet, he bounds off the bed, barking, and proceeds to destroy the window blinds and wake the babies.

The mother's exhaustion and frustration were so vivid to me. She screamed at her husband to get rid of that dog immediately, and preferably through a painful death. He tries to calmly reassure her by saying she might have post-partum depression and she fires back, "I'm not depressed, I'm exhausted!"

It's the same exhaustion and frustration that caused me to march out of my house and confront a gang member living across the street (with bullet holes in his car, no less!) and read him the riot act. In other words, it's an exhaustion and frustration that causes a mom to say and do irrational things.

Fortunately, a moment of sanity returns and the mom told the husband to bring the dog back. (For me, the Holy Spirit convicted me to go and apologize, and I soon had a relationship of mutual respect with the gang member.) What she said next sparked a conversation and a thought process that may take a few days to work through.

"I just get overwhelmed. No one tells you how hard this is going to be."

"Which part?"

"All of it. Marriage, being a parent; it's the hardest job in the world and no one prepares you for it. No one told you how much you'd have to give up."

"They do tell you, but you don't listen and you get miserable."

"I've given up so much of what made me who I am. But I can't say that, because I'm a very bad person if I say that. But I did make a choice. I made a choice and even if it's the harder than I thought, I don't regret it."

It was painful to watch her pain as a mommy. I know that for me, so much of this is true! I especially have thought about not having anyone really tell me how hard it's going to be. The warnings I received were done in a mocking and condescending way and not meant to help or disciple. Rather, they sparked a rebellious "I'll show YOU" attitude that really didn't help matters.

I have more thoughts on this and will share them soon.

**Update: Julie had a Baby Girl! Welcome to the world, Sarah Nicole!


agable said...

I loved Marley and Me. I bawled most of the way through, but I still loved how honest it was.
My heart aches for mothers that can't be home with their newborns. Ben is such a great protector and provider. He understands that I do get satisfaction from work, but he also cares about my health and the baby's health first and foremost. I am blessed that I will be able to stay home with our child at least the first year. If I do have to work, it will be from home. We won't have a lot of spare change, but we have God, and we have love, which is more than most people have.
P.S. You are an awesome mother. You are great with your kids, and from the advice you have given me time and again I can tell that you really have a heart for young people. It's amazing :)

BA said...

I enjoyed the movie because it was so realistic. I could identify with most of her frustration and pain. There's nothing worse than the exhaustion that comes with having a newborn, making us say and do irrational things.

It is true...no one really can prepare you for how hard marriage and parenthood are and if they did, maybe we wouldn't do it :-). Fortunately, we have the strength of the Lord to get us through those "dark" times. And then we see the fruit of our commitment and of course wouldn't have done it any other way. It's those that give up and leave that really miss out on the blessings.

Good thoughts!


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