a letter to myself, PB (pre-Brooke or pre-baby)
Boy oh boy you are in for a wild ride. Your little girl (who was nameless for 9 months because you INSISTED on continuing to look for a name even though Vance had been dead set stuck on Brooke for about 4 months straight) is going to arrive and totally rock your world. In the absolute best way possible of course.
You will get fat. You will take your pregnancy as a chance to eat everything and anything in sight and you will feel fat and unattractive for 9 months. You will hate how pregnancy makes you look and feel because let's be honest, you've never gained 40 pounds in 9 months before. People will tell you that it's 'healthy' for the baby, and while you know that cognitively, you will have a hard time adjusting to your new body. In fact, the more you gain, the more depressed you feel and the more you eat. Now you finally understand the vicious cycle that many people battle in their lifetime.
When she does arrive, you will look at her and realize that yes, she has been a Brooke the entire time and that Vance was right. You will stare at the first real newborn you have ever held, the first diaper you have ever changed, the first baby bath you've ever given and you will think I can't believe you are finally here and so it was you all along. You will endure sleepless nights and feel like a zombie for 2 months straight. You and Vance will move your bedroom downstairs into the living room because Brooke has her days and nights mixed up and you don't want to wake up the neighbors in a townhouse. Every night you will both set your phone alarms and look at each other and say, "see you in 3 hours" and crash on the mattress next to each other. You will realize two years later that those were some of the most peaceful and sweet moments.
Your marriage will take a hit. Not at first right away, but you will take time adjusting to being a threesome instead of a couple and it will be hard. You will spend countless hours awake at night thinking did I marry the wrong person? Perhaps I would be happier with _____ or better yet, perhaps I would be happier single. And this is a mistake. You are going to see that couples really DO fight over changing the diaper genie and washing the dishes, but that those fights aren't really about trivial things like that but rather about needs that are unmet, disappointments and different expectations. It will take you months to realize that God does not make mistakes. That he makes ALL things beautiful in HIS time. And instead of feeling sorry for yourself and finding faults with your husband, perhaps you should take the time to pray for patience, to pray for the man sleeping next to you.
You will realize that marriage is just a piece of paper between two people, that the vows you took can easily be broken with the dreaded "d" word (divorce) and you will think selfish, selfish thoughts. You will look at celebrities who are divorced and found love the second time around and think that could be me. You will forget about the bond you once shared, the early days of laying awake all night together, talking and dreaming about your future.
It will take you time to come to terms with the fact that this is exactly right where you need to be. The right person, the right time, the right circumstances. That the Lord is teaching you a lesson in every situation. Not enough money this month? Maybe he is saying appreciate what you already have. Vance is angry again? Have patience. I am sculpting him to be the husband & father he needs to be. Maybe these hardships of marriage will only forge a closer bond, for we have both disappointed each other far more than we ever thought we would (or could) and chose to stay together.
Your friendships will change. How could they not? You have nothing in common with these girls anymore -- what with them going out every night, just starting a new career, a new relationship. They simply don't understand the importance of a routine in a baby's life, or how valuable a NAP is or why your toddler can't sit still in a high chair for longer than 10 minutes. Why, just a few short months before, YOU didn't understand any of that either.
But, you are extremely blessed. Your friends may not understand you and your new life, but it turns out it doesn't really matter. That some of them love your child like it's their own. That they don't judge you and are actually willing to listen to you talk about things that they just don't get, like the pains of nursing or co-sleeping with your baby.
The really important ones will make the time to see you, to talk to you. They will ask what's going on with Brooke and really listen for the answer. They'll boast to their families about how smart Brooke is partly because they've never been around another 2 year old, but also just because they're honestly proud. And one day in the future I will be able to look at their tired faces, the dark circles under their eyes and say possibly the best two words to say to a friend: I understand.
And what's even greater is that your friends will start expanding their families. You will get to love on their kids like they're your own. Even though you will still be incredibly awkward around kids after having your own it doesn't matter.
You'll make new friends, too. Friends that have babies and that DO understand what it's like to stay up all night with a sick baby and have to function the next day. You'll see that playdates aren't as bad as they sound and they can actually be a lot of fun once you see your kid love your friends' kids.
Oh, and by the way your aunty was totally and completely right when she asked you, "are you going back to work after you have a baby?" and you IMMEDIATELY answered "yes, I can't imagine anything worse than being a stay at home mom." She looked at you for a little bit and said, "wait until your baby is born. You might change your mind." She was right.
Now you can't imagine being away from your girl. You can't imagine anyone better to raise her, nurture her and be there for her to kiss away the tears when she's hurt. You can't see someone else witnessing your baby's first steps, her first words, the first time she uses the potty all by herself (which hasn't happened yet!)
What still surprises you to this day is how right everything feels at this moment. Maybe this life wasn't what you had in your "life plan," but God knows exactly what He is doing. Now you finally truly get the importance of being a FAMILY. Now you finally understand that babies-- every baby, from virtually every circumstance-- is a BLESSING. And now, more than ever, you are determined to make sure that your girl does not come from a broken home.
You will change drastically in the next two years. The main lessons you've learned? Love the people in your life. Be grateful and thankful for every moment, experience, person.
Be happy for this moment; this moment is your life