Sunday, April 28, 2013

Embracing the gift

I was asked if I'd answer some questions for a moms group on Facebook. Figured I'd just as well post them here too...

Marissa Sharbaugh, wife to John, and mother to Emerson (5), Jordan (heaven), Malachi (heaven), Jackson (2)

1. What were your thoughts when you first found out you were pregnant? How did you share it with your husband? (feel free to share for each kid if you have more than one)

Emerson--I went to the doctor for a regular check up the Monday of finals week as we had just put in our two-weeks notice with our current employer to move to Indiana after graduation. I called John from the doctors office, almost in shock!

Jordan--I was taking care if a six month old... Horribly sick the entire shortened pregnancy... Miserable. Don't remember how I told John.

Malachi--After miscarrying Jordan (13 weeks) I was desiring greatly to have another baby. Took a test on my 23rd birthday--5 months after miscarriage--and ran downstairs to show John two positive results! (I wanted to be certain)

Jackson--Found out I was pregnant the morning Malachi was supposed to be discharged to home from the ICU. He was five months old and took a bad turn keeping him at the hospital. It was then that I knew our time with Malachi would probably be limited.

2. Were you nervous about being a mommy? What scared you the most?
At first I was pretty confident that I would easily transition to motherhood. Then I was in charge of an infant 24/7. An infant who didn't nurse well and cried when not being held by her daddy. I found myself second guessing most parenting decisions and my ability to trust God-given instincts to learning my baby and feeding her. I was very fearful of failing, yet in a very general unspecific way.

I was also scared that they would die. I met this head on with our second pregnancy... God took away Jordan in the womb and Malachi died at seven months (CHARGE & DiGeorge syndrome)

3. Were you afraid of physical changes that might occur during the process of carrying a gift from God?
Hadn't really thought about the logistics physically.

4. Did you get stretch marks?
If yes, What were your feelings and thoughts toward that?
Frustration. I was an athlete and had been used to a decently toned tummy. I did not enjoy my newfound squishyness ! (I was lucky and they faded to a pale skin color)
If no, what other changes occurred and how did you deal with them?
Chronic hip and low back pain... I also learned to be mindful if I needed to sneeze!

I did find myself very unattractive and it was hard to let my husband see me in the shower. I was just very VERY uncomfortable in my own skin.

5. During labour, what were your thoughts while your body was going through a lot of pain?
I was induced and received epidurals with the three pregnancies I carried to term. I was extremely surprised with the labor pains that come with miscarrying a baby. Not being familiar with the nearby hospital after hours entrances, I ended up delivering Jordan in the parking lot--which was taxing mentally/emotionally as well.

6. When you first saw your child, what were your thoughts?
Honestly, I was kind of grossed out by the blood and "cheesy" substance. Once she was wiped down, I was smitten. Instant admiration. I knew I would do anything required for this Baby entrusted to John and I's care.

7. When your child was hungry and you fed him/her, what went through your mind?
Nursing never felt natural for me. It was not a bond or delight. It was a motherly duty. Emma did not nurse well, I'm sure my anxieties were partly to blame. I pumped for Malachi and he received breast milk through his feeding tube for the first 3 months. Jackson was a champ and nursed well from the beginning--but even then it weirded me out!

Nursing is not always easy, what helped you get through the first few weeks of pain?
It was cheap and I knew it was the best nutrition for my baby. I only lasted 6 weeks with Emma, same for Malachi (though I pumped a greater supply than he was given in NICU so it lasted a while), and 8 months I think with Jackson.

8. As you watch your kids learn and grow and as they bring joy into your lives, what do you think about those stretch marks, nursing pains or sleepless nights?
I'm thankful that part of it is behind me! But the memory of the physical pain fades quickly. I'm also realizing that the sleep depravation is a gift from God so that we would forget the "undesirable" parts of bringing new life into the world.

9. If you could say something to your child/children, what would it be?
Everyday I say this to my kids at least once--
Me: Hey, guess what?
E/J: You love me.
Me: Yep! And why do I love you?
E/J: Because I'm your daughter/son.
Me: And?
E/J: And you're my mama.

I want them to know I love them because God gave them to me and there is nothing they can do to earn my love or diminish my love for them. It's also a good reminder for me to know the same applies for me and my Heavenly Father.

10. What is the biggest desire you have for your kids?
That they would know Jesus, love Him, desire to obey and serve Him with their lives.

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