Motherhood in Pregnancy

As we continue to wait for Baby #5 to make their debut, Pregnancy has obviously been at the forefront of my mind. Here is an article I recently wrote for the Sisterhood of Catholic Women about motherhood and pregnancy. If you are interested in learning more about Natural Family Planning and fertility awareness, they have some excellent resources available.

I think it’s time for a term change. Pregnancy, for many people, is some kind of precursor to motherhood. We see sayings such as “Mother-to-be” or “Expecting Mother” on cards, in advertisements and even doctor’s offices. 

As a wife and mother who is currently pregnant with our fifth child, I have some experience in the “mommy-to-be” world. Having gone through it now a few times, I have some opinions on the phrase.

Continue reading at the Sisterhood of Catholic Women

Daily Graces.

Saint Me! Saint Me!

As with any pregnancy, I am frequently being asked the usual questions:

“How far along are you?”

“Is it a boy or a girl?”

“What are you going to name them?”

I love how excited people are for new babies (even if I usually also receive somewhat concerned or confused looks when I explain that this is my 4th baby, not my 1st. It’s ok people, I know how this all works, *winks).

To update everyone, here are the current answers to those questions. As of today we are 25 weeks and 4 days along (thank you pregnancy app for keeping track for me). We decided to be surprised with this baby. We found out the gender for both John and Rosie. When it came time to decide about Clare, we chose to be surprised. It’s easier when you already have things from siblings. It was so much fun! We decided (and the Air Force decided, since we had to move before we were far enough along to find out anyway) to do it again with “Peanut” as we affectionately are calling this baby.

As for the name, even though we don’t know the gender we could still decide on two names. Every family does it differently. We decided back when we were pregnant with John 4 things.

  1. We wouldn’t officially decide on a name until the baby was born. We have gone into labor with our top 2 or 3 options, but we wait until we get to see our new gift before we name them.
  2. Family names are important to us, but we also didn’t want the confusion that inherently comes with family names. Personally, I have a brother Michael, an Uncle Mike, a Great-Uncle Mike and my grandfather’s name was Michael. The name Michael clearly runs strong in my family. In order to honor that, we chose to give John the middle name of Michael. We keep the name alive while preserving a little sanity at family gatherings. We have done this with all our children’s middle names.
  3. Our last name is difficult. It is pronounced nothing like it is spelled and unless you happen to be from a small corner of Georgia where it is also a county name you are probably going to pronounce it incorrectly, then question my schooling when I correct you. It’s ok. We all deal and the kids will too. But, Ben and I felt strongly that because their last name will be problematic, their first name should be simple and easily identifiable. We only deviated from this a little bit when we named Clare because we wanted her to have the same spelling as St. Clare who doesn’t use the “i” usually found in the spelling. Sorry Clare!
  4. We keep the name options secret. Sorry guys!

Clare is actually what prompted this blog post. Every night we say prayers together as a family. We share what we are thankful for from the day and then we saw a few form prayers. We conclude with a litany of the saints that all have a special meaning for our family. Well, a few nights ago during the litany, Clare started shouting “Saint Me! Saint Me!” She was so sweet. At 2 years old she is already treasuring in her own way her namesake while at the same time challenging all of us to think about our calling to sainthood.

It got me thinking about this new baby. Ben and I have talked back and forth about whether we should give all of our children first names after saints. So far, they all have middle names after saints that also happened to be family names and the middle names we have in mind for this little one are also saint names. John and Clare have direct saint names. Rosie is technically Rosemary and though there is no St. Rosemary, there is St. Rose which seems close enough.

There are two ways to go. Naming your child after a saint guarantees that they will have a patron. Of course if your name isn’t a specific saint’s name you can always adopt one as your patron, there are plenty after all. But, from my perspective at least, there is something special about carrying the same name as one of these great spiritual persons.

On the flip side, by giving your child a name that is not already a saint’s name you are opening up the opportunity for a new name to be added to these spiritual guides. I’m not saying that all of our children will become named Saints in the Church, but wouldn’t it be great if among our generation there is a St. Jessica, a St. Riley or a St. Jackson?

So we are torn. Our child will definitely carry a saint’s name with them through life in their middle name. But will they also in their first name?

What’s your opinion on the matter? I’d love to hear thoughts on both sides.

Daily Graces.

Messy Faces

I love babies and how completely ignorant they are of their facial cleanliness. Clare really loves to eat and is especially talented at getting food all over her face. Some days, like yesterday, I wonder what got more food, her stomach or her eyebrows. She is blissfully unaware of what she looks like, happy to keep eating, laughing and making a certified disaster area of her high chair.

As much as I sometimes wish she would just sit still and eat like a normal person, I have to stop and think about what that statement really means. “Eat like a normal person.” What I actually mean is “Eat more like me.” Meaning: sitting in one place, using a fork correctly, taking small bites, actually chewing the food, not needing assistance, and definitely not ending up with pureed sweet potatoes down my shirt and across my forehead like war paint. But this is unfair to Clare. I am asking her to be something she is not. She is a baby. She is not an adult. It is unfair for me to expect more than she can give.

Clare, and all babies, are perfect examples of what it means to live life to the best of their ability. They do not know how to be inauthentic, to be sarcastic, to be judgmental, or to hold anything back. They live fully in the present moment. They do not dwell on the past and they do not worry about the future.  They are not worried about appearances and are capable of unconditional love.

Yes, of course, babies are not capable of critical thinking, of complex decision making and a host of other things that are necessary for a functioning adult. However, there is something be said for the attitude of a baby.

I think that God is asking us to be a bit more like babies. A bit less worried about appearances, a little less concerned about the past and less occupied with the future. It is so easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves to one another we lose sight of who we are. Instead, we are focused on what we aren’t. It’s ok to get a little messy sometimes. So if you happen to see me and my hair isn’t perfect, the dishes are totally done or my kiddos have on mismatched socks, it’s because we are trying to spend more time laughing and playing and a little less time concerned about the tings that can wait. We only have today, today, it won’t be here tomorrow. I hope you find some time today to get a little joyfully messy too.

Such style
Such style