I’ve been working on a special project for the past six months. It’s one that requires minor changes to my lifestyle now, and major changes when the project is complete. It’s one that the whole family is looking forward to coming to fruition. It’s one that is going to bring hard work, tears, insomnia and frustration, but most of all, joy. It’s one that is going to forever change the dynamic of our family.
It’s a baby!
The news, while very welcome, came as quite a shock. We had just moved back to Canada and were embarking on a brand new adventure. As you may recall, after deciding a career change was in order, we took the plunge and left our secure jobs for the great unknown. Of all the “risky” things Big Handsome and I had ever done – him quitting his job to go to graduate school, me taking a reduced work load to build my health, us moving to the Middle East with only one of us employed – this was by far the riskiest. And we were feeling it, camped out in my in-laws’ home, driving around the province looking for an apartment to rent, purchasing household items with the knowledge that a paycheck would be a long time in coming. This is when we learned that a new little person would be joining our family. Amazing, but overwhelming, news.
I remember feeling upset that I was too overwhelmed to be excited about our addition. We’re not naive; we’ve got a son. We know about the challenges of the first weeks of a baby’s life, the adjustments that are required, the months of interrupted sleep. A dear friend helped with the following message:
- Of course you know what you’re in for and ALL the joys that accompany it. You guys LOVE parenting and family and this is just going to quadruple the love you have a feel. And [Little Handsome] is a great age for this. He’ll likely remember her being born (see what I did there?) and he’ll be able to help and it’ll all be so much fun!! I’M SO EXCITED!!!! I think you should name her “new chapter” haha Genesis? Nova? haha…oh, I’m not done having fun with this yet.
Within a few days, once the jetlag had started to subside and the reality had set in, the excitement did come and we’ve been anticipating this great arrival ever since. Of course, having been through this before, we’re not looking forward to everything about a new baby, but we also know the challenges that accompany the first six weeks of adjustment will be overshadowed by the precious gift we’re being given.
And as it turns out, this baby is probably a girl. And while I don’t want to name her Genesis or Nova, I do love the sentiment behind my friend’s name suggestions. We are indeed in a new chapter in the story of our lives. We are living in a new-again place, doing new things, growing in new areas, working out old problems in new ways. And so we’ve decided her middle name will be Eden, which means delight, and which -like the biblical garden – represents to us a sense of newness, perfection, opportunity, freshness.
This little one is expected to arrive around the time Little Handsome turns 4. That’s 2 years later than I would have planned, but I am actually so grateful to have had this time to grow, to dream, to hope, and to enjoy being the mother of one.
After two and a half long and often emotional years of hoping for a sibling for Little Handsome, we had started to wonder whether our family of three might just be complete. However, I don’t think I ever fully believed it, the way I would sneak references about our daughter into conversations, or the way I secretly packed my belly band in our luggage although I left the rest of my maternity clothes in Qatar. And now, 27 weeks into it (yes, I know that’s a tiny belly for 27 weeks, but the dates are right), I wonder how we ever doubted.
The experience of waiting for another pregnancy has given me much empathy for those who struggle with fertility. I am regularly surprised by how many people out there are in the process of yearning for a child or grieving the loss of one. I am so grateful that our story includes longing but no loss, doubts but no death. And I am sorry for those whose stories are different. I wish for you a safe place to talk about your experience.
As for me, when we left Qatar I had plans to start a health coaching business, and they’re not forgotten. But right now I have a more pressing project. There will be time to find balance between working and mothering, but right now my full time job is preparing our home, our son and mostly myself to welcome our little Eden.