January 3, 2009

I don't know about this

My daughter is 8 months old today. She has gone from a little "potato" who spent most of her time fussing &/or crying to a kiddo who crawls, pulls herself up, has two teeth and is cutting four more, laughs, blows raspberries, babbles loudly, talks with her hands, and likes cell phones, green apples and watching Travis and I brush our teeth.

It's been amazing, fun and incredibly difficult.

Last night I was listening to Lauryn Hills' To Zion, a song she wrote to her son.
"How beautiful if nothing more
Than to wait at Zion's door
I've never been in love like this before...
And I'm reminded every time I see your face
That the joy of my world is in Zion"

I always thought those words would sum up how I would feel about being a mom. But it's not. When L's asleep I'm not gonna hang out at her door. I'm gonna sit down, or take a shower, or clean up the kitchen, or read a blog. And while it is true that I've never loved someone the way I love L, I have also never been so frustrated with another person in my life. My daughter's face can most definitely melt my heart, lift my spirits, make me laugh and make my heart ache with love. But she can also leave me feeling ragged, exhausted, empty, grumpy and far from joyful.

I don't know if Lauryn was setting me up for a hard fall or if my experience of motherhood is being shaded by several different circumstances, but right now I feel like I've spent the last 8 months being dragged behind a wagon.

Motherhood is hard. Pray for me and my family.


  1. Bonnie - You are not alone in feeling like this. I think I've shared in the past that I truly didn't start feeling like myself again until Hannah was around a year of age. That's a long time to be walking around not feeling like yourself. I know everyone's got different mothering experiences, but when I hear moms share how rosy and sweet things are 100% of the time, I just want to kick them. I can't relate to those people. My experience in mothering has been wonderful and filled with hundreds of precious, joyful moments. At the same time, I've never been so challenged before, nor have my relationships with God and my husband been so challenged before. It's a tough row to hoe, being a mom, and I don't think moms, in general, are honest enough about the experience to help newbies through that transition and give us a realistic picture of what it's going to be like. This is by far the most demanding, difficult, challenging, unnerving, and, yes, at times, frustrating, experience of my life. I will keep praying for you, Bonnie, because I know what you're feeling, as well as how hard (and isolating) it is to be going through that.

  2. many things come to mind:
    1- that you would have been able to hear an IWU student, Hannah Martin, a 2007 graduate sing that song. she is even 100 times better then Lauryn.
    2- what you wrote is in the head of every mother. I know exactly what you wrote. That's what I sometimes tell other moms (and only a mother would understand when I say this) that pregnancy (And then motherhood) was the BEST and yet the WORST thing that has ever happened to me. It was obviously the best more then the worst, otherwise I would have given my children up for adoption. But yet, it is the most physically and mentally draining thing I have ever experienced. BUT....there is those times where I'm nursing Bridget or when Lucy just decides to run and hug me for no reason that makes it all worth it.
    3- I love that song, but I don't think the audience was for those of us who are already open to life. I think the very basic point was that between choosing the life of your child and abortion, that your child's life WILL bring you more joy then you could ever imagine. Abortion will rob you of that, obviously.

    yes, parenting sucks at times.....sometimes A LOT....but.....would Lauryn ever wish even on the worst of days that she would have gone through with that abortion everyone was telling her to get. It's an easy 'NO.'

    Overall, I agree with both Lauryn Hill and Bonnie Engstrom. :)

  3. again, i have good ideas, but am bad with words. and you bonnie are wonderful with words. which is why you need to write a book for mothers. I just think that it would help so many. I recommend your blog to lots of new moms (i didnt ask, but oh well. :) )

  4. Bonnie- I agree with the previous posts! So, I really have nothing new to offer you. But, I do know this...living away from everyone and not having friends and family around has made it way more difficult for me than I think it would have been if we were closer to my family. So, I am just offering my support and my encouragement to you. Having a support system is SO important. And from what i know of you, you have that. Sure, it doesn't make motherhood a breeze, but at least you have other mothers who understand and who empathize and will listen. Landon was just at mom and dad's for 4 days. It was great!! Not to sound terrible, but I really enjoyed those 4 days and nights with no crying, no feeding, no diapers. Just Justin, me, a good book, and some wine. But, boy was I glad when he got back last night. My point is, if you can last through the breastfeeding and constant attachment, you will get those well deserved breaks and more time to yourself. We all need a refresher. And, anytime I am in town, I would be more than happy to provide that refresher for a couple of hours or the whole afternoon for you...my friend! (I also, am not good with words and tend to ramble, so I apologize!)

  5. I just found your blog off of a comment at Conversion Diary. I like it. On this post, let me just say, I am so with you. My firstborn daughter was also a handful. She's three now and can still make me melt in an instant or push my buttons just as fast. Could there be a little post partum going on? I think I had mild post partum depression with my first because it really did take me almost a year to be me again. I had this weird detachment from the world. Not from my child at all. I just felt like she took EVERYTHING and I had nothing left for anyone else. I didn't even realize how bad it was until it was gone. I just kept thinking "Wow this mommy stuff is HARD" when I think it was harder because of where I was. I'm not saying run out and get medicated. I didn't. But maybe supplement with Omega-3's? Babies really do suck that stuff out of our brains while we're pregnant. And if your girl is anything like my high-maintenance girl, when she gets mobile and can talk and tell you what she wants and how she feels, it gets easier. Still hard, don't get me wrong, but definitely easier. Sorry I posted so long. It just sounded like you were writing exactly what was in my head back then.