The Quest to be Fair
The year was 2005. I was a tutor/dance teacher for an after school program. The students were having their afternoon snack, which just so happened to be waffles on this particular day. There was one waffle left and a boy and a girl had their eyes on the prize. By the time I reached the duel in progress, another staff member had already handed the waffle to the boy. "That's not fair! That's so ignorant," the 4th grade girl protested. "If that was Miss Denise, she would have split it in half!"
Fast forward nine years later, and "Miss Denise" Lewis is Mrs. Denise LaRosa - wife and mother of one daughter, with a second girl on the way, and I am finding myself on yet another mission to be "fair;" but this mission is perhaps my greatest and most important quest for fairness. I am blessed with an amazing daughter. She lights up the room and warms hearts wherever she goes. People find her to be such a delight and that, in turn, moves my spirit in a way nothing else has. Soon another princess will be joining her.
It's so hard to believe I gave birth to our little angel 19 months ago. My husband and I had been on quite a trying journey to become parents, with me suffering a miscarriage and a "missed" pregnancy prior to that fateful day I saw the word "Pregnant" on the test. Now, I was carrying the first grandchild on both sides of the family. Wow! You just don't get more exciting than that! I instantly went into Mommy-to-be mode - from reading books on pregnancy, to watching everything I ate, and everything in between! Every doctor's appointment was a grand event that I felt obligated to report to the grandparents every single time.
At last, the BIG day arrived! Our daughter was born and everyone was overjoyed and filled with so many emotions! I could barely get any time to rest and recoup from the delivery which had its share of complications. Everybody and their Mama just had to see the baby. People I hadn’t seen for the entire duration of my pregnancy all of a sudden were showing up at our doorstep; even people who weren’t so crazy about me were crazy over the baby. It was overwhelming, but I understood how excited everyone was and the truth was I was more excited than anyone (other than my husband of course).
13 months after our daughter's arrival, I unexpectedly found myself in the same bathroom, taking yet another pregnancy test that glared "PREGNANT!" Oh my!!! How did this happen?! Well, I knew how it happened, but I was utterly speechless. You see, my husband and I had engaged in an impassioned conversation about when to start trying for baby #2. My husband was ready. I was not. Our daughter was just entering toddlerhood and teething. Need I say more? But as fate would have it the conversation was pointless; I was pregnant at the time we had the discussion and had absolutely no clue.
At first, everything was like déjà vu. Family and friends were excited and very happy for us. I was popping my prenatal vitamins and experiencing morning, noon and night sickness. This time I had to go to my first doctor’s appointment by myself. Next thing I knew I was flying solo to one appointment and ultra sound after another due to either my husband’s work schedule or our daughter’s schedule. I didn’t think much of it because, to be honest with you, I was going through the motions myself. The doctors and other staff at the OB/GYN considered me a professional pregnant lady. "Didn't we just see you?" the ladies would tease. "Let's not go there girls," was always my response with a smile. I knew the drill! After all, I had just gone through it a little over a year ago. I was much more relaxed and knew what to expect and it felt good. Well, something in my heart shifted…
One day I opened my eyes and looked around. What did I find? I found myself alone with my daughter most evenings because of my husband’s work schedule. I also noticed how the phone was ringing less, and whenever people did call, they would rarely if ever check in on the baby (aside from my parents). As the months have progressed, I have become ultra-aware of people’s interactions with me. It is a rare moment that someone asks me how I am feeling or how the baby is doing. In fact, what I hear the most is people saying to my husband, “Oh wow, you have a toddler and a pregnant wife. How are you holding up?” Then there is the reality that this pregnancy has been physically and emotionally more challenging for me. Each pregnancy is different and I have accepted that, but some people around me haven’t accepted this widely known fact. Some relatives are quick to say things like, “It will be interesting to see what kind of personality this baby has. Gianna is so sweet and has such a neat little personality, but this baby has been a trip. I hope she doesn’t come out with an attitude.” We haven’t even seen this little angel in person, nor have we held her in our arms, yet she gets talked about like this?
Does Birth Order Define One's Destiny?
Hmmm. . . Baby #2. Wow, just saying that automatically puts this unborn miracle in a race that doesn’t even exist! Have you ever competed in a competition and ended up 2nd place? You worked so hard, giving it your all and then some, yet your all wasn’t good enough to be 1st. How did that make you feel? Frustrated? Not good enough? Angry? Jealous?
There has been much ado about birth order. Alfred Alder's Birth Order Theory is widely known and often used to define or explain individuals' personality traits. According to the theory, the second child may be extremely competitive, trying to take over the older child. The second child may become a rebel and try to outdo everyone. What can start off as competition between the siblings can abruptly turn into an outright rivalry. It wasn't until I experienced this pregnancy that I could totally sympathize with and understand why such a scenario could occur. While I am the second child out of just two children, my brother and I are eleven years apart. We both have had our chances to shine. My daughters will only be a mere 22 months apart. The opportunity for the Alderian Theory to take hold is much more likely. Or is it???
This Mommy is not naïve. However, I am a positive person rooted in the values of unconditional love and being sensitive to the needs of those around me. My daughters already have my unconditional love and support, and I take my role as their mother to heart. I am already as madly in love with my little munchkin in the oven as I am with my 19 month old. I am not saying this to get an "Awe isn't that sweet and so wonderful for her to say," rather I am saying this because it has been an easy, practically effortless act for me. Why? How? Because I am constantly mediating and celebrating the fact that God has entrusted me, yes me to be the mother of these beloved little treasures. Out of all the women in the world, He knew that only I could mother these girls and be everything they need a mother to be.
So, if you are experiencing, or have ever experienced what I call "2nd Pregnancy Syndrome," don't fret. You are just the one to handle it with grace and model unconditional, "fair" love to your children and those around you!
The Quest to be Fair