Unplanned staying-at-home mom

I’ve been made redundant a month ago. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed because I was juggling a full time job, a household plus the three kids. As soon a I calmed down after the initial shock of being ‘letting go’ I could actually start thinking of all the wonderful things I could now actually do. The great big spring cleaning, getting my butt to the gym, cooking and baking, blogging and spending some quality time with the family instead of collapsing on my bed at 9 pm in exhaustion.

Ok, I am bit stressed about how we will do financially in the future, but I’m sure that God wanted me to be with my family now. Some things have happened and to be honest, had this all happened while I still had to go to work, I can’t see how we could have coped.

So, like I said, it’s been a month now and there has ALWAYS been someone at home with me, in sick mode. So instead of doing the stuff I was planning on doing, I had to be tending to the sick. Seriously, everyone has been sick , my husband, the kids even the cat will be having an operation tomorrow. I know it must come across as if I’m not enjoying it…but to be honest, I kind of am. All those years that I’ve had to take time off or felt guilty about not being able to nurse my family back to health, or just not being able to be there whenever they needed me. I’m so grateful for being at home right now, even though I haven’t had a moment to myself yet. But, God, I would really appreciate just one day… soon…please? Ha!

God has showed me that sometimes the best things in life are completely unplanned.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

 

knock knock

My kids and me (1996)

God loves the pregnant teen

Wow, your little brother is so cute” …said a couple of elderly ladies while peeping into the baby the carriage that I was pushing around during a shopping trip. I took a deep breath like many times before and said;

“Well thank you, but he’s actually my second child”.

And there it was. The expression of stupor upon these ladies faces. I’ve come to anticipate this reaction and have grown used to it.

Still to this day, 18 years after my eldest child was born, I still notice the ill concealed shocked faces when telling people the ages of my children.

By the age of 17, I was a mother to two children. Having had my eldest at 15 years old and 11 months. Her brother quickly followed 22 months after.

In those days, I’ve always seemed to be an oddity. Nowadays you will regularly hear about teenage pregnancies, they even make shows about them as if it has become normal and as if it’s a glamorous life. But when I was a young mom 18 years ago, it still was pretty much the scandal. I had people staring at my belly while waiting in line in the grocery store and I had kids yelling foul names at me in the street. It left me feeling ashamed, yet, I couldn’t wait to meet the little girl growing inside of me.

I’ve had many people come up to me and ask the same questions over and over and you can see that people stereotype teen parents. They usually think of us as stupid, irresponsible, selfish, promiscuous and more, regardless the situation we are in and without knowing us.

Here are some recurring questions (and answers) that people would ask me.

  • “How old are you?”

People usually ask first how old my children are and then ask me how old I am…then you quickly see them making the calculations in their mind. So I quickly tell them, yes, I was almost 16 with my first and 17 with my second —SHOCK!

  • “Do they have the same father?”

This question really baffled me at the start. What does that have anything to do with anything? Or how could someone actually ask it, it seemed really rude to me and still does. The answer is yes, they do have the same father and someone actually responded “Oh thank God”…I’m still trying to figure out why, I guess it’s the assumption that we are all promiscuous.

  • “Did you want to have the baby or was it an accident?”
I didn’t plan my first baby. I was on birth control, but apparently not taking it properly. I’ll save you the details. Our second baby came naturally, I wasn’t on birth control so I knew that I could get pregnant again. We (the parents) were by that time living together and the baby was welcome.
  • “Where you scared when you found out?”

YES! Plain and simple.
  • “Did you ever consider abortion?”

Others considered it for me. Being an adoptee and not having the best of experiences while growing up with my adopted divorcee mother, adoption was out of the question. Not an option I had to fight my mother allot , but in the end, it was my choice to keep my baby and no one could force me otherwise.
  • How did the father react?”

I rather not talk about him out of respect for my children. He has always been a part of their lives but we separated around the time of the birth our second child.
  • “Don’t you feel like you missed out during your teen years?”

Missed out on what? The road that would/could have been mine, didn’t look that great. I was living with my adoptive mother who is an alcoholic and was very abusive. I needed to take care of myself since my parents divorced when I was thirteen. I had to take care of myself because ‘the mother’ was constantly in and out of psychiatric wards and when she was home, she was either in the local pub or passed out in the couch. I was planning on ending my life before finding out that I was pregnant and still to this day, I see my teen pregnancy as a blessing. I see it as an event that has saved and changed my life.
Because of my daughter, I had a reason to live. I had a reason to fight in life and that’s what I did. I didn’t feel alone any more because I had someone who was actually a part of me, my blood and whom I knew really loved me.

My kids and me (1996)

I am in no way, advertising teenage pregnancy because it’s not glamorous, it’s not easy it’s not something you should plan. I’m just trying to share with you, how I experienced it. I was scared, ashamed and emotional and unfortunately didn’t have the support I needed from my parents at that time. My father living across the ocean and my mother was just not capable and still isn’t. I felt like God hated me and that I would never be close to Him again, because there was no one around to explain to me that this is NOT how God works. Instead, people chose to judged me.
What I really needed to know then and what I would like share with other girls now is that no matter what, God loves you! It’s not because you made a mistake that God will leave you, He will be there on your new journey into motherhood, if you will just let Him. There is nothing that you can do that will make God stop loving you. Nothing. All children are blessings from God and He has a plan for each one (Psalm 139:13-18). Even if the circumstances in which they come may be less than ideal, that child is as precious and loved by God as any other.
And the pregnant girl is just as precious to God.
To you parents dealing with a pregnant teen, I want to let you know that God does give the best direction to follow. He can show you how to respond and flourish in spite of the less than ideal situations. He will guide you to make good decisions, He will work miracles that open up hope where none existed and through it all He will be a constant companion who will bring peace in your heart. I know this because He has done it for me and He made us a promise in the Old Testament : “For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never forsake you’” ~ Hebrews 13:5
Put your faith in God. You will never be disappointed!
God is a powerful God and He can even make a blessing out of our sin. The biggest blessing in my life are my children, He has made me how I am today, through them.
“and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28 (ESV)

How do you feel about mother’s day?

Mother's Day card

Mother’s Day card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Why I Hate Mothers Day

It celebrates the great lie about women: That those with children are more important than those without…

by author Anne Lamott

How do you feel about mother’s day? Does the upcoming mothers day raise your blood pressure a bit? Is it a day you look forward too or a day that you apprehend? Walking around you see all these advertisements for gift ideas to get your mom. Even your email can’t hide from all that publicity. “Treat your mom to a luxurious spa” —Hmm, spa…

Maybe you lost a child, maybe you grew up without a mom or perhaps your mama died and the though of her is still just to painful.

For me, mother’s day used to be right up there with the other days  you “must” celebrate, especially Christmas. I’m not going to get into Christmas just as yet, that might be a post for the next holidays but what I am focussing on now, is mother’s day now or how it should be called:  “Hail me for cooking your dinner and doing your laundry day” Now that’s a day I wouldn’t mind getting celebrated for.

However, mother’s day was one of those days that would remind me that I was all alone at some point in my life. Living in a foreign country, raising my teenagers on my own, without any love or support from my a-mother or any family for that matter. My a-dad lived far far away.

And how is it possible anyways for all the other moms out there to be happy and served on mother’s day? My mother-in-law lost her mom last year and the pain is still fresh because it would have been her birthday around this time. They were very close. I have friends who wish they could be mothers but it hasn’t happened or at least not yet. This is a sad day for my friends. How about the single mothers? Who’s cooking for their kids tonight? How about all the mothers who work in restaurants today, serving other mothers? Or in the shops? It’s a recipe for discontentment.

Now don’t me wrong, I don’t hate mother’s day,I used to but I’ve hated it less and less over the years. Not only because my situation has changed: a new loving husband and being found by my birth family, but because of the grace of God. He quieted my heart, He helped me see that I wasn’t alone and that He had great plans in store for me. We are never alone you see:

• We are loved with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)

• We are the apple of His eye. (Proverbs 7:2)

• Our name is engraved in the palm of His hands. (Isaiah 49:16)

• We are carried through every storm. (Mark 4:35-41)

• We are wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

• We are watched over day and night. (Psalm 121:1-8)

• We are forgiven. (1 John 1:9)

• We are rejoiced over with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

I should say though that I am not condemning anyone for celebrating this day but what I do think is that you don’t have to buy expensive gifts to show your love. There are many many other ways to do so. Be creative. I will be giving my birth momma a small gift for the first time, because I want her to know that I care about her, I love her and that mother’s day must have been as painful for her as it was for me and now we can celebrate!

So friends, this year, I won’t be moody if my kids forget me. Over the years they have blessed me with many, many, many sorts of artwork that will last me a lifetime. Heck, even though two of them are teens now, their art still garnishes the walls of our home, more beautiful than any Monet will do. I will remember that I’m not only a blessing to them, but they are a blessing to me too and that is remembered each and everyday in our home.

Try to turn the pain of mother’s day into joy. Enjoy this weekend and remember that you are loved!

Please don’t hesitate to share how you feel about mother’s day. I am not claiming to be a specialist on this matter. My views come from what I’ve learned, what I’ve experienced, and what I’ve perceived as an adult adoptee and so I really would like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Have a great weekend!

Bad bad mommy…and daddy!

Yesterday, after a long day of work,  I came home not only to cook diner for my family but I had forgotten our youngest daughter of 9 , had a school project due for the next day. I’ve never been good at getting stuff done well ahead of time and this project wasn’t any different.

Her project was about Brussels. You know, the capital town of the European Union and of Belgium? You might be rolling your eyes at your screen now, but believe me, when I’m travelling and I say that I live in Belgium, I’ve had people tell me “Oh yeah, the capital of Brussels!”. I’m then the one rolling my eyes.

Anyway, that was off topic, back on the subject now. I came home, cooked diner and for the first time in my life, I baked a whole batch of Belgian waffles. Here they call them “Brusselse wafels”. They looked pretty good, but I wasn’t convinced about the taste. Oh well. You can see a bit missing on the bottom waffle….I’m the culprit.

While I was doing that, my husband was putting the Atomium together. We had a little argument about ; how much parental help is too much help with school projects? I mean, I was baking waffles and he’s making the Atomium and all the while Veruna is asking ” Can I help, please? Can I do something please?”  I hope we haven’t scared her for life now. Bad mama, bad papa! I’m promising myself that I will let her do her next project by a-l-l by herself, with maybe some help from me.

Once my husband had put the whole thing together, she did get the chance to help wrap the darn thing in alunium, alumion, aluminum….Arg, in foil. The next stage was hiding it from the cats. They destroy everything that catches their interest. This was the finished product :

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Atomium, this is what it looks like in real life :

Atonium

Atonium (Photo credit: Med PhotoBlog)

So by the time my hubby finished the construction and I finished making the waffles (made more than was planned because everyone kept on eating them) it was almost 11 pm…Noy much of a relaxing evening. Thank Goodness it’s Friday folks!

Have a great weekend!

The angry adoptee?

Someone recently asked me how was it that I wasn’t bitter about my whole adoption past.

I asked that person what they meant and they wondered if or why I didn’t feel any resentment about the whole situation.

Just to clarify, my natural parents are still together and they have had two children after me. I have a full blood sister and brother.

I guess, when you think of it, one could feel upset by this. Some adoptees often express such perceptions. Many books, such at The Primal Wound and Journey of the Adopted Self, propose that adoptees not only have these feelings, but that they are correct perceptions, and that the adoptee may never heal from these feelings.

Isn’t this one of the reasons why people were encouraged in the past to keep it from their children, the fact that they were adopted? That it would protect them from a “trauma”?

I’ll be honest, while I had a terrible relationship and experiences with my ado-mom, I kind of felt abandoned. When I had my kids during my teens, I didn’t have a loving mom by my side to help me and guide me on my new journey into motherhood. I didn’t have a role model. I didn’t feel loved, I felt lonely…abandoned maybe.

But after being found and getting to know the story, I think we often forget the “trauma” and the bitterness our birth mothers must have felt. My mother couldn’t forget me, even if she wanted to, because I was born the day after her birthday. I can only imagine how she must have felt, counting year after year. I have at times, delicately tried to pry some info about my birth and I would get pieces here and there, but I can feel her pain and then decide that it’s just better to stop. At least for now.

So, do I feel bitter? NO! If anything, my heart leapt with joy when I found out that they were still together and that I besides having the sister who found me, I too have a brother!

Plus God has proven Himself faithful in every place of brokenness and loss during my life and has blessed me with this reunion. God has convinced me that my life was “meant to be”.

Even if you are not a Christian or you don’t have another religion holding you up and I’m saying this because God has and does keep me up, that life is too short to live it in bitterness, sometimes you just need to see the good things in life and decide to be happy. This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever be sad, but give it a place. We as individuals can choose our own attitudes at any time.

Oh and on a last note, I really hope that I haven’t offended others by what I said and if it seems like I’m belittling your feelings, this is not my intention and I’m sorry. I don’t know all your stories or pain, but I’m sure there is a lot of it. I do not claim to be an expert on anything but my own experiences and I would like to hear yours as well.

  • The Primal Wound – More Questions Than Answers! (sharonannevanwyk.wordpress.com)