If you traveled to a little backwoods town in New Hampshire, and came upon a cute little white house with toys scattered in the yard, a fluffy dog on the porch, and two adorably chubby naked babies playing outside, then you’ve probably stumbled into the life of one of the most amazing women I’ve ever known. She is this week’s Featured Mommy, and her name is Theone.
I met Theone in the same pregnancy group that I met Chloe (who you met last week). We actually ended up with a whole tribe of amazing mom friends there, which you’ll hear more about soon! She’s an amazing mommy of two littles, a rambunctious 3-year-old boy and a curious 11-month-old girl.
Theone and I bonded over our love for books, animals, and our introverted nature. She is a small-town librarian with a huge heart; she’s a loyal wife, amazingly supportive and kind, she stands up for what’s right, but accepts all variations of “normal” without judging people. She has struggled with the roller coaster of infertility and postpartum depression, but you’d never know of her struggles unless you pried, because her focus is always on others, not herself. Delving into her mind is so inspiring; here are a few of the snippets I’ve collected for my readers today:
What is the best part about having two small kiddos?
The best part about having two littles is the amazing feeling of having your heart double in size. Two kiddos means twice as much love. A close second would be seeing them play together and form such awesome sibling bonds. The way Tyler tries to help with his baby sister and the way Sadie lights up when she sees her big brother is so beautiful.
What is the hardest part?
The hardest part is making time for both of them to have quality time with me. I’m always afraid that I’m spread a little thin, and it makes me nervous and cranky. I’m an only child, so sibling dynamics is uncharted territory for me.
How do you manage to make time for yourself and your spouse?
That’s definitely been a learning experience for us. We text and email a lot during the day, just to touch base with each other, and we carve out some time every evening just to chill out and be together, even if it’s just to watch TV and cuddle. Time to myself is a little harder to come by, but I try to get out for a few hours every Sunday to read or take a walk while my husband has some daddy time with our babies.
What advice would you give a mommy that is pregnant with # 2?
Slow down, ask for help, and stay hydrated. The urge to be Super Mommy really kicks in, like you need to prove you’re some sort of hero who can do everything: make organic laundry soap, hand-carve gender neutral toys from free-range birch trees that you ethically sourced and chopped down yourself, take up canning, and have all your child’s meals and clothes be perfect for Instagram. That’s not going to happen and that’s okay. You’re growing a person from scratch. When your coworkers and family and friends tell you to sit your butt down and have a glass of water, listen to them.
What’s the funniest thing your kids have ever done?
Tyler is really good at saying inappropriate things at exactly the wrong moment and he cracks me up every time. Just a couple of examples, last summer we were having lunch with my brother-in-law and in the middle of the fairly quiet restaurant, he piped up with “Uncle Matt, my daddy farts a lot!” Or there was the time at Target that he said (loudly, and apropos of nothing), “Mommy, we need to buy more vaginas.” Considering the example he’s setting, Sadie will probably say silly things, too, and I’m looking forward to hearing what she says.
What was one of your struggles when dealing with infertility?
I think the biggest struggle for me when going through our infertility issues was guilt. All I ever wanted was to be a mommy and being told that my husband and I were infertile was a huge blow. Even worse, it was a diagnosis of “unexplained sub-fertility.” That means that I could occasionally get pregnant, but I’d never be able to carry my babies for more than a few weeks because they were fundamentally and biologically flawed, but no one knew why. It was a really isolating experience and my husband and I were poorly equipped to deal with it. I didn’t understand why something so simple should be denied to us and I really internalized a lot of that guilt. Like, how much of a screw-up was I as a woman if I couldn’t do what lots of people do by accident?
We were incredibly lucky to not only have a great doctor but also to get pregnant with our son on our first IVF cycle. The odds of that happening are pretty steep, as we learned when we decided to try for another baby. We had the same wonderful reproductive endocrinologist the second time, but it was a much bumpier road. The drugs for IVF are pretty hardcore – there’s lots and lots of injections to give yourself and the hormones really screw with your emotions and general thinking. It was 6 months of shots and early morning visits to the IVF clinic for blood work and ultrasounds before we finally got the news that I was pregnant.
And what advice would you give another mom going through the same thing?
Find a support person who isn’t your partner. I mean, absolutely lean on your partner and do your best to communicate with him or her. Obviously. But also find someone who you can just talk with and who isn’t going to judge you or offer unhelpful advice. The people who say things like, “Just relax!” or “When I was trying to get pregnant, it just happened!” or “Everything happens for a reason!” are the worst. You need someone who you can email at 5 in the morning when you’re driving 2 hours each way to the IVF clinic and you’re not allowed to have any coffee who will just agree with you when you say that everything sucks.
I’m so lucky that my best friend of a million years was that person for me. Infertility took me to some really dark places and she was my light. I sent her pictures of the giant needles I had to jab myself with and the “IVF Activity Kit” (literally a huge box filled with super intimidating fertility drugs) and she would just tell me that I was metal as hell.
Was I exaggerating when I said this woman is an inspiration? Not at all!
Theone, I am so overwhelmed with appreciation for having you here to share your story. Over the course of our friendship, you have taught me to give myself some credit for making a human, and to be patient with myself as I navigate the new road of motherhood. It’s been amazing being a part of your journey with your two kiddos and learning from your gracious example, so thank you.
Alright, time for an overdose of sweetness from the family pictures that Theone shared! If you have any questions for Theone, you can ask them in the comments below.
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