4 Pre-Parenting Stages

4 Pre-Parenting Stages | Twin Cities Moms Blog{Photo credit: Mortenson Photography}

Parenting is a journey. But when does your journey really begin? We experience many important stages in life that bring us subtly closer to our future children. You may have experienced some of these stages in your own way too. And, I think we can all agree that our journey begins early on, even if we don’t see it at the time. 

4 Pre-Parenting Stages. This is my journey, as written to my children.

1. Meeting “the one.”

Ten years before you arrived, I went on a ‘first date.’ This date was simple. Ice cream and a walk around a lake. Not much would lead you to believe that my wandering mind envisioned more dates, a wedding, and well… a family! You, I thought about you 10 years before you arrived. Kind of funny to think about and I’m sure my date would have run away and called me crazy if these thoughts actually came out of my mouth at that time. “Hey, thanks for the date. It was fun! I like you. I would love to marry you and have a couple kids! Is that ok?” Yeah, I didn’t think it would sound great out loud. Mind you, I knew this guy well before our first official date.

2. Saying yes and starting to plan.

Four years after that date, my girlfriend status turned to “fiancé” when he asked me to marry him while on a walk around that same lake from our first date. We had many more dates that eventually involved open conversations about children… not just ones in my head. We talked about you as if it you were inevitable. We shared our hopes and dreams for you. We made plans on when you would arrive and how it would all work out.

Two years later we got married. A two-year engagement is not as long as it sounds, ok folks? (yeah, it was sorta long) We jumped into marriage with fun travel plans, before popping out children. We leapt into a home with a room just for you and sat back to let nature take it’s course! We couldn’t wait to meet you. We planned to meet you in a year or two. Those years passed, and then a couple more passed. Then we thought, just maybe, we needed to stop “planning” so much…

3. Becoming a family.

It was four years after we said our vows that we learned YOU were two! Expecting twins was definitely not in the plans but it made up for the time it took you both to get here. We were finally becoming a family and I felt like I had so much to learn and do!

In those months before you arrived, I educated myself on breastfeeding, sleep training, and how to do it all with two. I organized, set up your room and created a new sweet little world in our home that was just for you. I remember soaking it all in – the past 10 years since I first really thought about being a parent someday. The last six years preparing for the life we were about to embark on together. I thought about the past four years as a Mrs. trying to figure out how to be a wife, a friend, how to manage work and the next big step in life – motherhood. We were so excited for what was to come, exploring the world, creating a family and growing old together. Let me tell you, hormones did not help during this very reminiscent time. I was a bag of mush thinking about it all, as you grew inside me and I watched my feet rapidly disappear below my huge belly. I was embarking on a new life with you two, while imaging my whole life flash before my eyes in a matter of an hour, over my daily bowl of peppermint bon bon ice cream.

4. Goodbye to the old, Hello to the new.

The day before you arrived was peaceful and quiet, and the house was so clean. I honestly couldn’t wait for little ones to destroy it. That may have been my last moment in a clean home, but I am okay with that. I was ready to say Goodbye to this life and Hello the new life I was entering as a Mother.

While en route to the hospital, when something wasn’t right, I knew I would see you soon. I’ll never forget my last ultrasound before you arrived. Two little hearts racing, filling my ears with joy and so much fear. Was I really ready for this? This whole motherhood thing I dreamt of for the past 10 years? Were we ready for two when we had never experienced one? Did we even know what we were doing? Before you arrived, I asked if you could stay in just a little longer so I could figure it out. You refused.

It was six weeks before your due date when you arrived. The surge of emotions that came over me told me that yes, I was ready. I had to be. We were ready for you. And well, you were more than ready for us. Before you came home from the hospital, I asked a nurse if she could live with us (half joking). I questioned my duties and how we could handle it all. I walked the hospital halls feeling a deep sadness. Leaving behind the only home you knew so far. Would our home be enough? Would we be enough for you?

4 Pre-Parenting Stages | Twin Cities Moms Blog{Photo credit: Mortenson Photography}

Now, you’re both almost four and you’re more than I imagined in so many ways! You also quickly fulfilled my pre-mom desire I had for you to destroy the house. But before you arrived I couldn’t wait to fill the house with memories and things that make you happy. It’s funny how so many moms often find every excuse to complain about parenting. No offense, I’m definitely including myself in this observation. My cold coffee, clever “mom quote” shirt, and crusty counters can tell you all about it! I complain every now and then, but before you arrived, I wanted YOU and everything that came with you and I am so grateful for you.

Even though I was preparing for you well before you arrived, nothing could’ve prepared me for it all. Many disappointments in parenting came when I felt the most prepared. The frustrating moments that were sprinkled in the late nights followed by early mornings. Sleep felt so far away. The failed attempts at parenting and perfecting motherhood. The unexpected emotions of mothering two while trying to maintain a somewhat decent home and self. The exhaustion, the worries, the fears. All that I had wished for, was and still is so much at times.

Before you arrived, not even a sappy Lifetime movie could’ve prepared me for the daily satisfaction of parenthood. The thrill of watching you move, grow, learn, walk, talk, share, love and to do it all with your sister!! Even when that satisfaction was barely there… there was a joy in the mundane task of having a dish free counter or a hamper filled with folded clothes. Now that’s pretty satisfying. Before you arrived, none of these feelings had a true place in my mind. I had no idea what mothering meant. No idea what parenthood demanded. Not one clue what being a mom would mean to the two little people I subconsciously created in my heart almost 14 years ago.

Before yours arrived, how did your journey start? I encourage you to think about it, get a journal and write about it! Fill in these 4 stages in your own way.

It’s amazing to think about all the energy we put into parenting before we actually become parents. It’s important to never forget how you got where you are as a parent. Maybe your journey was pretty simple. Maybe yours was difficult, challenging to say the least. Maybe yours was more like a roller coaster of emotions, changes, so much you didn’t plan, or even a complete miracle. However you became a parent, the steps you took to get there are important, they matter and they are a big part of what made you a parent, a mother, a mama.

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