The Difference a Year Can Make

It’s amazing what can happen in a year, isn’t it?

It’s amazing what can happen in a week, in a day, in a matter of seconds.

Rewind to February 11th of last year.

I peed on a stick and, in a matter of seconds, I went from a young, married teacher to a soon-to-be-mom.

One day after that, I would schedule my first OB appointment.

One week after that, I would have my first ultrasound and find out I was carrying two.

One year after that, I sit here rocking one of two of my children to sleep.

How different life is now. There are so many things that February 10th, 2020 Megan would never have seen coming that February 10th, 2021 Megan finds her norm.

A year ago, I was two years into my career. It’s 12:15pm right now, which means I would be bringing the kids in from recess, walking them to the cafeteria and then heading to my classroom to eat my lunch. I still remember my schedule. I never thought that after five years of college, I’d work for two. I would’ve never guessed that in a year’s time, I’d be trading crayons and lesson plans for diapers and onesies.

A year ago, I had no idea I’d be a mother of two at the ripe age of 25. I felt too young to be a mom of one. I was still forgetting my lunch at home and then having to dig for quarters to snack from the vending machines. I doubted myself, I feared the unknown. Your twenties are for discovering yourself, I’d been told. They’re for late nights and road trips and spontaneity. I couldn’t wrap my mind around bringing two children into my world.

A year ago, there was only talk of a virus. There were no masks, there was no social distancing. There was hugging friends you hadn’t seen in a while. There was high fiving and loving on my students. There was hand sanitizer and toilet paper on the grocery store shelves. And in a matter of one or two months, I was working from my couch, anxiety-ridden over the idea of birthing babies during a world-wide pandemic. By March, my husband would accompany me to a doctors appointment for the last time. He would miss all of the ultrasounds showcasing our squirming and growing boys. And what of delivery? Would Jimmy get to be with me? Would the hospital withhold my children if I tested positive? Would I have to go at this alone?

Yes, there was a lot of things February 10th, 2020 Megan would never see coming. In fact, I think if I were told a lot of these things, I would’ve had a giant anxiety attack. Which is why I can appreciate that life is full of surprises. It keeps us on our toes. It keeps us guessing. It keeps us rolling with the punches.

Many blessings can be found in all of the unknown and in the things that make us fearful and doubtful.

In the fear and the doubt of sacrificing my career for the sake of rearing children, God blessed Jimmy with a new career opportunity. It eased our worry and stress about becoming a one-income household. We are blessed with years of saving. I am living my dream of being a mom. Just a mom. Where all my focus can be on my own children. And on top of it all, I don’t know how I’d work successfully in a teaching career that is currently facing change after change after change due to a global pandemic. I rarely sleep through the night. I know I wouldn’t be on top of anything. I wouldn’t give my students 100%. I’d be beat even before I walked through the school doors. And so I know this sacrifice was the best thing for me, for future students and for my babies.

In the fear and doubt of becoming a mother of two, the blessing is the boys. They’re so different. Such unique individuals. They’re so perfect in every way. I’m so lucky they picked me. Life is chaotic and messy and tiresome, but they’ve taught me so much about myself. I’m one of the strongest people I know. I’m being tested everyday, and even though sometimes I cry, sometimes I have mental breaks, sometimes I want to give up…I never do. Because there is no way I could. These boys are my reason for living. They’re the heartbeat of my life. I am stronger and better because of them. And that’s what extinguishes the fear and doubt I felt when I saw the positive test. I doubt myself everyday, but maybe caring this much about what choices I make as a mom shows me that I’m doing something right.

In the fear and doubt of bringing babies into the world during a pandemic, surprisingly, there are blessings here, too. With the first wave of babies born during COVID, there were plenty of moms having to go through it alone or having to face separation from their newborns. I was in the later wave. I was allowed to have my birth partner (Jimmy) with me. If I tested positive for COVID, our hospital encouraged mothers and babies to stay together (immunity through breastmilk and because research was showing that babies were not being effected the same way, if at all). Though Jimmy and I weren’t allowed to leave the hospital during the entire stay, family was able to drop things off to us, like gifts and food, and Jimmy was allowed to step out of the hospital doors to retrieve it. He just couldn’t leave the premises. Yes, we had to have masks on anytime hospital staff was present, and yes, it sucked wearing a mask while trying to breathe through the waves of contractions, but masks aren’t the worst thing. The spinal tap and C-section recovery was worse. As much as I would’ve killed to have family with us to visit in the hospital, there was a bright side. We were given ample opportunity to learn how to be a new family of four without interruption. I was able to have more than one session with the lactation consultant and learn how to breastfeed without needing to cover up because guests were coming. It’s also thanks to the pandemic that Jimmy works from home. He’s able to step out after meetings to help me when the boys are having a rough day. He’s able to talk me down in moments of mommy hysteria. He’s able to spend lunch breaks loving on his boys. These would otherwise be missed opportunities. Without the pandemic, I’d be home alone and outnumbered. I wouldn’t have help when I need it the most.

We never could’ve guessed what the last year would bring. And while the year brought worry, tragedy, hardship, doubt, chaos and a completely new way of living…it brought many, many blessings, opportunities to be a family, hope, love, joy, and excitement.

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