Back in (Maternity) Black

Back in (Maternity) Black

October has brought a crisp chill to Georgia. Even Covid can’t stop me from enjoying my pumpkin spice latte or wrapping up in my favorite fall scarf. The season changing has inspired me to do some changing of my own. A return to things that truly excite me.

I know that I am no different from anyone reading this. 2020 has been a challenging and often overwhelming year for us all. For me personally it has been a year of deep loss, isolation, relational struggle, growth, happiness, and great surprise. The good, the bad, and the lonely…this year has challenged me in emotional ways that I was not prepared for.

In January, I lost my father. The first man I ever loved. My daddy. In the midst of planning my son’s 2nd birthday party here in Georgia, I got the devastating phone call from Indiana that my father was dying. Bo and I loaded the kids into the car and drove through the night in the pouring rain to get there in time to say goodbye. We arrived within minutes of his passing. I’ve seen death before. But seeing him there in the hospital bed struggling to breathe and swollen from his failed body, it hurt worse than I imagined. My words seemed to fail me in the moment. How do you say goodbye to the man who raised you? The man that coached your sports teams and sat front and center in every dance performance, video camera in hand. The man that taught you how to be brave and independent. The man that held you when teenage boys broke your heart. I still don’t know the answer to that. My goodbye and my words were just not enough. And my heart is still raw from missing him.

Shortly after his death, a tornado devastated our neighborhood in Nashville. Our home (and thankfully the homes of our best friends/family) remained standing. The drastic loss of life and property in our neighborhood has had lasting effects on our community. And of course, shortly after the tornado devastation, Covid reared its ugly head. For Bo in I in Georgia, that meant many nights/weeks of Bo being partially quarantined on base at Ft. Benning. I was quarantined at home with two small babies. Navigating work, babies, sanity, health, grief, and isolation left us both incredibly depleted. It was a very difficult and dark time for our marriage. A marriage that we both want and strive to make exceptional. We both had nothing to give yet needed more than our share.

The month of May seemed to bring life back into a pretty grim and harsh year. We spent time with our family and found renewed joy, partnership, and admiration in our marriage. The world seemed to be slowly returning to normal and it filled me with hope. We excitedly discussed our personal and professional goals for the road ahead. Which for us, included waiting a bit for baby number three. As most of you know, we love being parents and want more children but we were excited to put that on the back burner for a bit and focus on the life in front of us. As you probably also know…God had other plans for us. A missed period and two pink lines confirmed…we would actually NOT be waiting for another baby. We are pregnant with baby number 3 and due in March.

Even when you want another child, a surprise/unplanned pregnancy can be a real shock to the system. Add in pregnancy hormones, severe morning sickness, and two emotionally charged toddlers and you can imagine the chaos. It was a hard beginning to my third pregnancy journey and one that I still struggle with on especially difficult days. I am incredibly grateful and excited about this new little life growing inside of me. As I’m entering month 5 of pregnancy, I love seeing my belly grow and feeling his/her little kicks and movements. For the first time, we will be waiting until birth to find out the gender of our new family member. We are both excited about experiencing such a momentous surprise. As this little one has surprised us from day one…it seems only fitting.

Bo has just finished his first command position in the Army and has recently started a new role here in Georgia. We are both hoping that this new position allows him more freedom and time. My husband is the hardest working man I know. He’s passionately attacking his real estate investment career while still giving 110% of his attention and care to the men and women he serves in the military. I see him really pushing himself to do things outside of his comfort zone and I am constantly in awe when I see him in action. Outside of his professional and personal goals, he is also a loving husband and attentive father. Probably his most challenging and demanding role of all.

So that’s what we’ve been up to. And life is moving forward. I like to think of myself as a “New Yorker”. Although I only lived there for 6 years, that time in my life really impacted who I am as a person. When I used to fly home to Indiana from NYC, my father would often tease me for only wearing black. I still support the chic and always appropriate choice to wear black (and leather jackets for that matter) but lately the thought of my father teasing me has brought happy tears to my eyes. And it’s time. Time to return to myself. I am back in black. Or at least…back in all of my black stretchy maternity clothes. I’m excited to write more. To share more with my family, friends, and my community. To grow more. And to experience and embrace this new life as a mother of three.

Xoxo
Tara Layne

Two Pink Lines

Two Pink Lines

Before you existed I dreamt of you. I wanted you. How strange to love someone who doesn’t exist. How could I see my family, perfect and whole as they are and want more? How did I deserve more?

The honest truth is that raising a newborn baby is hard. It’s beautiful and the best thing that ever happened to us, but it changes your life. Expectations of your spouse grow and the lack of sleep hinders effective communication. Resentment is swift to creep into the cracks. Around October, Bo and I were coming out of a difficult season. And thankfully connecting in ways we hadn’t in years. Maybe ever. With love and respect as our guide. And that’s when it happened…the thought of you.

Amid conversations on packing up our current home (yet again) and details of the renovation project in Georgia, I managed to fit you into the discussion. For us, adding to our family is a big decision and one that we wanted to be certain of and make together. And although you were already on my mind, I knew your Papa might not be ready. And I was nervous to be vulnerable with my thought of you. One October Saturday, after a family trip to the gym and over the draft beer that followed (the healthiest of days) Bo and I had the “I’m ready for another baby” conversation.

I remember it well. And I felt supported by my husband and truly heard. Which is exactly what I needed. We finished our beers, walked home, and decided to revisit the conversation after some thought. In the early morning of December 1st, we woke up in our Arlington townhome. Surrounded by boxes and bubble wrap. He held me as he told me that now…he wanted you too.

Christmas morning. There you were. Two pink lines.

We love you.

Xoxo

Tara Layne