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

Georgia on my Mind

Georgia on my Mind

The squirmy and sweet little girl inside my belly must be a dancer. While she and I are both gaining weight rapidly, I am reminded that my body is not my own. There is a little girl growing and starting her journey in this world. A world full of love, beauty, heartbreak, and hopefully…a lot of dancing.

Slowly, the guest room is emptying and a nursery is taking shape. It’s the one room that I am looking forward to organizing. Most women enjoy the second trimester, but I don’t agree. The third trimester carries all the magic and excitement of pregnancy. Strangers congratulating you and touching your belly, shopping for baby clothes and organizing the nursery, and then of course counting down and anticipating the birth of this new little miracle. Such a magical time.

I am still adjusting to our life here in Georgia. Bo has been in a training course that is nearing completion and many of the people we have met are off to their next duty assignments. Stories of hectic moves and looming deployments have become common chatter amongst our group of friends. Thankfully for us, Bo will be taking command of a company here at Ft. Benning. We feel very blessed to know that he will be staying close to home for the foreseeable future and I don’t envy the strong wives that will be kissing their husband’s goodbye over the next year.

As our friends adjust to their new assignments and prepare to leave Georgia, I am preparing to give birth to my baby girl. As it was in DC with Camden, we will start our new family life without friends and family. A truth that doesn’t get easier with each new occurrence. If all goes as planned, our mothers and sisters will make the trip to Georgia for her birth. We will spend a week of quality time together breathing in her new smell and welcoming her into our tribe. Too shortly after her arrival, our family will leave and Bo and I will be adjusting to life alone with 2 under 2.

Living life hundreds of miles from our people weighs heavily on our hearts. Making new friends is imperative to our happiness in these new places. However, I find it very challenging to make new friends while pregnant. This pregnancy specifically has been very challenging on my body and I haven’t made the effort to connect with new friends. Something I desperately want as I bring this new life into the world.

There are only so many conversations my husband will endure about pregnancy and nursery decor. Only so many times he can nod and smile empathetically to my hormonal reactions on a daily basis. He’s a strong man…to be the only friend and family member of a very pregnant Georgia woman. I try to remember that when he needs the occasional “bro” time. And he tries to remember that as he opens his 4th beer and watches me begrudgingly sip pink lemonade. We are in this together.

As our baby girl reaches the final stages of development and prepares to join our family, we too prepare for our new life. One where we push ourselves to grow. Not just the growth that happens to an expanding family, but one of choice and intention for change. In new and existing relationships alike.

I look forward to liking you Georgia. I look forward to feeling at home here and finding “our spots” around this city. To seeing my husband’s investment goals here become a reality and learning how to be a working mother of two. To meeting new friends that will make life here in Georgia so much sweeter. I look forward to doing it all. Hopefully…while sipping a glass of wine.

Xoxo
Tara Layne