August 18, 2010

If Jamie Lynn Spears Can Do It...

About a year ago, just as I stopped being able to see my toes, I began to realize that "this" was "really happening." Until then, I'd been excited about meeting Mac, but a bit in denial about how that would actually happen. You know, the labor and delivery part.

Two particular verses carried me through anxious moments during my third trimester. I felt such a peace about the health of our baby and about the capable hands (earthly and heavenly) that carried us both.

The thought of labor and delivery, though, scared the fool out of me - so I stopped thinking about it. I skipped the all-day class, as just the thought of taking it made me anxious, and settled for the quick L&D ward tour. I just couldn't imagine how I, of all people, was going to be able to do "this."

My sweet friend Kristen encouraged me with talk of how prepared I was, how blessed, how supported. If other people with less than ideal circumstances could bring a baby into this world, surely I could, too. (I love best friend logic.) I'm guessing, knowing us, that a recap of celebrity gossip immediately followed this pep talk.

The combination of encouragement and Hollywood chatter snapped me out of my anxious funk. And from that conversation, a dazzlingly brilliant thought was born: Jamie Lynn Spears did this. Surely that means I can too!

I don't mean to mock or belittle the youngest Spears. I was as disappointed as anyone to read that she was pregnant at only 16. Sure, I've never met her, but she seemed to be a level-headed girl whose star was on the rise.

Though she became a teen mom, I watched with a strange sense of pride as she refrained from dancing on banquettes in stilettos and a maternity dress; instead, she headed home and seemed to refocus her life on the next phase.

Here was a girl who had a lot of things going against her: age, marital status, lack of education, questionable family role models and the eyes (and cameras) of Hollywood focused on her. But she made it through.

If this scrappy young girl, at 16 and perhaps 15 pre-baby pounds, could come through labor and delivery and live to tell the tale, so could I.

As Kristen and I continued to chat in the coming months, that became our mantra: If Jamie Lynn Spears can do it, I can do it. It applies to so much more than childbirth, too!

Parents divorcing bitterly, spewing lies on the covers of tabloids? Sister wearing jorts and awful extensions as she trots barefoot in a public bathroom? Seventeen-year-old fiance not the guy you need to hitch your wagon to? Unsure how to distance yourself from a sketchy relative? If Jamie Lynn Spears can do it...

I joked often last fall that I was going to tape up a picture of JL as my "focus point" during contractions. (I've only heard about such things, as I clearly didn't read about them. Denial is a powerful tool!) I was going to repeat to myself throughout labor, "Jamie Lynn did this. Jamie Lynn did this. Jamie Lynn did this."

When push came to shove (no L&D pun intended), I didn't lean on Jamie Lynn Spears for support. My husband, my nurses, my Creator and, at the last minute, an anesthesiologist took wonderful care of me.

But after I got home with Mac, bleary-eyed and wondering if I'd ever master motherhood, I'd remind myself that somewhere, Jamie Lynn Spears had already done this. And if she could, well, what excuse did I have?

JLS with her toddler daughter Maddie

I'm only half serious when I say this, as I wish Jamie Lynn all the best. But, friends, is there something you're scared to do? Repeat after me: If Jamie Lynn Spears can do it...

If all else fails, call Kristen. She can pep talk you into believing you're ready for anything!


Kristen said...

I love love love you! And please remember that you're a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for. :)

Emily Emeneker said...

I might need a pep talk or two! I hope you and that sweet little guy are doing well!

Well said my friend! I think, on a daily basis, none of us give us the credit we oh so justly deserve.


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