5 months ago, this sweet, schmooshy, cuddly little girl made me a mother – a miraculous gift and a role I didn’t think I would ever get to play – and she has been patiently enduring my transition into this new role ever since.
I used to be one of those women in my younger years who probably took for granted the whole having children thing. I recall casually thinking “sure, I will probably have kids someday, when I meet the right partner, when I’m ready, after my career is more established, after I travel and see the world a bit more, and, and, and…” How incredibly naive I was and little did I know then that what was once a casual, almost dismissive “given” would become such a deep rooted desire, a longing, a daily prayer, a painful struggle, an unfulfilled hope for so many years and then a heartbreaking, world shattering, tragic loss…but then…
THEN came our miracle.
As I look back on the journey that has brought me to this place, into this season, into this role as a new, 39 year old mother of a healthy, smiley 5 month old, I am filled with emotions too varied and complex to often express and gratitude too much to contain. But because I want to always bathe in that gratitude and never lose sight of how so very blessed I am, I find myself sometimes almost denying that motherhood is HARD. It’s almost as if by being honest or transparent about the challenges, that I worry I am being less grateful…but I am learning that it’s BOTH AND, not one or the other. Motherhood is a gift and it is hard and it’s not for the faint of heart and it’s always beautiful and it’s always worth it…and if I deny either, the gratitude or the challenge, I am missing out on the fullness of this transformative experience.
But let me pause for a moment…as I must acknowledge an elephant [that always seems to lurk] in the mama room…scratch that… in the woman room…that ugly, self-doubting, comparison-game-playing version of myself, of ourselves, that gets tangled up in pursuing the “perfect pinterest-worthy life” rather than focusing on what’s real, what’s right in front of us, what and who we are being called to as women, as mothers, as people. ENOUGH…that is enough… of that senseless pursuit YOU, ME, ALL OF US. and ENOUGH — you are enough. Hear me again, you, me, all of us…YOU ARE ENOUGH. God has uniquely designed and created each of us with a purpose and a calling far bigger than what will ever be reflected on a darn pinterest board or instagram feed. Now don’t get me wrong — I am not anti-social media at all — infact, I utilize a lot of social media in my career. But I am advocating for a release from all the unfair, unnecessary and unrealistic expectations we allow influences from those sources to place on us. There is such a fine line between jealousy and an unrest of one’s spirit — and I have had to ask myself the tough question lately of whether this angst I feel is just masked jealousy I have pent up inside or whether it’s more. And I know now that it’s more… my spirit is disturbed by some things I am seeing and hearing. I am seeing women and mothers tear each other down daily – maybe not intentionally but it’s there — in their judgement of each other’s choices and abilities, in their jockeying for position in the Whos Who of Moms Everywhere, in their never ending drive for their kid to be #1, in their competitive efforts to out-organic each other, in their somewhat idolatrous quest to simplify…and the most disturbing part, is that I have gotten tangled all up in it all too. ENOUGH! I am calling me, us to a higher pursuit — a pursuit that seeks God first…a pursuit that honors our calling as women, as mothers, as friends, etc…a pursuit that begins and ends with a spirit of love and gratitude…a pursuit that will dirty our hands and blister our feet in love and service to others…a pursuit that isn’t about us at all.
Now where was I? Oh yes…motherhood. The beautiful, transformative experience of motherhood.
I have learned so much in just 5 short months, but mostly how much I have left to learn. Now more than ever, I am grateful for my village, for the Mama Tribe, for those who have gone before me in this crazy journey and now lend their wisdom, insight, instincts and encouragement. Motherhood is not meant to be a solo journey, that is for certain. On those days when I am an unshowered, frantic, hot mess of a person, I know I am not alone…and there is such comfort in that.
As our little one gets older and bigger by the second, I am feeling the pressure of maximizing every moment we have to spend with her. I feel this crazy crunch and almost a panic to be as intentional as possible with talking to her, narrating life to her, reading to her, praying with her, singing to her, teaching her sign language, stretching and moving and strengthening her little body, tickling her, etc…as if those things alone are going to dictate the kind of kid she is or how healthy or how intelligent or how social or how well rounded she is. I know there is such value in doing these things for sure but it’s a bit arrogant of me to think that I have that much influence over her whole personhood or demeanor when the truth is that in many ways she is already who she is…and will continue to grow into more of herself.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” ~ Psalm 139:13
Little lass is already known by God…and there is such liberation in that. We don’t have to create her into this person we think she should be. We need to steward and nurture and help call to fruition the person God has created her to be and the gifts and abilities he has already given her and the ones he may give her later…but it doesn’t depend on me, on us. That’s a game changer, dear reader…and that is where the real transformation happens – in acknowledging that while my role as a mother is very important and is a very high calling, everything doesn’t start and stop with me and little lass’s future and self and life story doesn’t rest solely in my hands. Thank God for that sweet sweet truth…
…and for the gift and miracle of motherhood.