Mother's Day reminds me that everyone's story is different.
Ours started just six months into marriage.
We got pregnant six months into marriage. That was not anywhere near the plan. And that positive pregnancy test wrecked me. I knew I was supposed to be excited, that life is a miracle, that children are a gift from the Lord, that there were others who longed to be in my place. But I was crushed under the weight of uncertainties, the permanence of that change, the loss of foundational time with Spencer, desires and dreams being put on hold, and being constantly crazy sick. That gift of motherhood so early on in marriage did not feel like a good gift from a good Father.
Then Katherine came. And the labor and delivery was just awful (being induced with pitocin plus no drugs for pain is not a good combo). I don't remember seeing Katherine the first time or holding her. I was so out of it in every way. (I wrote about K's birth story here.)
And then I walked through postpartum depression.
We brought K home and all of the emotional and physical struggles from the previous ten months came home with us too. I didn't know how to ask for help or what to even ask for. I felt completely alone and constantly never alone at the same time. I had no idea how to feel safe verbalizing my thoughts. I questioned why God had already made me a mama. I felt guilty for acting happy, because that happiness was fake, and I felt guilty for being sad, because that sadness seemed unwarranted compared to what others were going through. And I had a baby that wouldn't sleep unless she was held. (That alone will drive you crazy.) Tears were pretty constant for all sorts of reasons. (I wrote my new mom confessions here.)
When we got pregnant again, I picked up my uncertainties and anxieties and new excitement and kept walking.
It took me so very long to think about being pregnant again without crying. When we learned about Claire I was finally in a good place, but the anxiety about going through it all again gripped me. The sickness was the same but this time we added in migraines. We kept measuring small so we had lots of ultrasounds to make sure C and I were ok.
As we went past our due date again, I cried in the doctors office when she asked about inducing. Those tears seemed to come out of nowhere, and I was slightly embarrassed, but as we got so close to another permanent change, I was overcome with so many emotions as I tried to process it all and deal with my anxieties from before. We went into labor the day before we were scheduled to be induced and this time got an epidural. (Praise the Lord for epidurals! It seriously made all the difference and was such grace for us.) Claire came and I saw her; I actually remember seeing her. (And she actually slept in the hospital!) This labor and delivery and hospital experience was so different; it was all so very different. I still plan on writing more about it because there were smiles and joy, laughter and sweet memories. And I want those to be recorded.
Life with Katherine in the womb and in our arms was a declaration personally to us of God's goodness and faithfulness. Life with Claire has been a declaration personally to us of God's grace and kindness. Pregnancy takes such a toll on me, and on our marriage. And I'll even admit that I don't enjoy nursing. The baby times are sweet in many ways, but they sure are tough for me, and for us. The pain and hardships aren't erased from my mind. But, I truly believe God redeems the pain. He takes delight in redemption. And that has been evident in my motherhood journey.
I know hardships and struggles will come, but for us, each stage really does get better and sweeter.
Some people look ahead with despair, anticipating the negative "just wait" times. But for us, the days ahead are filled with excitement and joy, the days ahead are full of beautiful moments to wait for and anticipate. We love and enjoy each stage more than the stage before.
So as I walk through my motherhood journey, I'm reminded that everyone's story is different and you never know when someone is silently struggling. And you never know when comments can sting.
I pray I speak with encouragement and live with joy because of my own story. I pray I listen more than I speak. I pray I can be a safe place for someone to share their struggles and story. I pray I am now more compassionate and more loving, kinder and gentler. May my motherhood journey bring glory to God and hope to others; may my motherhood journey testify of God's goodness and faithfulness, grace and kindness; may my motherhood be an encouragement and a help.
Sarah loves Jesus and her family and is passionate about addressing the urgent spiritual and physical needs around the world. She is the wife of Spencer and mama of Katherine and Claire, and they live in Nashville, TN. She runs a photography business with her husband and writes in order to offer encouragement and invite others to choose grace, joy, and gratitude in the adventure and the mundane. She loves traveling and reading; she will choose unsweet tea over sweet and bootcut jeans over skinny; and she is all sorts of awkward with small talk but thrives with deep conversations.