written November 2016
Note: It feels strange, today, in the aftermath of the election, to post about something other than what’s going on in our country. One powerful way we can change and heal the division we see is by sharing our stories with vulnerability and connecting heart to heart. As we learn the pain that each person carries, we grow in empathy and compassion for one another.
I walked into the season of childbearing so naïve. It feels like much about motherhood is on a “need to know” basis. Before I wanted to have children, it appeared to me that everyone got pregnant exactly when they wanted to. I always heard these charming little stories about how people got pregnant the first time they tried. “You better be ready,” they said. “You could get pregnant from the first month you try.”
I didn’t want to have to wait 6 months to get pregnant the first time.
When you’re trying to get pregnant, it feels like the whole world is pregnant. When you finally do get pregnant, people love to give advice and opinions. This is your initiation: moms love to share their birth and baby horror stories. You start to learn the nitty-gritty things that you never knew existed and you start to prepare yourself.
I didn’t want to go through 56 hours of labor that ended in an emergency c-section.
But there’s still a deeper layer that I wish I would have known. This is the true “need to know.” I watched a few friends walk through postpartum and thought, man, that looks hard on them. It won’t be that hard for me; I’ve already gone through hard things.
I didn’t want to suffer from Postpartum Depression that extended long beyond the “fourth trimester.”
Motherhood, for me, has been a continual exercise in a lack of control. Just when I think I’ve got it down, it throws me for a loop. It’s brutal. I grow, but in fits and starts. Motherhood hasn’t come easily, like I imagined it would.
I didn’t want to accidentally get pregnant again when my son was 7 months old and then find out we lost the baby 6 weeks later.
I expected the joy of motherhood. I soak it up. I bask in it. The simple pleasure of watching my child play from across the room. The luxury of being home to care for him as he grows. I didn’t expect the pain, though. The darker side of this season was the missing element of the “need to know” and it’s knocked me down over and over as I’ve lived through the pain personally and walked through the pain with other mamas down in the dirt. Women amaze me. Look into the eyes of any woman you know and praise her for what she has endured and the way she is still standing strong today.
I didn’t want to be waiting sixteen months and counting to get pregnant again.
Wholeness, by definition, includes even the parts you don’t like. We don’t get to choose to only include the sunny, joyful moments. The entirety of who we are is exactly the sum of everything we’ve experienced. Although I’ve mostly been dragged through this season kicking and screaming, and I didn’t want this to be my story, this is my story. I’m learning to say, yes, this is my story, and look how strong I am.