The journey to motherhood, and through motherhood, looks different for everyone. Struggles with fertility, health issues, timing, age…these are just some of the things that our fellow Charleston Moms Blog writers have dealt with, and are sharing in their raw and personal stories through this series, How I Became A Mother. We hope that you enjoy them and above all, know that you are not alone in this journey!
If I were honest, the whole scene was more like a fifteen-year-old, unmarried girl than the twenty-nine-year-old woman who had been married for five years. I was shocked. I just knew it would never “happen” to me. I thought it was the flu! A baby?! It didn’t fit into my life, or my plan, or the remotest of daydreams I had for my world. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want it. And here it was.
Let me take you back two decades. After a series of medical issues, a doctor informed me that having children was probably not in my future. Cool. I wrapped my head around that concept super early. Children were hard and expensive. I would be fine without them. And I was adopted, so I figured if I really desired to be a mother, I would follow suite. I could adopt. No biggie.
Heath and I got married in 2001 and had conversations about having children as we prepared for marriage. It was never a thing. He understood that it was probably not to be and he was okay with that. He was in line with adoption if we decided to go that route, but seemed content for it to just be us. (At least, that’s how I remember it.) Over the next few years, we settled into birth control and our life. And then it happened… after a series of discussions with some friends, Heath declared, “I feel like we don’t trust God with the future of our family. I think we should go off birth control.”
Needless to say, that was met with some… resistance? A lot of resistance and many tears. I got defensive. And then annoyed. And then frustrated. I just wasn’t on board. It just wasn’t ok. It wasn’t the original plan. Frankly, it was stupid. My sweet husband never brought it up again. But Jesus did.
I remember the stoplight. Exactly where I was when I heard the voice. I think it was audible, or just so strong within me that I could not deny it. “You do not trust Me with your family.” I can remember feeling defensive. And then annoyed. And then frustrated. I wanted to be the one to control this aspect of my life. I didn’t want God involved in it. I loved my job and the life we were building and didn’t want it screwed up with a child. But I resigned. At this point in my relationship with Jesus, I knew better than to ignore it. And in my resignation, I believed God would still give me what I wanted- or what I didn’t want. Because He knew me better than anyone and HAD to know I was not fit for motherhood. If I honored Him, He would honor me.
Change in plans
Eighteen months later, I sat in the midwives office as she confirmed my fear. Defensive, annoyed, and frustrated. Again. The theme of the last three years of my life. I wish I could say it was fleeting, but the truth is, I cried for three months. And as I came face-to-face with a possible miscarriage, the whole situation became a reality. Are you ready to lay down your plans and embrace this Gift you have been given? Are you ready to get rid of the ugly feelings and choose to see the joy? Are you ready to see how your gifts, and your personality, and your great marriage will work together to create a family? I had to choose my answer carefully because it was happening, one way or another.
I’m now twelve years passed this time in my life. I have THREE kids. And I am no more prepared for my everyday than I was then. Seriously. Most days I think, “if anyone pulls back this curtain, they will know I’m a complete phony.” Girls, I don’t know what I am doing. And these creatures in my house? They bring out the defensiveness, annoyance, and frustration like nobody’s business! Whew!
But the more I settle in, the more I realize that I was uniquely created to raise these children. My gifts, personality, and marriage, though flawed, are coming together to instruct babies into adulthood. Even if it wasn’t my idea. ESPECIALLY if it wasn’t my idea. There is a beauty in knowing that God thought I was enough. That God, with His daily help, knew I could survive. He picked me.
Oh, it’s nothing like I thought it would be. It’s beautiful and terrible. Empowering and defeating. Miserable and lovely. And that was just today. These children have also done exactly what I thought they would do. What I was most afraid of. They have changed me. For better or worse, I am not the same person I was twelve years ago. In the process of being stripped of my independence, I have found that I am okay. And right now, from where I sit, I think okay is perfect.