Motherhood in all it’s glory, hardship, personal challenge, growth, and just plain confusion. I have been transformed by motherhood, it is the single most transformative journey I have been on. Parts of it have been for the better, so much better. But Motherhood has also brought out the ugliest, most challenging parts of me. That’s sad, and a bit hard to admit. But entirely true. A wonderful woman told me again recently “I never knew I had a temper until I had children.” And let me tell you I am a patient person, but impatience is one thing that just exudes from me some mothering days.
Each child has uniquely blessed, grown, and taught me. As has every pregnancy. Our first Baby J, who we lost around 11 weeks gestation taught me to hope, to believe, to mourn and that we were READY to begin the adventure of parenthood! Cashel teaches me every day to look in the mirror, to examine how I speak and think. He helps me look at the strengths I see in him and to spend time honing the same gifts God has given me of service, leadership, and independence. Camper brings me to my knees begging for more patience (this is definitely an age thing). He also helps me appreciate the world around us, the little things, to pour myself into my sibling relationships, and to see what God has made for us to enjoy. Corban has taught me to slow down, laugh, snuggle, rest, and enjoy. His sweet spirit and BIG love of life is contagious and I am so encouraged by him daily.
There just is nothing like seeing in your child something that came directly from you. The good, the bad, and the ugly. As I navigate motherhood I realize how little I know, how much I need the Lord, and how key self reflection, insight, and growth is. Turning inward and exploring who I am, who I want to be, and who they need me to be – it is all consuming and ever rewarding.
“Perhaps it takes courage to raise children..”
― John Steinbeck,
I think about this new baby I think about who s/he will be and how s/he will change me. I imagine how I will learn to mother him/her to help him/her grow to independence. I long for each of my children to know God in a personal way, to love others and to be independent and contributing citizens in their world. I desperately want them to be friends with each other and to love unconditionally. I want this baby to watch his/her older brothers and learn from each one, to have a unique relationship with each of them and to grow in stature and spiritual maturity as part of our family dynamic.
I pray and whisper sweet words of confidence over him/her believing that the Lord has knit us each together with so much intention and purpose. The truth and sometimes the burden of motherhood can be overwhelming; but in all these moments that add up to a lifetime I know that there are moments of joy, true perfection and others that require grace and forgiveness. I want to be quick to say “I love you.” “Forgive me.” and “Let’s try again, together.” My hope is that my children know that they are their own person, with their own destinies and that I am here to enable, cheer on, and guide. I will also be there to say, “I messed up and know I hurt you.” “I will try again.” and “Let’s see where this can take us.”
Motherhood changes everything.
You created every part of me; you put me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because you are to be feared; all you do is strange and wonderful. I know it with all my heart. When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother’s womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there—you saw me before I was born.
I am grateful for the mirror motherhood holds up for me. A reflection of what is inside that helps me change. I am ever appreciative for a partner in marriage and parenting that will do the hard work, will invest in me and our children with all that he is and no matter what. I believe that as we self sacrifice, change, respond, and love we are becoming better people for ourselves and our children. When I see these glamorous, beautifully captured photos I am reminded of the beauty. It’s beauty in the “perfect,” lovely moments, and beautiful in the hard, lonely, tear-filled, confusing moments. There are times the hard is more present the chaos all consuming and there are spaces where the good and lovely outweigh the bad. For all of this I am deeply grateful. When I yell more than I should, stop and laugh and tickle, when I get consumed by the tasks and not the moments, as I can’t take one more bit of noise in the car, or handle one more “Momma!” or unexpected mess – I know that motherhood is the best thing I have done, besides marry their dad and love Jesus with my life. I am grateful for the opportunity.
Capturing this pregnancy in this way, in this special spot is a priceless treasure. This beautiful spot in the Teanaway Community Forest is a reminder of childhood memories for me. Our family has an annual “Family Campout” reunion every year and for most of my childhood we camped here (probably because at the time it was completely free to do so, since they don’t have running water or any kind of hookups). We came for many years, camped in the dirt and spent time with immediate and extended family. I had no idea how much work it was for my parents, I loved every minute of it, and it is forever etched in my memory. I am so grateful that I can now have a perspective on motherhood that is one of investment. I am investing in my children daily. Their memories – each from their own unique perspective – will one day remind me of how I parented, how we lived, and help me understand how my children perceived it. I look forward to seeing which memories prevail, what their perspectives teach me, and where this leads us all.
Little Baby Four, I promise to love you. I will be here for you. I’ll do my best and ask forgiveness when it’s not enough. I will do what it takes and believe what you bring to our family will be life changing and exactly what we all need. We can’t wait to meet you, know you, and grow with you.