Growing up I never wanted to do anything else but get married and have children. The thought of having my very own babies sounded wonderful. In fact so wonderful that up until I had my first child I said I wanted 12 children. I would hold my baby dolls as a girl and pretend they were my real babies, the ones I would have as a married wife. When my husband and I first got married, we decided to allow God to send us our children, in the timing that He saw fit. We were pregnant with our first child three months after marriage and we were thrilled! We were going to be a real family now. Everything was going to be just like I had always dreamed and planned.
Then came the baby. And with him came crying, lots of crying. Dirty diapers would explode all over everything. Tired, aching shoulders from holding the baby constantly. A house that was a disaster. A baby that wouldn't gain weight for the first month of his life due to milk supply problems. Sleepless nights. Calling my husband in tears because all I felt I did was sit on the couch and nurse for the first several months. Finding out my baby didn't like to snuggle. And on top of all that, discovering I had severe adrenal problems that made it very difficult for me to just get through a day feeling normal.
There were times when I wondered if it was worth it. I would look at this child who did nothing but scream for the first 4 months of his life, and wonder what had happened to all my dreams of motherhood. Thankfully I didn't give up. The month my baby turned two, we gave him a brother. When he was 4 we gave him a sister. And now he is 6, and has another new little sister. I am so very blessed by all my children, because now I have learned the joys of motherhood.
The same little boy who used to scream and cry, learned to sing hymns before he could talk. The thrill I felt the first time my child told me that he loved me. Hearing my children learn to pray. Holding my new baby girl in my arms and listening to her coo and talk to me at 1 month old. The joy of giving birth with a supportive husband, wonderful midwifes, and encouraging friends. Snuggling with all my children while reading stories. Rejoicing in the victory of giving up my own desires for the day and being with my children. Watching my own little girl carry around her baby doll. Sweet little chubby cheeks that are plump from my milk.
The joys of motherhood can be found every day. Having a new baby is not traumatic like it was with my first. Nursing feels natural, a crying baby is nothing compared to hearing my six year old scream. I have traded my early woes of motherhood for new woes. I struggle with guilt almost every day. Am I being a good enough Mother? Why did I just allow myself to yell at my children? Shouldn't I sit down and have play time every day with them? Will my children learn everything they need to with me as their teacher?
I've learned that Motherhood will never be the rosy picture I imagined. It is work, hard, hard work, with no pay and very little praise. To keep going you simply have to have a vision of what you are doing. Raising Sons and Daughters to follow our Lord, to be Godly Men and Women. Teaching them all you know, and trusting the Lord will fill in where you lack. Pressing forward one day at time, looking to Jesus for strength for the day.
My own Mother's health is feeble these days, and it makes me keenly aware of how special she is to me. I look back on my childhood, and I know she wasn't perfect. But she loved me. Through every failure, every weakness in my life, she gave of herself to love me. I want to be like her, pouring myself into my children so they will never doubt if I love them. This is my goal, and only time will tell if I am successful.