I woke Friday morning to an encouraging post on my facebook wall reminding me that Mother’s Day is this weekend.
Other posts, pictures, and links confirm this, as perspectives on and memories of motherhood fill my feed.
Mother’s Day. I should have this one down. I’ve been a mother for over 21 years and have given birth to eight amazing people. I’ve got this, right? Mother of the Year and all that?
Don’t be so sure.
Mother’s Day has always been a conflicting holiday for me. What I remember about wanting to be a mother is that when I grew up I wasn’t going to have any kids, because they were brats and don’t listen.
Actually those are called siblings, and an 18 year old should never base future life plans on present experiences with 13 and 11 year old brothers. Enough said.
My journey with mothering is complicated in that I have never tried to get pregnant and become one. It always just happened, ready or not. I have never experienced the agony of another gut-wrenching month of bloody disappointment. My disappointment sometimes came in seeing that second faint line.
No, I wouldn’t trade a single one of my kids for anything. I am grateful for the nine months that we are usually given to prepare for another child. I love my children. Every. One.
Just don’t be so sure that you know my mama heart when you see me with a passel of people.
Don’t think it’s as simple as, Well, obviously you knew what causes that, so why didn’t you just stop it? Because people’s stories are never that simple. And how could I not have Little Mae?
Some people’s messy parts of their story follow them around for all to see.
Mothering doesn’t come naturally to me. I didn’t love pregnancy or giving birth, and breastfeeding was hard.
When my babies finally came heaving out and were relatively vernix-free (because I had lovingly rubbed it all in to their precious newborn skin), I looked deeply into their eyes, took a deep breath, and told them it wasn’t their fault they were born into this world, but I would love them and take care of them. Then I sniffed their sweet heads.
They were just babies and no matter what number they fell in line, that individual baby had never been here before, so it was the first time for us both to figure out our life together.
I tried, and it was really hard. It is really hard to be a mother. For me, mothering is my hard thing.
Some women thrive as mothers. I love to surround myself with those mama-types. I feel inspired and get ideas and learn things about mothering from them. I learn to slow down and enjoy my children. I read their blogs and have play dates with them and observe their skills.
It would have been helpful to have learned some of these things 21 years ago! I grieve over many chapters of my mothering story. There’s a lot I know better, now.
There are a lot of things in all of our lives that would have been helpful to have learned sooner. God, in His great mercy sent eight beautiful people though my body to teach me a heap of lessons that I continue to learn. Not everyone gets a holiday to celebrate that.
He gave me the gift of becoming a mother eight times, when it wasn’t what I would have chosen for myself. Others receive different gifts to help them grow.
This Mother’s Day, don’t look around at the women you see and think that you know their stories. You don’t. You don’t know their struggles. You don’t know their losses. You don’t know what lurks behind smiling eyes or hides beneath concealed tears.