Saturday, May 13, 2017

An Ode to Motherhood + What I've Learned

I've dreamed of being a mother as long as I can remember.
I chalk this up to the fact that I have the most beautiful and selfless mother that 
I watched love us four kids with tenderness and grace. 

But we don't just magically become that beautiful and selfless mother full of tenderness and grace.
It's quite the journey of transformation in my experience.

And I've learned a few things in my short (almost) 5 years of experience.

Throw your expectations out the window
I learned this one right off the bat trying to get pregnant. 
Dream scenario: It'll be easy for us to get pregnant. We'll send adorable announcements to our parents surprising them with their first grandchild. I'll have an easy pregnancy and be one of those adorable pregnant girls that barely gains any weight and just looks like she has a basketball stuffed under her shirt. I'll love being pregnant.
Reality: It took time to get pregnant and every month that I wasn't I started to develop anxiety that I might never get pregnant. We finally do get pregnant and send those adorable announcements to our parents only to tell them a few weeks later that we lost the baby. We grieve and then try again. We finally get pregnant again and I have a condition that causes me to bleed through the whole first trimester. I feel like I'm walking on eggshells my whole pregnancy and my face gets fat.

You'll learn this one over and over and over as you journey motherhood though. So just take alllll those expectations and throw them out the window. But if you don't, your kids will definitely throw them out the window for you. No automatic alt text available.
(Pregnant with Grady at 20 weeks)

(Pregnant with Griffin at 20 weeks)

 I am really selfish
Man, did I ever learn this when I had my first baby. 
Your life goes from doing whatever you want whenever you want being at the mercy of a needy baby and pretty much never doing whatever you want whenever you want. 
You learn to die to yourself in favor of another person and its hard. Marriage will teach you this a little bit but nothing really teaches you this like a newborn baby.
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For me this stripping away of self played out first in breastfeeding. I didn't want to do it.
It hurt like crazy and was the most life-sucking thing I'd ever experienced. Pun intended.
They really expect me to drop everything and just sit down and feed this baby EVERY time he needs to eat? Even though it hurts like CRAZY? He eats every 2 hours? You gotta be kidding me!  
Everything in me wanted to say, "Forget this." But I couldn't find one unselfish reason not to breastfeed this baby. So, the mother inside of me rose to the occasion.
She laid down all that selfishness in favor of giving her best. 
That was the beginning of the end of me and it was so hard but so beautiful.

Watching a baby grow up is pure magic
This little person that you GROW INSIDE YOUR BODY gets bigger, and smarter, and more independent every single day. They go from completely helpless to sitting up and crawling and feeding themselves to eventually learning to walk and talk. It's so amazing to have a front row seat.
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Everything feels new again
Getting to experience life through the eyes of your child is amazing. 
Their excitement and wonder is so contagious. I remember feeling so excited the first time my babies experienced snow and it felt like it was my first time all over again.
This happened again and again. Going to places, trying new things. It all feels new seeing it through their eyes.
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Your heart really does grow when you have more babies
I remember crying when I was pregnant with Griffin thinking there is no way I'd be able to love him like I love Grady. And I don't. I love him in his own unique way and it's amazing and sorta incomprehensible until you experience it. 

And then it grows even more watching your kids be siblings
Watching my boys become brothers was something I wasn't aware would make my heart wanna explode. The way they love each other is so special and after 2 years I'm finally watching them become real, true wanna-play-and-do-everything-together friends and it is the BEST. THING. EVER.

It's sweetest love you'll ever know
Grady told me he wants to marry me the other day.
This little boy love is a whole other level of love and pure dependance and trust.

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Time is so cruel to babies
Exhibit A

Exhibit B

You can't pour from an empty well
It's the same concept as why they tell you to put on your oxygen mask first before assisting others when you fly on an airplane. You can't pour from an empty well and motherhood is all about pouring yourself out on behalf of others. So if you're not doing things that fill your well, it's a detriment to everyone. If you've been a mother for any time at all I'm sure you know just how true this is. So find time and ways to recharge and fill your well. For me it's time alone. Time alone with God. And time with girlfriends.  I know it's not always easy to do but in my experience your family will thank you.

It's the hardest/best job ever
Once you become a mother, you're always on. 24/7. Even if you're getting a break you're still thinking about them and worrying if they're behaving for the babysitter. Being a mom does weird things to your heart - like you're dying to get them to sleep and then when they're asleep, you miss them. I truly count it such a privilege to be these boys' mom. And I believe God chose them specifically for me. He's given me all the grace I need to raise Grady and Griffin Goodman. And when I walk in that truth, I feel empowered to raise these boys well. I believe that raising Godly gentlemen will probably be my greatest contribution to this world.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas, soon-to-be mamas, and mamas in waiting.
My heart is with you all in so many ways.

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