I started my journey of mothering in the summer of 2008 when I discovered my first pregnancy test had a faint + sign to my utter shock & disbelief! I remember being in denial for weeks until the symptoms kicked in and I felt more wiped than I ever had in my life! Fast forward 8 years later & I am just coming out of a season of pure exhaustion & constant refinement! A friend one time defined mothering for me saying “it is as if your heart is walking outside of your body”. I remember sitting in the hospital room just hours after our oldest was born, making the painful realization that ultimately his brand new life was not in my hands. Ben reminded me that from this moment on we would be in the process of letting him go! Try telling that nugget of truth to a hormonal, weepy mama bear day 1 of mothering! The tears flowed & the peace washed over my overly-responsible soul.
So what brings me peace in mothering? Knowing I’m not actually the one in charge! Freedom!
During my whole pregnancy I researched healthy ways of growing a little bean in my belly. I googled things like BPA, cloth diapers, baby carrying, organic foods, safe cleaning supplies, sleeping soundly and more! All I wanted was to create an environment in utero to keep his little developing self safe. We were showered with gifts and love that enabled us to create the coziest nursery to bring him home to. I read books and watched documentaries about birthing & even took a class on having a calm, mindful birth. It was then ironic to me that the week of his due date I wanted to rush his arrival. I let my midwives perform a few tricks to speed up the process which landed me in a weeklong slow labor that ended in me being completely exhausted by the time he was ready to enter the world. It was my first indicator that this mothering thing was beyond my control! Labor itself went smoothly once I finally let my body take over and do what it was made to do. Pushing was another story because I once again tried to take the reins of control my first time around! I remember my patient midwife telling me to trust my body and stop trying to push and wait for the waves of contractions to guide me. In retrospect, this was practice for a lifelong journey of motherhood being led by the Holy Spirit instead of relying on my own tendencies to make something happen or prevent something from happening! After 2 full hours of pushing with little progress, when I felt like I was about to give up, our firstborn arrived sunny side up happy and healthy! I felt completely emptied of myself in every way possible, yet, there he was! Looking straight up into my eyes, ready for love, comfort, and nourishment. I had so much to offer this part of my heart sitting before me, but ultimate security was not in my toolbox. So I prayed a little prayer, Lord He is yours!
Each pregnancy and birth story looked different for my three children, but every time there was a common theme of me releasing my tight grip of control and surrendering to the reality that the One who knit them together in my womb has us all in His tender care.
Each milestone that has come along the way for each of my kids has been bittersweet for my sentimental soul. From walking to weaning, eating solid foods to feeding themselves, cooing to talking, and smiling to laughing. More recently we have had a few first days of preschool, a preschool graduation, and even the big leap into elementary school where you just let them go for 7 hours of the day! I have never felt more like my heart was walking around outside of my body than I did that first day we dropped our oldest off to Kindergarten!
I have watched my kids discover the brokenness of this world and slowly seen some of their innocence fade right before my eyes. It has come in the forms of social interactions, overhearing conversations, or catching something out of the corner of their eye on the news. They internalize so much more than we even realize and it comes out in twinkly eyes at bedtime. My motherly instinct is to shield them from all the hurt and pain around us. Yet, my gut is that sometimes we are called to wade through the murky waters of life. My hope is that they will always feel the freedom to come to me with their concerns and worries. I want them to see my own response to the world so they can know that what they are feeling is common and that they are not alone. I want to model for them healthy ways of relating to friends and strangers. I long for them to feel loved and confident in who they were made to be & to love others in the same way.
I am only eight years into this whole mothering thing, but the thing that keeps coming up is that I am not in control of their every move, nor can I expect to protect them from the ache they feel when they experience our world in their personal corners of their daily life. I hope that they will catch a glimpse of the One who created us and will rely on Him for peace, just as I try to do daily as I release them into the world, moment by moment, day after day.
Rain for Roots is an album that not only soothes the hearts of my little ones, but it also reminds me of the reality that our God deeply loves the His children and watches over us. This song has played on repeat in our home as they toddled around & I slowly began releasing some control out of desperation!
You may spy some familiar faces that are included in the pictures which is really sweet to look back and see how these words seeped into me while capturing a few of the fleeting moments that are now a bit of a blur! The days truly are long, but the years fly by y’all. Savor it all.