Motherhood has been much harder than I ever expected it to be.
Truth be told, I had a very flowery idea of parenting before I actually became a mom. I had done a lot of babysitting before having kids of my own and I always loved being around kids. Somehow I thought that meant I would easily nail this mom gig. While pregnant, I was mostly just excited to come home from the hospital with a new little buddy to hang out with. I look back at pictures of myself while pregnant with my first son and think to myself, “Wow, I had nooooo idea what I was in for.”
Instead of breezing through my introduction to motherhood, I came home from the hospital with a pretty high-needs baby. We struggled with breastfeeding and both of us cried alllll the time. I’m pretty certain now I experienced postpartum depression coupled with anxiety. Becoming a mama was an extremely messy affair for me. The level of sacrifice, the extreme sleep deprivation and the overwhelming dependence that comes hand-in-hand with having a newborn were totally shocking to every ounce of my being.
I was young–just barely 25–and did not yet have many friends with kids. I’m sure those factors contributed to my blissful ignorance that turned into a shocking paradigmatic shift. It also did not help that our first born child was a very intense baby. He definitely fit the mold for a high-needs baby; he cried often, needed to be held frequently, etc. It was exhausting and so very hard. I was confused (and jealous) when I saw other moms around me that seemed to be genuinely enjoying their experience with their new babies. Even though I felt an immense love for my son, I still felt like I was drowning in a sea of difficulty each day and it was really overwhelming.
Thankfully, my firstborn son, though challenging, was (and is) delightful in innumerable ways. We’ve always had a strong bond with each other. He is an extremely affectionate and empathetic child. The picture below sums that up pretty well.
It’s true that motherhood is nothing like I expected it to be…but I would not have it any other way. My boys shower me with so much love and grace. They bring so much joy and laughter into our home. There is never a dull moment with my two boys.
God has also used motherhood to refine me and to teach me so many things. I’ve learned much about sacrifice, unconditional love, patience, grace and the list could go on and on. I’ve seen God’s love in new ways and had to rely on him more than I ever did (at least consciously) before.
How about you?
If you are a mom (or dad), how has becoming a parent shaped you? What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned? How has it changed you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.