Welcome Kristin Smith here today! While she's sharing her story here, I'm sharing part of my story over at her place, The Riches of His Love. Join us as we kick off this Mother's Day weekend.
The journey to and through motherhood is hard. Can I get an amen?
When I was expecting my first child I was young, and naive and my idea of what being a mother would be like was all happy, smiley babies and perfectly posed Christmas pictures. I was certain that because of my many years of successful babysitting jobs when I was younger that I would be the perfect mom.
You can probably guess where this is going, right?
Our first born (who doctors estimated was more than 7.5 pounds) came barreling into the world at a whopping 8 pounds 15 ounces after 24-plus hours of the worst back labor I have ever experienced. But he was here and he was perfect. For a few days we lived in a bubble of nurses helping and family holding the baby ... and then we went home to try and do this parenting thing on our own.
And he had colic – for months! Man, those days and nights were tough! My image of a happy, smiley baby were squashed and as I held him and cried more often than not, I was sure that I had failed as a mother.
Our second son is seven years younger than our first. The distance between them wasn’t our "choice." We struggled through several years of infertility and disappointments. Each month that we tried and we got another negative pregnancy test, a small piece of my heart died.
I couldn’t see God’s plan during this time and was certain that He was punishing us. It was reinforcement of the lie that I wasn’t a good mother ... because good mothers don’t have trouble getting pregnant, right?
Oh course I know today that God works all things for good. I know today that God wasn’t withholding a “blessing” from me. He wasn’t punishing me. But I had associated blessings from God as a reward for good behavior.
Have you ever been there? Clouded by hurt and disappointment, resentment and fear? It is hard to see the Truth through the lies the enemy bombards us with when our souls are weary.
There are six years between our second and third sons. Once again we faced infertility. And during that time of trying, we also had a miscarriage. The type of loss I felt would "never happen to me." Life became so much more fragile and my heart softened toward women who had walked the same path.
The entire experience of loss and then my subsequent pregnancy was a time that really brought me closer to God. I was able to see how He was making something beautiful out of my hurts. It wasn’t an easy journey but it has molded my faith walk in such a way that I wouldn’t change things today.
Our fourth child – and first girl – was a complete and beautiful surprise. One week after I stopped nursing our then 10-month-old son, I was pregnant. I had always hoped to have a girl and name her after my best friend. The timing of this pregnancy was such that this special friend was able to experience most of my pregnancy with her namesake. She (unfortunately for me) went to be with Jesus just six short weeks before the birth of our girl. But I was so very grateful that she lived long enough to see her ultrasound pics and feel her kicking my stomach. That time brought us both so much joy and I know she is with us today in spirit.
When I dreamed of being a mom, the dream didn’t include all of the difficult times. It didn’t include the hurts and disappointments, the health scares and hospital stays. It didn’t include countless sleepless nights and 3-year-old tantrums.
But each and every moment is a memory that I wouldn’t change today. My husband and I often say that the best part of us is our kids. They are strong and caring, smart and resourceful, loving and kind, energetic and imaginative. Each moment of their lives has made every day of mine better. And I am so, so grateful.
I know there are days where it would be easier to throw in the proverbial towel. I know there are women out there reading this that want nothing more than to have a child but for various reasons can’t. And women that have taken up the incredible commitment of foster parenting and adoption. Each of you is special, and we are all on a journey ... don’t miss these moments. Try not to be overwhelmed by unreasonable expectations. (Especially the ones you set for yourself!) Trust God with all things and know that you are loved. Even if there isn’t a baby in your arms tonight – your mama heart shines and it is beautiful. Happy Mother’s Day!
Kristin blogs at The Riches of His Love and says this about herself: "I am a wife and a mother, but, most importantly, I am a daughter of the King, redeemed by His grace and so very grateful for it. Through the past 16 years we have walked some hard roads, many of them difficult by our own doing. But despite our choices and at times lack of faith – God loved us anyway. We have seen and continue to experience the riches of His love."