The joy of motherhood. I have experienced it. I have drunk it in and savored every moment. I have felt the highest of highs even as my life was turned absolutely upside-down and inside-out. My happiest emotion has the cutest face and the biggest eyes and a dimple on its left cheek. As I have heard quoted before, “my heart grew arms and legs.”
But when the happiness isn’t there and the world seems dark and you open your eyes and wonder where you are and how you got there. And all of a sudden you are left with grief.
One more day of “add this to the list of things I never thought I would cry over and would never make sense before pregnancy and motherhood.”
Being repulsed by your own thoughts and thinking that if you were to find you we’re pregnant again you might cry. But this time not tears of joy.
The feeling that you never thought would come. You never understood why others were overwhelmed or sad or even depressed when they have a bundle of joy staring them in the face. Never thought you would read the words in your journal:
“maybe there’s some fear. Fear that I’m stuck in this cycle forever and Arden will always be fussy then I’ll have another fussy baby to deal with then in the midst of that I have to keep cranking out breakfasts and dinners and keep up with the laundry. And try and get debt free. …I literally feel like every day is something to tackle and just survive. I’m trying to just stay afloat. Alive. Life is winning. I am not.”
Call it hormones. Call it being dramatic. Call it a mood swing.
Call it motherhood.
I’m gonna be real with you. Lately has not been blissful like the first months were. This past month has probably been the hardest of my life.
Milk supply going south. Can’t make Arden happy. House running amuck. Debt that feels endless. The reasons don’t really matter. It will always be something.
This morning I read Isaiah 53 in the NLT. Stopped dead in my tracks at verse 3.
“He was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.”
And then it spilled out of me.
“I’m sorry for not always coming to you for comfort or answers. I just desperately need to know that someone else understands.
And You do.
You understand that I wanted to breast feed him for a year and that if I stop now it feels like part of me is dying and some of this has felt like the miscarriage, as crazy as that sounds. Deep grief and sadness I have never felt before. Trying to keep hope when I’m not sure if I just need to let go. Trying to enjoy whatever time I do have left feeding him that way.
You understand. Because “O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. …You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mothers womb.” And yes, to you the night shines bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. In my darkest you are there.”
I didn’t understand why my mom was crying because we were out of toilet paper when I was a little girl. I didn’t understand when my friend was crying because it was past her due date and the doctor wanted to induce. I thought, the baby will come. Calm down. Until I couldn’t even last two weeks before my due date and the thought of getting induced on my due date according to my doctor’s suggestion made me crumble. I never understood why feeding your baby was such an emotional thing. I never understood why being a mom wasn’t always the most joyful and exciting job to have.
And then I housed a human being and all of a sudden my body was not my own.
And then I never had any say in when my baby would come and I got teased for three weeks by pre-labor pains. Three weeks which felt like eternity.
And then a powerful force of labor took control over my body and kept taking until my baby was delivered over.
And then a little human being took my heart and gave me more joy than I ever imagined possible.
And took my time and my sleep. And gave me smiles.
And now my body is still slave to hormones that are trying to normalize and have had so many changes in the past year it makes my head spin.
Moms out there who have cried tears for reasons that sound silly out loud and don’t make sense to stable, sensible people who are out in the “real world” making money and being productive while you are at home in your pajamas just trying to motivate yourself enough to fold laundry that has been sitting out for a week now.
And really, every woman understands this in some way. Our emotions can be nonsensical.
Moms out there who want to quit and just want to be able to drink however much caffeine you want and sleep on your stomach (because that rule doesn’t stop after you have the baby) and who want their old energy back and who sometimes feel silly and not understood.
I’m starting to understand.
And more importantly… Jesus understands. He bore much more than the responsibility to feed and care for a human being (or two or three or four). He carried much more than an 8lb baby in his body. He was weighed down by much more.
“Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.”
His pain was much more than for the purpose of birthing new life.
“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”
You don’t have to go far to find someone to identify with you. You don’t have to search on Google to find someone feeling the same way you do (guilty). The man of deepest grief understands.
And even so, there is joy. If the man of deepest grief endured for the joy set before him. Yes. So can we.
Keeping it real,