The Truth About Motherhood

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For most of my life I have fantasized about motherhood. I’ve dreamed about all the firsts: the first time I’d lay eyes on my child, the first time I’d breastfeed, the first time I’d see my baby smile. I dreamed about baking cookies and going for walks and dancing in the rain.

My life has been spent building up this imagery of motherhood and the joys and triumphs that I’d experience devoting my life to my children.

I’ve been a mother for seven months, and although I haven’t baked cookies or danced in the rain with Penelope, I have experienced a lot of firsts.

Like the first time my daughter was laid on my chest. It was many agonizing minutes after she was born. I was the last person in the room to see my baby girl, after my midwives, my mom, and my husband. It was after my heart felt like it was being ripped from my chest as I listened to nothingness. 

No crying she made. 

I remember that first so clearly, her pale skin with a tinge of blue, her weak cry clouded with water in her lungs. I remember being confused and weary, and eventually, relieved. I remember praising the Lord for another miracle. I remember berating myself for eating too many donuts. Perhaps she wouldn’t have been so huge if I hadn’t eaten so many donuts, and she would have been laid on my chest sooner.

These seven months I’ve experienced the joys and triumphs of motherhood. But, I’ve also experienced the pain and struggle and loneliness. The truth is, motherhood isn’t as glamourous as I had imagined. 

There is little glamour when you're scraping sticky poop into a toilet. Or folding the hundredth load of laundry. Or scrubbing dried up banana off the couch. 

Motherhood is not the fantasy that I built up in my mind. It’s not constant laughter, or bliss. Motherhood is sacrifice. Motherhood is determination and perseverance. Motherhood is unconditional love. Motherhood is pure devotion. It is never easy. 

Being a mother to my daughter is not what I expected. The challenges are greater than I'd ever imagined, but so are the rewards. Nobody can describe to you those lonely moments, those desperate moments, those sleepless nights. Neither can words describe the first time your baby smiles at you. The joy that I have experienced hearing my daughter laugh, watching her reach for a toy, seeing her gaze into my face, this joy was unimaginable before becoming a mother.

Seven months ago, I experienced a moment that felt like an eternity. A moment where motherhood was nearly snatched from my fingertips. I will never, ever forget that moment. The silence. The unimaginable horror.

And then, there she was. Full of life and love and hope for a future. 

The truth about being a mom is that it is messy and it is scary. It's also a great blessing, a great reward, and a great way to spend your time and your energy. Each morning I wake up to my daughter, and no it's not all kittens and butterflies, it is hard work. But, I wouldn't want to do anything other than spend my days teaching my daughter about integrity, life, love, and sacrifice. 

The Lord laid down his life for a wretch like me, so the least I can do is lay down my life for my beautiful family. In the end, that's what motherhood is all about.

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