There is no accurate way to imagine motherhood; I know that now. I learned quickly, as most probably do, that there is no imagining childbirth. It is different for us all; it can even be wildly different from child to child. I believe motherhood is the same – we may have ideas before it’s our time, but every day as a mother, we learn more, question more, become more. I need to ask myself daily if I am living as the mother God has called me to be, and I need to adapt. I need to change when change is necessary. I need to offer love and seek out peace. I need to open my heart to this unexpected life. I need to strive every day to find joy, even amidst sorrow. I need to cling to hope every day – hope that I can learn to be better than I was the day before. I believe that working toward this will lead me into the motherhood I was meant to experience. It is so much more than the motherhood I imagined.
I also believe strongly that the point is not to raise children to love you. The point is not to raise children to be someone, to view your child’s life with a goal in mind. The point is to love the children you raise. Children love completely and without any reservation; it seems to be their nature. They love and need at the same time, it all appears to intermingle. Our job is to love them every step of the way. I am only speaking as the parent of young children, and I don’t know if my tune will change with age, but right now, my heart understands well that there is a difference between projecting what I want onto my child and loving my child. It was a quick study for us – Freddie needed surgery at five months old, and it took him a little while to catch up after that. If we had waited with bated breath, anxious for him to hit the next (delayed) milestone, we would have missed the joy. We would have moved right past the celebration that came when he grew and achieved. Loving him in this way prepared us to love Bethie and celebrate every day of her miraculous life.
This has been my motherhood thus far – complicated, painful, beautiful, and full of more love every day.