The Biggest Surprise in Becoming a Mother
Submitted by admin on Thu, 07/31/2014 – 07:34
A while back I chatted with a friend and she asked me, “What was the biggest surprise of becoming a mother?” I thought about it.
It wasn’t how much love I feel. Although the love is completely enveloping, I suppose people had prepared me for something I bigger than I could describe. They were right. I also wasn’t surprised by how much work it is. People talk a lot about that and because my husband is a stay-at-home dad and perhaps because of the deep gratitude we feel at having this child, it hasn’t been a chore. For quite a while I felt tired and not totally on my game, but that comes with the territory. It also isn’t how fast the time is going. At my age, I really grasp that the time will go in a blink. We need to enjoy every minute. The best description I have heard for this period of time is “long days, short years.” Perfect.
Here is what I didn’t expect.
I feel EVERYTHING more deeply than I could have imagined. To the core. Faith. Hope. Love. Peace. Exhaustion. Empathy. Sorrow for others and the heartaches they bear. When I think about those who have lost children, I ache in my bones. My mind turns to my brother who lost his son, my grandma Anderson, my great-grandma Larsen who each lost children. I want to wrap my arms around every mother who has ever buried a baby.
On the other end of the spectrum is playfulness. The desire to dance. Childlike awe at life. Laughter. Gratitude. The world is magical and surprising through a little one’s eyes.
Here is another emotion. I know now that before I got pregnant, I had never felt fear before. Not really. This is an order of magnitude greater. This is fear that only a parent can have for the safety of their children. I have this underlying trembling that something might ever happen to Hartley Anne. I worry about her cute daddy too. Please, God. Please keep our little family safe. I know it’s not fair to ask this when other people suffer, but I plead with you. I don’t know how I would go on living.
I also feel so much joy at the beauty of it all that it sometimes comes spilling out my eyes. I find myself turning my head to hide what seems like such a stupid display and I imagine people saying, “She’s so emotional since she had a baby.” Yep. Pretty much.
I alluded to this before but it bears repeating. Most of all, I feel love. Love and hope. I love my family more than these pale words will every convey. I hope that baby girl will someday grow up and experience this much love too. I hope that I can help make this a better world for her. I hope I can help her learn resilience and can help her grow toward her own unique potential so she can someday have this too. I hope she can be the kind of person who makes the world a little better for having been in it, a little better for her children and their children.