Five years ago, this beautiful little girl officially made me a mother. I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic lately that she could possibly be turning five already – and also in awe that I’ve successfully raised a child at home to being in school full-time.
As I’ve reflected on where the time has gone, I’ve also been thinking about what motherhood truly means to me. Becoming a mother is so much more than being responsible, nurturing and loving to someone else. It isn’t just about the child, I’ve realized. I have learned so much about myself in the parenting process. I feel like the deepest parts of my soul have been uncovered and light has shone on them for the first time. The joy and amazement I feel when my little ones say or do new things is so hard to even put into words. My heart swells bigger and sometimes I feel like it may burst. My pre-kid self used to think parents were a little too sappy – but now that I am a mother, I totally get it.
And then on the flip side, parenthood has really let me see the dark parts of myself as well – the ugly parts, if you will. The triggers I have, and all the work I still needed and need to do on myself.
My motherhood journey has been joyful, messy, hard – really, I would call it anything but easy. But when I reflect over the last five years, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My daughter came into the world after a traumatic labor experience, and I then experienced postpartum depression. I couldn’t really put into words what I was feeling at the time, but I most definitely felt overwhelmed and hopeless. I felt alone as a stay-at-home mom and life was forever changed. Over time though, things started to change. I bonded with my daughter and began to experience a joy I never thought possible.
The sleepless nights, the tantrums, the feeling pulled in many different directions with no end in sight – it has all been worth it. The hard days are not ending anytime soon (or probably ever), but I wouldn’t change it for a second. The feeling of their soft cheeks rubbing against mine and the way they tackle me with their hugs are more than enough to counteract any of the challenges I may face.
I know I’ve had to evolve with the parenting process and make the best of tough situations. I’ve learned to work hard at keeping my thoughts positive – and when I succeed, I know I love on those little souls the way they deserve. These are recent epiphanies and I have so much appreciation now for all of the hard stuff, as the good and the bad are both part of the journey.
I was driving recently past the hospital where I became a mother and was stopped at a traffic light. As I looked at the building for probably the hundredth time, I saw it a bit differently this time. As the sun set perfectly behind it, I noticed a huge cross on the side of the hospital. A glorious blue and pink sky framed my view, and I said a silent prayer of thanks that I am never alone.
And I am reminded to keep trusting Him and keep trusting the process.