What did you feel when you saw those two lines, that plus sign that told you life would never, ever be the same again?
I was in my matchbox-sized bathroom of our rental house, pants around my ankles, shaking when I found out. I was a bride of 8 months, still trying to figure out what it meant to be a wife when I found out I was going to be a mom.
I was stunned, terrified. But I had a stats test in 45 minutes so I pulled myself together, drove to school, and took the test. But the only, only thing I could think about was “I’m pregnant… I’m pregnant…I’m pregnant.”
We were not prepared.
We were poor.
We were having twins.
We laughed and laughed mostly because we were too scared to cry.
The pregnancy was difficult and our marriage was difficult but 8 months later, parenthood said “Ready or Not, here I come” and we were a family of four.
Five years later, when we were 28 and 29, we had another baby, another boy, and I thought, This is what it was supposed to look like. An easy pregnancy at the right time, when we were willing and ready, comfortable as husband and wife, and prepared to be mommy and daddy.
But babies don’t come when you’re ready.
I’ve had friends who were ready for years and years and still, the babies didn’t come, not until they mortgaged their homes and drove hundreds of miles to thousands of appointments for a million injections did their babies come.
I’ve had other friends who learned they were pregnant in McDonalds’ bathrooms, too scared to take the test at home where their own moms might check the trash.
And I’ve wondered, so many, many times, Did my beginning mess up my motherhood? Is that why it’s hard? Is that why motherhood has been disappointing and difficult at times, more tumultuous than joy-filled?
Just days ago, I laid next to my husband, the man who I couldn’t do parenthood without, and I whispered, “Did we screw them up because of how we began? Because we didn’t want them?” I mouthed the words. I couldn’t even say them out loud.
“We wanted them,” he said firmly, looking into my tear-filled eyes. “We just weren’t ready for them.”
I think I still want to cling to my happy-shiny-dreamy picture of what I thought motherhood would be. I wanted motherhood on my own terms, my own timeline, when I was ready.
In so many ways, I’ve moved past those dark, difficult days (Let’s be honest…years). I’ve been a mom for nine years and now have four healthy sons. My marriage is solid and happy. I’m so comfortable in my role as “Mom” that I started a Mommy Website (can you get more cliché?).
But sometimes, on really difficult parenting days, when I’m lost and fed-up and drowning in the reality of Autism and ADHD and mother-son issues, I wonder if my bitter beginning is dictating my current reality.
If we had waited…
If I was ready…
If we had known…
But there is nothing NOTHING I can do about the beginning of my story—except accept that this is the journey I was given and meant to be on.
Acceptance takes time. It’s been almost ten years for me and it’s grown slowly over the years, smoothing so many sharp edges and aches, and gifting me so much joy and peace, but I’m still working on it.
It’s more than just accepting my beginning, my story, my mothering journey, though.
It’s about accepting myself.
I was more flawed, more immature, more naïve, more foolish than I wanted to be when I became a mom.
But we all have a starting point, where God plunks us down and says, “Here. This is where you begin. Keep moving forward.”
I don’t want to be stuck in my what-ifs.
I can’t go back to the beginning.
I can only move forward, accepting my story, accepting myself, and choosing to trust the One who knew this motherhood story was the crucible meant shape me into the woman was supposed to become.
What about you?
Where were you when you found out you were pregnant?
Did your beginning look different than you expected?
How are you learning to accept your beginning and accept yourself?
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