Monday, July 17, 2017

To the Woman...

To the woman who is waiting on a child to call her own someday:
Draw as close to your Savior and Creator as possible. Motherhood is no joke. You will need the strength of that relationship, the one you cultivated with a broken heart, the one you lovingly and faithfully tended, the one you faltered and failed in, to raise your children. That relationship, that fortitude, that faithfulness, will help you mother your children--no mater how they come to be yours. Be joyous in time with your husband. Enjoy eachother. Do things you never thought you would do. Do not make him feel like he isn't enough--because even though he isn't, neither is a child. Only God will do. This time is aching, heart breaking, and suffocating. There may be moments of lightness, only for emotions to cave in on you, going through the cycle of "hope" and "hopelessness each and every month. I get it. I understand.

To the woman who just had a baby:
Love your baby, but love God more. You will feel overwhelmed. You will probably feel like a failure. You may feel like God has entrusted you with this new life, and you are anything but prepared, or even good enough for it. God will carry you through. I am not going to tell you to cherish these moments, because these moments are hard. The exhaustion. The feedings. The diapers. The rinse and repeat. The crying for seemingly no reason. The feeling that you are ill equipped. You are NOT. You are equipped for THIS child--God chose YOU to be this child's mother, and for good reason. This child needed YOU. 

To the woman who feels guilty:
Right now, you may be looking down at this new life and wondering why you aren't happy they are here. You may feel nothingness, or worse yet, guilt. You may feel like you can't do this, but you have to because you are, after all, this child's mother. You may be battling constant feelings of darkness, and wondering why in the world you cannot seem to shake it. Do not succumb to the temptation to do nothing. You WILL get through this. Do not succumb to the temptation to keep it to yourself. You WILL get through this. Motherhood is hard, but feeling like you don't want to be a mother even though you are, is even harder. Trust that God will carry you through this, maybe through a friend, maybe through a counselor. Speak what is happening out loud. There is freedom in honesty. It may be a long road to find the joy, BUT YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS--I know this because we have an everlasting Father who does not deal in guilt. He deals in joy. Let Him (and others) help you. 

To the woman of multiple littles:
This is hard, isn't it? I promise that it will continue being hard until one's a little bit easier. Then another day, it's even easier than the one before. During this time, you may need to learn the art of saying "no" and the art of asking "please?". These are important. Do not let your feelings of  being overwhelmed, nor pridefulness get in your way. As believers, we are there to help each other. The art of saying "no" does not mean you will never do anything every again--it means, that maybe, just for now, your family comes first--that's okay. Better to be raising sharp arrows than to be too busy to sharpen them. Asking for help does not indicate weakness. It indicates strength. Many follow pride, for that is not difficult. However, those who humble themselves are wise indeed. As you go through this time, remember your children are learning, watching. What do you want to teach them? How to not ask for help? How to always be busy? Or how to value time and each other? How to value humility and asking. Asking will create a heart of understanding and giving for when you are out of this time, or even when there are breaks in this time of motherhood. Trust the Father, and trust His truth. 

And Lastly

To the woman who has had to say goodbye to her child/children:
I am so sorry. There are no words that can solve, soothe, or cure your aching heart. There is nothing that will help, but for a short time. Time will help, but the problem with time is that it seemingly takes so long to help. Another child may help, but they are not a replacement. Ultimately, rest assured that God will carry you through even this. Even when your legs may fail and your steps falter, yes, He will carry you through even this. There is no burden too great for Him to carry. No grief too large for Him to grieve with you. Know this. THIS was NOT His plan! He may use it for the betterment of you and others, but this, in no way, was a part of HIS PLAN. Rest in Him. Be still in Him. Don't try to impress others with a face a "deep faith" that does not get shaken (although, if it isn't, that's good). Don't try to rush your grief. Like your child's DNA is unique to them and them alone, so is your grief to you. You will never be done grieving, you may even, at some time feel guilty for being happy, for forgetting about them, but don't. Just like death isn't in our Creator's plan, nor is guilt for this reason. May you find freedom and joy in our Lord, regardless of your circumstances. 

*I know that this doesn't pertain to everyone, but if there is something that I have learned from my married life it's these themes. I am no great wordsmith, nor am I extremely wise--I do after all, have quite a bit more learning to do. I do wish, however, that had I known and been gently given these words, I might have known that someone was with me. Standing with me. Knew what I was going through. Vocalized what I was going through. I do not want to be silent, because silence can create isolation, and we are not beings who need perfection from other struggling beings. We are beings who need encouragement, love, laughter, exhortation, and above all--fellowship. This doesn't mean "go to church and sit and listen" it means carrying each other's burdens and carrying their joys. So...that's what I am aiming to do I guess.*

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mother's Day

Facebook is my nemesis on holidays--namely Mother's Day. While others are praising their own mothers for all the loving and beneficial things they can remember the woman who gave them life, doing for them, I am left searching, trying, to find good memories of my own mom. Trying to work up the gracious courage to call and wish her a Happy Mother's Day because it is something important to her that blesses her.

While husbands are praising their wives, publically, for all the things their beloved does for their family, I have a husband who seemingly forgets that I exist---especially on Mother's Day. (This is not to say that my husband is a bad man, nor doesn't do anything, but he simply just doesn't think that way and I am still struggling with living with the fact that he does. Not wrong, just different. Hurtful different, but different.)

It used to be that Facebook was my eternal nemesis on Mother's Day because it mocked me. All the women who gave birth or adopted other children into their families were praised, and I was alone. Barren. 

Now, I am alone. Prolific. 

It's a deep hurt. One that goes so far below the surface that I am not sure how to handle it. I am foolish enough to continue to allow it to mock me. I look at it, and rather than feeling...encouraged by all those who have (and continue) to go before me, I feel alone. Worthless. Wholly inadequate. It affects me no matter how many layers of masks I put on. Any small mistake, any small upset, becomes monumental. Mole hills become mountains. 

I wish I could rest in what the Bible says about me. I wish I could fully believe and grasp and be affected by what God thinks of me. But years of lies spring to my mind on Mother's Day (even more so than regular days). Years of blame, come to rest on my shoulders. Years of "you're unloveable", "we didn't want you", "it's your fault we don't have the finances", and being called every cuss word under the sun repeatedly ring in my ears, repeatedly, on Mother's Day. 

This is an extremely "woe is me post" and I recognize that, I truly do. I want to enlighten you to the fact, that on Mother's Day, not everyone has a great Mother's Day. To be honest, not being celebrated by my husband makes me feel like a failure. Satan has a great stronghold on me for this holiday, and I hate it, loathe it, despise it--right now, both the particular chink in my armor and the day itself.

Next Mother's Day, as you are being celebrated and loved, or are loving, please extend some of that love to someone who may not have it. To someone who you might know doesn't have a great relationship with their parents. To a woman who might not have a super emotionally engaged husband, because you never know that your words of encouragement might be just what they need. And if you can't find or think of anyone else you know, I will greedily take any encouragement you might have to offer, because Lord knows, I could use it. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Hard

It's hard being motherless. 
It's hard being a mother. 
It's hard desiring a child, with no end to waiting in sight. 
It's hard having a child. 
It's hard wishing for messes from little ones to clean up. 
It's hard cleaning up messes as soon as you've just cleaned. 
It's hard wanting a baby to rock and cuddle with. 
It's hard having a baby that only wants to be rocked and cuddled with.
It's hard seeing your Facebook feed inundated with baby announcements. 
It's hard seeing your Facebook feed inundated by adventurous couples. 
It's hard wanting to help someone as they have a sick child. 
It's hard being that someone who has a sick child.
It's hard passing by baby clothing and wanting to buy, but not having a reason to. 

It's hard finding deals/hand-me-downs for children that fit in your budget.
It's hard seeing pictures of babies, messy with food, and you wishing for that. 

It's hard cooking for your children, and all they do is fight it. 
It's hard feeling so alone and lonely inside. 
It's hard feeling like you never have a moment to yourself. 
It's hard to want your body to change with life inside it. 
It's hard to get your body to change once life is outside it. 
It's hard researching all the reasons why you're not pregnant. 
It's hard realizing all the reasons you no longer want to be pregnant. 
It's hard to deal with the guilt from not being supportive of your pregnant friend. 
It's hard to deal with the guilt of not wanting to be a mother. 
It's hard to stay in God's word when it seems His promises do not apply to you. 
It's hard to stay in God's word when you feel like there's no quiet time to be with Him. 
It's hard to want to be with your husband because he doesn't understand the desire. 
It's hard to FIND TIME to be with your husband. 

Mothers...It. Is. Hard. It's all hard. Both spectrums, completely different, completely hard. One is not greater than the other. They are different.

I can say with utmost authority, that we CANNOT downplay eachother's times of "hard". We cannot diminish someone's current "hard" by comparing it to their previous "hard". We cannot say superficial phrases to pacify someone's current struggles with their "hard". 

Friends, we have got to carry each other's burdens. We have got to exhort. We have got to encourage. If we just say something so cliche to just....acknowledge that we heard them...what are we doing?!

Women who've gone through the burdens and struggles of young motherhood--I am speaking to you. 

Friends of the women who cannot seem to get pregnant, yet so desperately desire motherhood--I am speaking to you. 

Mothers of young children, who are walking this path--I am speaking to you. 

EVERYTHING we do, will help shape the mothers of today--the children they are mothering. THAT IS THE GREATEST burden!!! If all we can say is "It's just a season" or "But do you remember before?', how are we encouraging each other. How are we directing each other to Christ. How are we carrying each other's burdens to the best of our ability? Have we become so busy and infatuated with ourselves that we forget that there are serious hurts in someone's path of infertility? Deep doubts in the young mothers trying to raise their children? Vast canyons of overwhelmedness in the woman's spirit? 

As someone who dealt with less infertility and miscarriages than others, I ask that you please remember those women as you speak. Be thoughtful in your words. Be kind in your dealings. Be courteous in your actions.

 As a young mother, I ask that you listen to us young mothers. Be gracious in your compliments. Be thoughtful in your suggestions. Be generous with your time. Be abundant with your encouragement. Be reminded of your own journey through motherhood and do not downplay it. Yes it is a season, but with your help, it can be a springtime of seasons, rather than a winter. 

And everyone. Please remember the hard. The hard is hard. We do not have the authority to compare the hard, but we do have the ability to help the hard. 
 "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
*** I only wrote what I have personally dealt with. I know there is so much other hard than what I have experienced. We ought to still carry the commands of Christ in our heart and carry each other's burdens. Just as many hands make light work, many hands make a heavy burden light.***