There was a time in my life when I couldn’t even open Facebook. I was trapped in the middle of grad school (And I do use the word trapped quite literally. In general I believe in the power of choice, but I actually did try to quit a few times and it never worked out for me…ha! What kind of person doesn’t “succeed” at quitting?).
Anyways – I was trapped, had been married for a few years, and really wanted a baby. Every time I opened Facebook it felt like a smack in the face.
Baby pictures everywhere – family photos everywhere – complaining mothers everywhere. The baby pictures and the family photos would make me smile. Twinges of sadness at the joy I wasn’t experiencing, yes – the longing to have my arms, which felt so empty, filled, but I could be happy for the friends I cared about – most of the time (let’s be honest). However, the complaining mothers everywhere made me ANGRY. Being an empathetic person, I could understand that their days were difficult, some more than others, but for the LIFE of me, I couldn’t figure out why they were complaining. I would have given anything to have to change 12 poopy diapers in 1 hour (or whatever it was at the time). I would have given anything to feel frumpy, to have my body change – those changes meant pregnancy. To wake up early day in and day out, to have my home look like a disaster, all the things parents get annoyed by – I wanted them all because they meant motherhood.
This longing for a baby came in waves…sometimes I was fine, sometimes I wasn’t, and out of that struggle, 2 things have stuck with me –
- I never want to be a complaining mother. I want to remember how complaining hurts. Children are always a gift.
- Trapped in the ugliness of grad school (looking back I can almost comfortably call it character development) I was using a baby as a reason to escape. A baby meant that I could just quit and stay home, right? Out of one side of my mouth I was calling a baby a gift, but out of the other side I was calling motherhood an answer. I was very convicted that I was manipulating a life that hadn’t even been created yet. My children HAVE changed my life, but I should have let them be born first before I started projecting how they would help me or change me or bless me. (Way too much ME).
I tell my boys every day (actually I sing it, but that’s a different story), “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:24). My 26-year-old self needs to know that my 31-year-old self is not complaining, being authentic – yes, but authentically not complaining (harder to do). I don’t always succeed, but I pray for my heart. I pray for my heart to be grateful – filled with thanksgiving.
Our youngest decided that 5:26 am was rise and shine time…all bright eyed and bushy tailed. I managed to snap a blurry picture because I remembered how my 26-year-old self felt. Even when I really don’t want to get out of bed, I am forever grateful for the reasons I do.