“I wish I wasn’t pregnant.” I blurted it out to Adam after weeks of unknowingly being crushed under the weight of prenatal depression. The house was in shambles. I barely moved from the couch due to the nausea and exhaustion. My clothes were uncomfortable and I couldn’t sleep and I was short-tempered with my three-year-old.
This second baby is due within weeks of my book launch. Was I shooting myself in the foot, career wise? Life had just started to feel perfect, with my little boy growing more independent, and my writing and speaking giving me a sense of purpose and destiny.
And then, in the middle of my contentment, the positive pregnancy test we’d been dying to see. We conceived, and a couple months later, there I lay miserable on the couch for yet another day. I felt my perfect days slipping away.
I saw instead months of sleep-deprivation, mountains of diapers, belly flab, the inability to feel like my own person.
My poor husband stared at me, his sobbing, hysterical wife. “Why would you say something like that?” he asked, shocked.
You moms know pregnancy is not all baby showers and scrap books. We literally are invaded by another life for the better part of a year. The life inside doesn’t care if she’s making me sick or kicking my bladder or messing up my hormones. She just is. And as my tummy grows, I feel less and less like Sarah Kovac. I begin to feel only like a host, making someone else’s life possible.
As a mother, that’s what I do. I make other lives possible, often to the detriment of my own ambitions and desires. Sometimes I’m struck by the realization of all I’m missing. All I could do. All I could be.
My precious three-year-old holds my face in his hands, and whispers, “It’s okay mama, don’t cry.” And I remember why I chose this life — why God blessed me with it.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Giving up my body, my emotions, my memory, my “perfect days,” is hard. It hurts. It’s exhausting. And it’s the channel through which more blessing has entered my life than I could have thought possible. God has opened up more doors for me in motherhood than in the rest of my life. I didn’t know myself until I knew myself as a mother.
So maybe my life isn’t going to be the “ideal” anything. Maybe my biggest accomplishment will be to keep these kids alive until adulthood. Maybe I will be stuck at home for years and maybe I won’t see Italy until I retire.
But I am blessed. I am blessed because the things I’ve sacrificed have made room for more, for better in my life and my family.
About a month after I’d cried guilty and frightened to my husband, I finally felt the baby kick. (I had an anterior placenta that had absorbed the kicks until then.) We saw her on the sonogram… yes, her. A girl to round out our little family. Adam suggested the name Taylor May, my maiden and middle names combined. I cried again, but this time the tears didn’t hurt. The dark cloud finally blew past, and I loved her.
So when you wonder what you’re doing here, washing mashed peas out of your hair or missing the party to watch Cars (again!), know you’re making temporary sacrifices in exchange for lasting, deep joy and fulfillment. For you and the ones begging you for more Cheerios. These days in the trenches of motherhood are defining you.
Perfect days are over-rated (and unattainable). So let them go, and let the messy, frantic, beautiful now sweep you off your feet and tell you who you are.