I admire moms. More than I can even convey in words.
I admire my own mom. She is as kind as she is strong and generous. She endured every deployment; soothed every fever, and always read to us. She still brings me chicken soup when I am sick and always listens to me when I need answers. She is exactly the kind of mother I hope to be one day.
I see the nitty-gritty of motherhood every day whether through social media posts or in the real lives of my friends. I see the sacrifice, the devotion, but most of all, the love. I have seen the strength of my friend Elizabeth fighting a flawed system to give her son Louie the best education possible. I have seen the pure selflessness of my friend Katie who traveled to China to adopt a beauty baby girl whose survival depended on complicated and risky surgeries. I have seen the grief etched in my own mother’s face when her child’s dreams were woefully–wrongfully– devastated. Most poignantly, I have seen the courage of friends, acquaintances, and strangers who have faced unforeseen illnesses, injuries, and even the loss of their own precious children. They have walked through deep valleys without losing their light. In fact, they are the ones who unselfishly shine brightest to others facing their own darkness. I’ve seen weary eyes, I’ve heard of sleepless nights, diaper bills, and the brakes screeching on hard-earned careers. In spite of this, I know that motherhood is beautiful. Children are an irreplaceable and undeniable gift. And yet I wonder: when, or if, this will happen for me?
It’s not that I am not content in my life right now because I am– mostly. It’s just that sometimes I forget that there is a time for everything. I get all antsy and controlly, thinking every aspect of my life demands an answer– now. I imagine myself as the huffy little girl I once was, throwing a tantrum over receiving the wrong toy.
For example, I remember completely crumbling on the floor of a laundry mat last year struggling for my inhaler, mid panic attack– questions dashing through my mind: “Why don’t I have kids yet?” Or even worse, “Why don’t I want to have kids yet?” “Do I only want to have a family because it’s expected of me?” “What if we can’t have kids?” “What if we can’t afford them? One day they’ll need braces . . . and cars . . . and college . . . and weddings.” “And this world . . . it is so awful for a child with its snares and addictions and hatred.” “What if I am so busy with my careers and life that I forget to have them?” (I know the last one is kind of funny, but it is a legitimate fear of mine. Sometimes I forget to feed my own cats. Thank goodness Jacob never forgets. He basically keeps us alive. All of us. And here I am publicly pondering motherhood. Maybe it is good we haven’t had a child yet. I might forget to feed it. But then there is the crying. So maybe not.)
And I know that motherhood is an unexpected journey: we embark nobly yet blindly– and there is much to discover along the way. I am thankful for my friends who have encouraged me with their words and reassuring me to trust God through these fears and apprehensions that I know we all experience from time to time.
To those who read this, I am not seeking affirmation or really advice: I am trying to prayerfully sort out my own thoughts and insecurities regarding this matter which I know to be gravely important and eternal. It’s not so much that having a kid scares me, but more the eternal ramifications of bringing a soul into the world who will affect and even shape the outcome of others’ lives. That’s scary. And a lot to think about.
But I think– most days at least– we have a lot of love to give.
So we will see.