practically a minute ago when i was pregnant with cruz, i heard two comments that really shaped my pregnancy and parenting. neither of these comments were directed at me and probably were never thought of again, but, as tovi will tell you, i take small things to heart too easily. is that enough of a qualifier? just simple, off the cuff remarks that were never ever meant for me. ok. when i was pregnant with cruz someone commented that their friend (pregnant for the fourth time), was just “meant to be a mom” because she was never sick while pregnant. oh, how that stabbed me straight in the heart. there i was on the brink of motherhood, having dreamt of motherhood since i was a little girl carrying about my baby dolls, throwing up every time i turned around. clearly not meant to be a mom. someone else remarked on a new mom we both knew: “she makes it look so easy. she’s just meant to be a mom.” so i stepped into motherhood determined to prove that despite morning sickness and my lack of mothering experience, i was meant to be a mom.
i never complained during labor. i never asked anyone to stay up with me during midnight feedings. i buried my anxiety down deep so that on the surface i could make mothering look easy. i wanted badly for motherhood to roll over me so effortlessly that i worried about every detail of cruz’s babyhood. i worried about him having a paci. i worried about him falling asleep in my arms rather than on his own in the crib. i worried that we didn’t co-sleep. i worried that he slept in our room too long. when we started solids, i “knew” that “good moms” made their own food. when he wouldn’t eat it, i paid an arm and a leg for jarred food at whole foods, and then i apologized for it!
eventually, i grew out of all this worry and anxiety, and i knew that i wanted something different for london. throughout my pregnancy i prayed for freedom from anxiety and pressure and what i imagined to be other’s expectations. instead of the stress i felt when cruz was born, i felt nothing but joy when london was laid in my arms. i swear, there was that silly high pitched “aaaaaaah!” of angels singing as the nurse handed her to me, all sticky and wet. i felt free from worry.
and while the anxiety that always hovered near me when cruz was small never resurfaced with london, i found myself wanting to reign in control and pressure to still make it look easy. more and more often i was keeping us at home because of all those sneaky what ifs. what if he needs to go to the bathroom? what if he has a meltdown in public? what if she needs to nurse and he’s running around? can i carry all their things? and of course the big one… what if this feels hard and that means i’m not meant to be a mom of two?
from a couple of things that we’ve been talking about at church, through jessi’s writing
, and through the sweet leading of the Lord, it has dawned on me that i haven’t been parenting with freedom. i have been so held down by the expectations that i imagine other’s hold me to, that i haven’t let go enough to let God and only God lead me in parenting my children. far too often, i parent from a place of “should do” or “have to” and i want to embrace “want to” and “get to.” i want to mother my children in the knowledge that where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
i now know this: cruz is three
is almost five months old and there is no one on this earth that is meant to be their mom except for me. no one else can tell when london needs to go down for a nap. no one else that lets her wind her fingers through their hair the way i will. there is no one on earth that understands how fast cruz’s mind works or his little toddler concerns. no one can comfort or nurture or mother them the way i can. and sweet friend, there is no one else on earth that could mother your child the way you do.
we have freedom in christ; there are no credentials left to prove. we are mothers because we are mothers, and there is nothing about it that makes one mom more suited for this role than another. whether being a mama was a desire deep in our bones or a situation thrust upon us or a dream not yet fulfilled; whether our children are born from our bodies or carried by another, we are meant to be mothers because we are just meant to be. when God is for us, who can be against us? neither heights nor depths, angels nor demons, co-sleeping nor jarred baby food can separate us from the life God has called us to. let’s live it– in wild freedom.