Two weeks ago today, I celebrated my very first Mother’s Day. Even though I spent most of the day sick in bed, I still savored every moment from nursing Linc and Viv separately in the morning, spending just a little longer holding each of them in bed…to rocking them to sleep before laying them in their cribs that night.
I spent so many long days and months praying and hoping to become a mom. I remember feeling the deepest desire to have a baby to love. Yet even that longing didn’t prepare me for how it would feel to love my babies. The love I feel is oftentimes overwhelming because I just don’t feel like I have the capacity to be what they deserve in a mama. It’s like I can’t possibly show them how much love my heart has for them. I’m slowly learning that I can spend every day trying to convey to them through my words and actions what a treasure they are…but I also have to give them up to the Lord every single day because I truly don’t have the capacity to be what they need on my own.
I try at times to control everything in life in an effort to protect them. I feel so vulnerable having them out in the world, at risk of something bad happening to them. It’s terrifying, and if I allow myself to dwell on it, it can be crippling to me. For several weeks now, I have felt pushed in different ways to leave Linc and Viv in the nursery at church, but I’ve avoided it every time because I just don’t trust anyone. I feel this crazy intense need to be with them every moment so that I can protect them from any harm that might come their way. But I know that I have to begin to let them go in some ways. Baby steps. So I left them Sunday morning. With tears filling my eyes I walked away and prayed myself through the service to stay strong. And when I went back I found Vivian crying, tears running down her face as she lay in the nursery bed. And it tore my heart to pieces. I felt like I had deserted her with strangers. And to think that she might have wondered if I was coming back was almost more than I could handle.
I had written this post in my head two Saturdays ago, knowing just what I would say about how on Mother’s Day I took a necessary step of every mother – letting her babies go just a little bit – and how it worked out just fine and how I celebrated later. Instead I feel like I’ve been set back about ten steps. Honestly, I’m dreading taking them to the nursery again. But I know I will. And I know it will be fine. I guess this is still all part of this journey of motherhood. Learning to love my babies with open hands, holding them up to the Father and trusting that He’s protecting them and that He has a distinct plan for their lives.
I also celebrated my own mother from afar last week. We were with Jon’s mom for the weekend, but I did get to meet up with mom and spend a few minutes with her. Celebrating her came from a new perspective for me this year. I’ve always appreciated and thanked her for everything she gave up for me and all the ways she took care of me as a little girl and as I’ve grown. But this year I, for the first time, understood the complexity and depth of love she has had for me. The kind of love that keeps you up at night, hoping and praying your babies are safe and okay. The kind of love that consumes you because you literally feel like your heart is walking around outside your body. And I’m so grateful to have been loved with that kind of love. What a special and unique thing being a mother is. It’s incomparable to anything else, and I feel so blessed to have that kind of love from my own mother and to be able to pour out that kind of love to my sweet babies. It’s the best thing in the world.
Throughout the day my thoughts also kept drifiting to all the women out there waiting to be a mother. I remember like it was yesterday the emptiness that comes from not being able to fill the desire for a baby. That pain is something one cannot forget. Now that I’m on the other side of it, it only brings more intensity to the gratefulness I feel everyday to be able to touch my babies faces and kiss their heads. I think about it often…in the hard times when I’m exhausted and I’ve changed a million diapers and I just want to lay down and go to sleep…it jolts me back to reality and showers me with patience, understanding and a full heart. I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone. But in the end I can honestly say the journey we had to walk to have our Linc and Viv has only made life that much sweeter now that we’re on the other side. So for those women I pray for peace, comfort and hope.