I just celebrated my first Mother's Day.
Having a baby was something that I struggled with throughout the years of our marriage. Walter wanted children, and, while I love kids, the thought of having my own was quite terrifying.
I married Walter when I was twenty-one, and, because we were still in college, I didn't think having children was wise in our first years. Walter was always vocal about his desire to have children, but I was always saying "let's wait".
I had three reasons why I wanted to put off having kids:
1. We were actively involved in at least three ministries at once.
2. Our apartment was too small.
3. We didn't have job security.
But when God worked everything out for us, giving us a home and giving us job security, why was I still not ready to take the plunge into parenthood?
The truth is, I had much deeper fears that I had a hard time facing:
1. Fear of "ruining" my body. You've heard it before a woman refers to her excess weight and tells you it came from having kids. Society pushes breast augmentation, tummy tucks, or unrealistic measures to get us back in our pre-pregnancy shape. What would happen to my body? What if I was too unattractive for Walter during and after pregnancy? It might seem silly-- and I admit that it's a vain reason. But, honestly, as someone who struggled with body image all my life, the idea of this change scared me.
2. Fear of the pain of labor. Body image issues aside, I was terrified of the pain child birth would give me. After all, it is God's big punishment to Eve for sin. If that's not a reason to believe this is going to hurt majorly, I don't know what is.
3. Fear of losing my spiritual identity. What I mean by that is, I felt as if I were doing exactly what God wanted me to. As I mentioned before, I was involved in several ministries at once. I was a camp counselor during the summer. We were leading two college ministries. I was part of a ministry team that traveled from church to church. My role in those ministries would be changed if I began a new chapter in life as a mother. Was that something I wanted to give up? I mean, I was doing work for God. Work I enjoyed. Would God really want me to give that up to be a Mom? How would I be able to serve God?
4. Fear of change. This encompasses all of the others really. With a baby comes big changes. Mental, spiritual, financial, leisure, physical-- having a baby would change everything.
I knew having children was something that God wanted me to do. I just didn't feel ready. Then, one day, I came to peace with it. I realized I needed to let go of my fears and selfishness. To be like Christ is to die to self and having a child (for me) has been a lesson on just how to do that.
For weeks, I ached physically from the act of bringing a child into this world (and sustaining his life through feeding him!). When I look in the mirror, I see someone I don't recognize. I can't fit into my clothes because my body has completely changed. The clothes I can wear are stained within an hour of wearing them. My conversation is lacking because I talk to an infant-- unless you are a parent too, then, I have lots to share :). I cry a lot-- if he cries, when I have to stop holding him and put him in my bed, or, sometimes, because he's just so beautiful I can't believe I'm so lucky to be his mother. When I try to remember my life before, I feel like that life was a dream, and that person was a completely different person. I guess because of this, I feel that this is the closest to dying to self and living an unselfish life I've ever known. I don't despise my new stretch marks, but think of them as a reminder that I'm not the same person I was before.
Yes, after seven years of marriage I surrendered to the calling God had placed on my life.
I love being a mother.
|Walter bought me a cake to celebrate.|