The Tearing of Motherhood

I was lying in bed last night after having put my one year old son (That doesn’t seem possible!) to bed. He’s beginning to wean, and as I imagined what the future will look like when I’m done breastfeeding, I couldn’t stop thinking about the tearing of motherhood. Tearing happens when something is stretched too far before it’s ready.

It begins during pregnancy. Your belly grows and, for most women, your skin can’t quite keep up with the speed of growth. It’s stretched and stretched before it’s really ready to be stretched that far, so you begin to see lines up and down your belly from the dermis of your skin being torn.

Then you deliver. As your baby is born you are stretched and stretched and if it’s too fast, you may tear once again.

But the physical tearing of motherhood can’t prepare you for the emotional tearing that is to come.

The tearing as you hold your new baby on your chest for the first time, realizing they are completely separate from you. You are no longer tethered together. Not one, but two. Pregnancy may have been difficult. You may have wished it to be over those last few weeks, but your body and mind strangely ache for that once again.

Your baby crawl then walks. You watch this little person who needed you for every little thing begin to need you a little less. This day came faster than you expected. That mama heart tears once again from being stretched before it was ready.

Then you nurse your baby for the last time. Those sleepless nights. The snuggled up feedings. The sore, chapped, cracked, bleeding (sometimes from being bit) nipples. You go through it all again in your mind and realize this day came sooner than you expected. Your heart wasn’t quite ready for this.

Then your baby isn’t a baby anymore.

They go to school.

They make friends.

They graduate.

They get married.

They have babies of their own.

Each step of the way, you realize that baby who needed you for every little thing needs you a little less and a little less and a little less until one day they don’t need you at all. You’ve done it. You raised that little baby into a full grown adult who is ready to take one the world. And all that tearing you did for them, all that tearing your heart did as you watched them grow, was worth it. Because not only did they grow, mama. You did, too.

Letters to my Boy

Tomorrow – I can hardly believe I’m saying this – Finley will be ONE YEAR OLD!

When I was pregnant, one of my friends had the idea to get a journal and pass it around among our friends. Each week of my pregnancy, someone would write a letter to Finley and what they were praying for him during that week. When she was pregnant, my friend’s mom did this for her, writing letters to her granddaughters.

One of my love languages (from the 5 Love Languages) is words of affirmation, so for my friends to write to my baby made me feel incredibly loved by them, but also made me feel how much they loved my baby before he was even born.

After he was born, I was given the journal to keep and, someday, give to Finley. I was sad that a little over half the journal was still empty, though, so I had an idea.

Every 6 months, would write a letter to Finley. I would share little stories about things that happened, ways he was growing, things he was learning, how I was feeling, and what my prayers were for him during that time and for his future. I love writing these letters!

I wrote in the book today for his birthday and looked back at what I wrote right after he was born:

I’m not sure I have the words for this. The first time I saw your face, I just wept. You were all wrapped up, so your face was all I could see. You were so precious! Then your dad showed me pictures while I was recovering. I couldn’t have imagined what you would look like. I thought maybe you would look like Leeland – and in some ways, you did a little – but you look like Finley!

For hours, I thought about your sweet face. One of a kind. Never seen before. Just perfectly you. 

Having a baby is so strange and wonderful. I loved you so much before you were born, but hardly knew you. I knew you liked music – you would wiggle when I held my phone to my belly. You liked to be active in the morning, around 1pm and 11pm. 

Then I SAW you, and all that love finally had a face to go to. You were like a little stranger and not, all at the same time.

The first time I held you, I wanted to freeze time. My arms couldn’t believe what they held. I put your cheek to mine and just breather you in. I had waited so long for you. We could’ve lost you. But there you were – your warm cheek pressed to mine.

Little boy, I hope you ALWAYS know what a treasure you are. What a miracle you are. Oh, my heart could burst. You are worth all the fear and pain from your delivery. You are worth the scar on my belly and the stretch marks that will be with me still when I’m old. 

My son.

I didn’t think I would ever get you. 

My son, this book is filled with love for you. People you know and people you don’t prayed daily for you while you were in my belly. The miracle of you was not lost on any of us. I pray you have many years ahead of you, and I hope you take Jesus with you through all of them. I pray for you to have resolute surety of your Heavenly Father and His love for you. And that you would know He can handle whatever you bring to Him. He isn’t put off by your sadness or anger or doubt. 

My sweet little baby, if I fail at everything else as your mother, I hope I succeed at ushering you into the loving embrace of Jesus. I hope I teach you His faithfulness. I hope I teach you that He is enough. And I hope that when you search for your identity and long for someone to tell you who you are, that you would find those answers in Him because He is the only one who will always get it right. 

Oh, my little love. It’s the greatest honor to be your mama. I hope I do you justice. 

 

Invisible Motherhood

When I woke up this morning, my husband brought a hungry baby into our bed and said, “Happy Mother’s Day.” In the kitchen I found a handmade card from my sweet sister, then Jamin helped Finley make me a gift with his little hand print on it.

My husband is amazing and has honored me on this day for 6 years – since my first Mother’s Day when I was pregnant with Leeland. But this year is different.

Because THIS year I get to hold my baby on Mother’s Day. He’s getting bigger. He spills over my lap and loves to pull my hair out one piece at a time and pick my nose. He will be ONE in 10 days, but he’s mine and he’s in my arms. After all this time, I’m still in awe that this is my real life. That I really get him, and he’s REALLY here. I catch myself just staring at him all the time.

My day has been spent snuggling, kissing, and playing with him and being served by my wonderful husband (he’s making ALL the meals today)!! This afternoon, I’ll look through Leeland’s photo book and remember my boy who made me a mama.

I’m so thankful for the friends and families that have remembered me – and in doing so, remembered Leeland – on this day for the last 6 years. My Mother’s Days will never be the same.

Before Finley came, to most of the world, I was an invisible mom. I know there are many moms who know what that’s like.

Restaurants would offer a free or discounted meal for Mother’s Day…if you had your child with you.

There was no baby on my hip or toddler in my cart as I got groceries. No preschooler who dressed himself in shorts in the middle of winter. No birthday parties or homemade Christmas ornaments.

I know there are many moms waiting to finally be seen – many who are still waiting for that baby in their arms.

Even now, a part of my motherhood will always be invisible to most of the people in the world. They will see one son, not knowing that I have two until I tell them.

So, to the ones who see my motherhood for all that it is, thank you. To the ones who remember both of my boys, thank you.

To the moms who feel that their motherhood is completely or partially invisible, you’re not alone. Today I remember and honor you and your babies. The ones you never got to name, the ones you only held for a short time, and all the others who you are missing today.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day, Love

Happy Father’s Day, Love.

You are an amazing dad, and honestly, you should have celebrated this day long before our son was born.

You were a father when we were doing youth ministry. You loved the kids we worked with. You taught them, laughed with them, cried with them. You introduced them to their Father in heaven, and spoke truth into their lives. You dealt with drama and welcomed kids with open arms when others would have run away because hormonal teens can be comparable to bears coming out of hibernation.

You modeled Continue reading “Happy Father’s Day, Love”

The Sting of Mother’s Day

This is my third Mother’s Day – my second Mother’s Day to come and go without a baby in my arms (he was still in my belly for my first), but I am still a mom.

There are usually an influx of blog posts by mothers like me around this time of year. I know it can be a difficult day for so many of us.

I know there are a lot of moms and long-to-be moms out there that see this day creeping up on their calendars and wish there was a hole big enough for them to hide in for the day because all this day does is remind them Continue reading “The Sting of Mother’s Day”