Since the day my first son was born, motherhood has been full of irony and contradictions. I told myself I would give a natural birth and avoid an epidural, but a few hours into labor decided the anesthesiologist was my new best friend. I envisioned myself pushing and bearing my child into the world, but ended up getting cut open in an OR instead. During the midnight feedings I marveled at the tiny frame I carried for nine months and helped mold into existence, but was at the same time terrified that I was the life line, the person this boy’s life depended upon. There were times I wanted to pause the clock just for a moment or an hour so that I would have time to breathe in each moment of my son’s life which was moving so fast I barely had time to take notice. Other times I longed for the next phase when he would be more independent and able to perform routine tasks.
The paradox that amazed me the most about motherhood was while I lost a sense of who I was, in the process I learned more about myself than I had ever known.
Until becoming a mother, I had always been a very independent person. Or at least I thought I was. And although I am still stubborn and reluctant to listen to advice, I discovered how deeply I need community. I need other moms. I crave interaction and camaraderie and the knowledge that others are enduring the same struggles and sleepless nights. I want someone to tell me I’m not failing and even though it’s kneeling-at-the-feet-of-Jesus hard, I will get through it. I’m going to be ok. I love seeing my children interact with other kids and playing trains with someone other than me. I cannot live without these shared experiences. They give me life and keep me sane.
I spent over a year after my first child was born battling postpartum depression. After finally seeking counseling, I realized that my life isn’t about “me” at all. It’s all for Him. I spent years blindly thinking I was putting more distance between myself and God, and when I finally turned around, fell into the sea of Grace. And now, day after day, I pursue Him. And motherhood was the trigger that pushed me into surrender.
I rediscovered my passion for writing. I began sharing my writing in a way that I never dreamed possible or thought I would be capable of doing. I became braver than I ever knew I was or could be.
There’s no greater freedom than living a life completely surrendered to the One who created it.
*This post was written to celebrate the Lisa-Jo Baker’s book, Surprised By Motherhood, which is being released TODAY. Although I’ve only read the first three chapters, I can already tell this is going to be an amazing read. This is the type of book I wished I had when I became a mother. Honest, real, and vulnerable. Like receiving a hug from a long lost friend. You can find out more about the book at www.surprisedbymotherhood.com.