What is Motherhood? Redefined Motherhood No. 1
When I sat down to write this post, I looked up the definition of “motherhood”. According to Dictionary.com, there are four definitions for motherhood.
the state of being a mother; maternity.
the qualities or spirit of a mother.
having or relating to an inherent worthiness, justness, or goodness that is obvious or unarguable
I don’t know why, but I felt like I needed to actually define the word before I titled an entire series about it and sat down to write this post. The idea for this Journey to Motherhood series just kind of came to me after being overwhelmed with all these swirling emotions in my head throughout my pregnancy. Thoughts and feelings that I didn’t want to share for fear that I might be judged harshly, criticized, etc. But here’s the thing: I know there is someone else out there that needs to hear what I have to say. Someone, maybe you, is sitting there right now reading this post and saying, “Thank God, it’s not just me!”
Before I dive into this post, I want to put a disclaimer out there. My son was never not wanted. I may say things in this post that seem to contradict that statement but I need to put it out there because as I’m writing this 30 weeks pregnant, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything more in my entire life than to be his mom.
With that being said, here’s the honest truth: I was not happy when I got a positive pregnancy test.
I can’t even begin to tell you how good it feels to say this out loud. It’s a weight that I have been carrying around the entire pregnancy. But that’s the bottom line, I wasn’t happy. There were many emotions that went through my head when I saw the word PREGNANT on both of the tests I took and happy wasn’t one of them. My husband and I had only been married for two full months at the time, we were living on one income, we knew we would be dealing with a rigorous military training schedule and a 4,000 + mile move in the following year. I wasn’t happy because getting pregnant in August of 2018 wasn’t MY plan.
If things had gone my way, we wouldn’t have even made the decision to start trying until at least after our one year wedding anniversary. I felt cheated. In my heart, I felt cheated by God that I didn’t get to make the decision about when to try and start our family. I honestly just laughed typing that out because, whew girl, you know that’s not how God works. How silly was I to think that I had any say in the matter at all? It was clear to me then (and now, obviously) that God had a plan. But sometimes it can be so hard to get real with God and say, “This wasn’t MY plan, but I hear you.” I’ll be honest, it took me a while to get there.
The second emotion that I felt during that first day of realization was guilt. I felt so so guilty. I felt guilty for being able to get pregnant so quickly. I felt guilty for not crying when I saw the positive pregnancy tests. I felt guilty for being mad at God (and maybe even a little at my husband) for not letting me choose when to start our family. So many people struggle with infertility for years and here I was acting like a spoiled brat about the situation. I knew that it was a blessing and now, I honestly want to cry because I have been so blessed by this pregnancy in general but at the time, I felt like I was going to be swallowed by guilt for not reacting properly to our pregnancy.
My husband was more excited about the pregnancy than I was! I mean, how many women can honestly say that? I feel like we always hear about women being SO excited about a positive pregnancy test only to be faced with a partner who is freaking out. It was the exact opposite for us. Instead of matching his happiness with joy, I met it with sarcasm and snarky comments. This continued for weeks and sometimes I still catch myself making them even now.
As I’m writing this, I’m one day from hitting the 30 week mark of this pregnancy. Despite a happy and healthy pregnancy, despite a baby who is incredibly active, I didn’t truly feel a surge of emotion about being pregnant or becoming a mom until this past Thursday. I was sitting in the on post chapel waiting for a bible study to start. We were singing worship music and just having good fellowship when I noticed a new mom in the front. I have no idea if the baby she was holding was her first but when I saw the way she was looking at the baby swaddled in her arms, something finally clicked. I honest to God almost started crying right then and there. It finally hit me that I was SO excited to be a mom. To be Jasper’s mom. To bring this baby into the world and share this journey with my husband. In that moment, it didn’t matter what I had felt the 29 weeks prior. All I wanted in that moment was to hold my child in my arms and to be his mother.
It’s silly, really, that we feel so much pressure to react a “right” way to certain situations. Finding out that you’re going to become a mother when it is the last thing you were expecting would send anyone through a whirlwind of emotion. So why did I spend 29 weeks of a seriously easy pregnancy beating myself up over the fact that I hadn’t been excited from the start? The real talk moment of all of this is that up until the moment I saw that positive pregnancy test, I had no idea if I even wanted to be a mother.
So this is where my journey to motherhood truly starts. With a positive pregnancy test and a question. Will I be able to be a good mother?
I’m honestly one of those people who feels as though they don’t have a maternal bone in their body. I laugh when people tell me how great of a mom I’m going to be. Sure, I babysat a lot when I was in high school, but that doesn’t mean I know how to be a mother. Is motherhood something that we are intrinsically wired with or is it learned? Of course, there are aspects of being a mother that are in our DNA. From the ability to carry our child to feed them and so on. But I’m starting to think that being a mom and motherhood are inherently two different things.
Maybe I’m going off on a ledge here but this is what I hope to explore with this series. I don’t know who will read this let alone how many people will even see it or care but I’m writing it for myself, who needed to read something like this when she was alone and found out that she was unexpectedly pregnant. I’m sharing this for the one person who may be reading who doesn’t know if they want to ever be a mother, for the ones who maybe can’t carry a child but would still like to become a mother. I’m writing this for the women who feel like they’re left out of this amazing collective called motherhood, even though they have three kids.
I hope that through this series, I can help demonstrate that motherhood is so much more than the ability to carry a child, so much more than what’s in our DNA, and so much more than what Instagram worthy photos has made it out to be.
I don’t know moving forward what this series is going to look like. More rambling, diary style entries I’m sure. But I hope those of you who have taken the time to read this post are going to stick around for the ride. I have no idea what to expect moving forward and that’s exactly why this will be a journey for all of us.