It’s been 3 months of loving my sweet girl; but really, it’s been so much longer. From the moment on that May long weekend that we found out we were expecting, I’ve loved this sweet baby more than I knew I could.
Lawren’s reaction to me telling him that I was pregnant was “I know”. Apparently him going out at 9:30 at night to get me a burger the week before tipped him off. I was unusually sad that day, and he kept asking me what would make me feel better. I had no idea – until late at night when I knew the only thing that would make me feel better was a Harvey’s burger with extra pickles – and magically, it did the trick! He told me that night that I was probably pregnant and I didn’t believe him.
The next day after finding out we were expecting, I dropped Lawren off at a meeting at church, and I went and sat by the lake. It was such a surreal moment knowing that I was pregnant, and that nobody knew. It was this exciting little secret that terrified me. I was so happy, yet so scared. I felt like I already loved this little peanut inside of me and yet I was overwhelmed by the fact that we were going to be parents! I sat by the lake and journaled and prayed. I prayed that God would equip us to be good parents. That we would do a good job raising our child to know and love the Lord. I daydreamed about all of the activities I wanted to do as a mom. We later had so many talks about things that we knew nothing about. How we thought we would discipline, what we would teach our child, if they’d go to public school or private school. We had no idea that those conversations would quickly change to just wondering how we would simply take care of our baby day by day.
While pregnant, and even after having Hope, I struggled with my role as a parent. I felt like I couldn’t really be the mom that I wanted. In my mind, Hope’s diagnosis wouldn’t allow me to freely go to ‘mommy and me’ groups because I would be constantly comparing her development to other babies, or be scared that she might catch something with her weaker immune system. I wanted to be a part of all the mommy groups and do all the mommy things. I wanted to be running late because my baby had just spit up everywhere or be complaining about how my baby kept me up all night, screaming. Crazy enough, I was actually jealous of the fact that Hope wasn’t doing that. That because of all of the medications she was on, she was actually super quiet and chill. I was told that I was lucky and to be careful with what I wished for – but call me crazy, I wanted that screaming baby, at the mommy group, wiping up the spit up, because all of that in my mind meant “normal”.
I felt like because of her diagnosis, instead of a “mom”, I’d be her nurse. All I wanted was for her to do the normal baby things and for us to just live a simple life. I didn’t want our normal to be going to appointments or to be documenting when she had a seizure and how long it was for. I wanted to just take videos of her smiling at me, or playing with her toys. We were told that she might not walk or talk. That she would develop differently. That she would have challenges. I have been overcome with fear of the fact that taking care of her might mean she never says “mommy” or comes running towards us in excitement. Now, of course we have no idea what exactly is to come – these are just my thoughts and fears – but 3 months in, I have realized that my thoughts and fears have shown me that I am looking at things all wrong.
In the quiet of the night, when I find God speaks to me the loudest, God has shown me that my definition of what a mother is, is often wrong. God has shown me that my role as a mother means being a servant. Taking care of my baby at whatever the cost, even if that means she is never able to say the words “thank you” to me. She may communicate her thankfulness in a different way, but still, that’s not what should drive me to take care of her.
As I press into that definition of servanthood, I realize that being a mother is actually greater than I had ever imagined – and I haven’t even scratched the surface. All of the activities and play groups are great and wanting those things are harmless – until it becomes something that drives my thoughts. Jealousy starts to creep in, and anger is there too. All of a sudden I am overwhelmed because this experience of motherhood right in front of me is different than the one I had imagined, and I start to feel like God has cheated me of something I deserve.
I know that we all feel this way at times. No matter what role(s) you are in, as we start to compare, we often become discouraged and disappointed that our life looks this way. Once I started to accept that this was the life God had designed for me, and that each and every moment was ordained by Him, it became easier to step into my role as a mother, and take care of Hope in whatever way she needed – and will need.
Being Hope’s mom has taught me to enjoy every moment of every day – to be thankful for every milestone and moment, even if they look different than someone else’s. To not compare myself to other people in other situations. To accept whatever our normal is – and realize that I can still probably do a lot of the things I imagined. I am called to serve God by simply taking care of Hope’s needs with His strength, without expecting any recognition in return. It means that being a mom to Hope will probably look a little different than the things I imagined. But, it’s realizing that joy can be found in cuddling Hope while in a waiting room for her next appointment, just as much as it can be found at a playgroup. Thankfully, He graciously meets all of us where we are at, and knowing that helps me to reset my mind when often I yearn to be somewhere else.
I am slowly slooooowly learning that wherever He has placed me is exactly where I need to be.
And with that said, today we celebrate with thankfulness in our hearts that Hope is 3 months old! We love you, baby girl. You are our greatest gift and treasure.