I paused for a moment. Tears streaming down my face, for just under the surface raged a storm I did not understand. In front of me, stunned, stood my husband holding our sweet 6 week old son who still smelled of new life. I took half a breath and then bolted.
The storm was too much to hold in. I practically ran for the car and in the blur of a moment was driving down the road.
Bawling and barely breathing.
I pulled into a dark, empty parking lot, only two miles down the road. Stunned at my own vulnerability and unnerved by the raw emotions exploding everywhere, more tears flowed. I was overwhelmed. I was horrified. I was angry and somehow sad. The battle of ‘shoulds’ and ‘wants’ raging between my ears. Crying out to a silent sky, I cried some more. I wasn’t sure I wanted this motherhood gig. And quick to follow was the flood of guilt for even thinking that thought. I felt alone and completely out of control and they now called me “mom”. I am supposed to be the Mom, forever. … In the silence of that parking lot there were no answers, no solution to calm the raging storm. So, I caught my breath and swallowed hard.
This is real. This. Is. Hard.
Thirty minutes later I sank back down into the couch next to my sleeping cherub and silent husband.
You are the first one I have ever told of that very dark night. This was the part of motherhood I was NOT prepared for and no one had ever even whispered about it. I had no warning this would happen, this shedding of expectations, this pause of dreams, this monumental shift in identity. This heart labor. In the course of 9 months and a few hours I became someone’s story starter and no longer the leading role in my own story. The foundation to their story goes FAR BEYOND food on the table, sleep routines and homework. Before he could even roll over, this fact settled in all the crevices of my heart, even the parts I didn’t want to acknowledge. And that horrified me.
“I didn’t know that you continue to labor long after the baby is born. I didn’t know that there was someone connecting the cacophony of dots that spelled out my life, which so far had seemed without rhyme or reason”. –Lisa-Jo Baker in Surprised by Motherhood.
Seven gloriously, messy years later I can tell you that I would not change a single second of this Motherhood journey. It has brought a depth to life that cannot be undone. I have known struggle, true death-defying struggle. I have experienced joy unspeakable and peace like a Heavenly breeze. I have had noise… oh, the noise. “Motherhood is a superpower”, says Lisa-Jo Baker and she is right, so very right. Diaper by diaper we sleeplessly get up and hold their hands. I did and I have and I will. I just never expected it to look and feel like this and I still have no idea what to do with this power. Those hidden places in motherhood still get jostled and I didn’t realize they could be embraced until I read Lisa’s words in Chapter 3.
“It’s funny how having a mom and becoming a mom are so profoundly connected.”
I have spent much of my adult life sorting through my childhood, and this has affected my acceptance of the role of motherhood. Don’t get me wrong, I have always wanted to be a mom – I just didn’t know it would rock my world this much… had I known I may have thought twice. But God knew.
He knew that this was the journey I would need to travel to find healing, true healing from the scars made long ago. For our stories are all connected, hers into mine into theirs.
Those tears shed on that dark night, they were a dot along this new journey. And I am watching them weave into this life story, beautifully.
“I could have never seen it then. That all these random dots would connect to map out the latitudes and longitudes of a life I wasn’t lost in after all.”
“But moving forward is usually impossible without first going back. And the girl who swore off motherhood needed to unravel her story before she could make sense of the new-born sleeping in the crib next to her….” ~Lisa-Jo Baker
I have only read the first three chapters of this book. And my soul, my Momma’s heart, is taking in a deep breath. A breath of freedom. Someone is FINALLY talking about the underside of Motherhood. This book is not a “how-to” book; there are no organic recipes for baby food, no potty training methods, no chore charts. Instead there is a comfy couch, a warm friendly hug and true place to be honest. Gut-level – honest. Lisa’s openness to talk about her journey through daughter-hood and into motherhood has given light to understand my own moments and how they bleed together into a story. A beautiful, exhausted, hilarious, messy, but glorious story called Motherhood.
Grab a box of Kleenex, and that last box of Thin Mints and find freedom. I can’t wait to sit on the couch and marvel in what we discover.