Yeah, they didn’t tell you this.
They didn’t say a word about those questions that’d keep you up at night, toss you wild and wide awake while your growing uterus is pressing down on your bladder hard.
They used to spark some fiery arrows in the quagmire of my inside, messing me up.
Nobody’s ever prepared you for the journey where the questions can lurk out of nowhere, and jolt you quite a bit.
Nothing can salvage your ails when you’re bruised on your sorest point on days on end.
It was my second round of pregnancy.
The months leading to his birth, I was asked, over and over: “Who are you?”
They sorta came in torrents.
First, it was my changing shape. Then, all my world that felt out of shape.
“What’s become of you?”
“What’s potentially left in you?”
“What’s possibly next for you?”
Every sense of who I thought I was, they came sorta unravelling.
I’d submitted my resignation paper, bade farewell to this corporate world which had been my known identity.
I swapped heels to flats, skirts to khakis.
Motherhood’s so hard as it is, but the questions?, they were cutting me deep, making me bleed.
This could be for just a season, or a lifetime, but every decision always requires a first re-direction, a heart re-dedication.
In fact, this whole shebang about motherhood and “the mommy wars”, don’t they all just boil down to one thing: “Who am I living for?”
We mums need to hang on to some truths somehow, so we can navigate through the rapids of young motherhood and come out, loving it…
We need a theology for motherhood that leaves us parching for her holy ground, instead of rotting as casualties in her blackhole.
Who do we live for when the days get long and the hearts grow hard, and there’s no receiving as you are all about giving, and the only way to look ahead is to look up —
I’m learning to say this to myself everyday:
“The way to thrive and not just survive with any season of life is to flow rather than wrangle, to rise and not just strive, to praise and refuse to stress, and to pray rather than pontificate.”
Our heart really only grows fuller when our love grows larger.
Love seems to grow richer on the everyday beds of death where seeds can germinate and babes can turn into boys.
A little bending down of yourself so you can elevate others to rise.
This baby within me, he turned boy next to me that day.
It was his seventh birthday.
We took him to an indoor climbing centre, with rocks on walls for bodies to hang and feet to climb.
This passage of 7 years has been a bit of a miracle for me. A bit of one crazy ride.
How those 7 years had passed in a blink of an eye and motherhood isn’t a passage that you can always travel, or some fancy memory you can always re-create.
He really was my wonder that took my wandering home. And motherhood’s a journey of losing yourself to find yourself, of letting go so you can find your keeps.
I remember the night as clear as daylight.
That night, he’d come all blood and mucus, howling like there was no tomorrow.
My obstetrician had warned me that he was substantially bigger than my first.
The night I’d said “no, thanks, I’ll be fine without the pain relief”, he came lunging right out of my deepest dark, tearing thin my lining wall.
He broke apart what had confined him and held me taut.
Turned out that breaking isn’t always a bad thing and stretching may be the beginning of living.
I swaddled him tight with sweat and tears like there was no more pain, only relief.
I forgot about what it’d take after.
I know that any woman knows — motherhood’s this swath of foreign land, and we are flailing everyday, trying to figure where we could ever stand ‘Mum Enough‘.
I mean, which woman is brave enough to daily die, and not hope to expect something in return?
Three years of breastfeeding. Seven years of staying home. Thousands of home-cooked meals. And countless, countless blending squash, and breaking fights, and busting fevers.
He was rambunctious and rowdy. And I’ve squealed and I’ve squirmed and I’ve screamed.
I wasn’t trained for what seemed to be endless days of five-hourly sleeps each night, and continuous cooking, cleaning and carrying.
And when your friend texted you of his growing trails while you’re rocking and nursing all day long behind closed doors, you don’t really think that there might be a light at the end of all this, or a life for yourself beyond all that.
It’s been crazy, it’s been very cool.
I’ve never felt more alive.
Maybe it’s true. Everything miraculous in life starts always with one embryonic hope. A baby always the outcome of one single seed.
I’ve learned to roar in laughter with his randomness, this child.
“Look!”, my husband jostled me. “He’s persisted for 5 minutes, he’s not letting go…“.
Up there on the climbing wall, this babe turned boy was holding onto his climb with dear life, quivering. He struggled to land his feet on steep walls so he wouldn’t slip.
Wasn’t he one of the six babies in our church born months apart from each other who sat together on tiny chairs with feet dangling in the air?
I’m looking at those feet now dangling to land and climb.
Maybe this too is holy ground.
Maybe the real miracle in motherhood lies in this: it’s the giving that births the living.
Because no mother can ever stop giving bits of herself and it’s pushing past her own pain that empowers them to live past their own means.
This is what I want to remember the time those questions come next:
Freedom’s found in unlikely places, not in having your own perfect circumstances. And motherhood is simply God’s beautiful way of building what’s deep in you, what’s eternal of Him, what’s truly beautiful for others, so He can make us truly spread.
When he climbed back down in sweats and smiles, I thought I caught a sparkle in his eyes, a sorta knowing that something’s exchanged, some miracles taking place…