There is no real preparation for motherhood. I wanted to be a mom from the time I knew what it meant, but I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I knew there would be sleepless nights, but I didn’t know there would be nights when I would watch my children sleep just to see their chests rise and fall. I knew there would be skinned knees to kiss, but I didn’t know I would feel my stomach drop every single time my sons fell and I was too far away to catch them. I knew I would love them deeply, but I didn’t know I would feel like my heart was walking around outside my body and beyond my control. Motherhood is full of the unexpected... unexpected feelings, unexpected experiences, and unexpected vulnerability.
While I was pregnant with my oldest, Will, I was nervous. I had already lost a baby to miscarriage, and I was fully aware that I was only a vessel, not the Life Giver. I had no idea what would happen with his pregnancy, but I prayed that God would protect my baby. At my 20-week ultrasound, we found out that our baby was a boy and that he had cysts on his brain. We were told that the condition was relatively common, and the cysts could disappear within a couple of months. Or they could cause brain damage and possibly death. We scheduled a follow-up ultrasound for 28 weeks, and we waited. We prayed, we trusted (sometimes more than others), and we waited. By 28 weeks, our son was healthy, the cysts had disappeared, and I had gotten another taste of the vulnerability that was to come.
After we brought Will home from the hospital, I lay in my bed wide awake with fear. As nervous as I had felt carrying a human life around inside my body, it was much scarier to have him on the outside. I was overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. I was prepared to be awake at night comforting a crying baby, but I had no idea I would need comforting as well. I was terrified.
I’d like to say the fear eased with time, but it hasn’t. Three years and another son later, I’m not watching them breathe at night, but I feel anxious every time they get in the car with anyone but me. I still have to catch my breath every time they fall, and I feel animal-like instincts when I sense a threat of any kind within a five mile radius of my boys.
I am a mother, and I love my children. I love them an inexplicable amount. I love them so much that I would do anything to keep them from feeling pain. This is motherhood. You can’t be prepared for the vulnerability because you can’t be prepared for the love. Is it worth loving this much, knowing my heart is walking around concealed as two little boys? You bet. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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