It is time to do a follow up on my thoughts from a few weeks ago, How I am Really Feeling About Having Another Baby.
I don’t know about yours, but my social media feeds have been filled with lovely posts about motherhood and mothering and mothers for the past week.
These were the ones that struck me most:
Marion Fernandez-Cueto wrote (reprinted from 2009), “When Satan Tells you ‘You’re Too Good For’ Motherhood”
Haley Stewart wrote, “Have you ever felt like being a mother has ruined you?”
Jenny Uebbing wrote,“The Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever (And it is probably not what you’re thinking”
|Photo by my father.|
I had my first child, G, 9 months after getting married, and a little over 10 months after college graduation (granted it was my Master’s graduation). I was 22 years old when she was born, and while we had made some friends in our new city when she was born, I did not really know them very well.
Being home alone with a baby, I spent a lot of time online. I looked on as my college and high school friends posted about jobs, Friday and Saturday evenings out, and I felt like I was the only one posting about having a baby. Of course, they all supported and loved me and my husband as the first parents in our group of friends, but I still felt isolated.
Like Marion Fernandez-Cueto wrote, I daydreamed about what my life could have been, had I not had a child so soon. If I had not gotten married, I probably would have continued in graduate school. Instead I was working part-time as an administrative assistant for a parish Religious Education program while my husband made a graduate student fellowship wage while studying for his PhD. Money was tight, and we were frugal.
When my first was born, I was so self-centered and immature that I have been spending years getting over the selfishness of my childhood. Like Haley Stewart wrote, motherhood broke me, and now that we are about to have our fourth, it still is breaking me.
But it will also be my salvation, if I live my vocation as I should.
Last week, in a fit of pregnancy hormones, I completely lost it. My husband, at my request, had set up the co-sleeper bassinet for this next baby to sleep in, and it haunted me the whole day until that night when I lost it.
I sobbed and whined, and my husband, who always is right when I am being selfish, could not reason it out of me. I was irrationally afraid of life with a newborn again. I was irrationally not wanting to give the gift of physical care to the child I have been carrying for 8 months. I was so afraid.
Then it hit me, the irrationality was a spiritual attack. I was being attacked by the evil one in my very motherhood, in my very vocation.
My motherhood and wifehood is not about being blissful and comfortable day to day, it is about giving myself as a gift to others, so that one day I can have the ultimate human end of eternal happiness with my Creator and Savior. And it is hard. It will never stop being hard, but it is the gift I am called to give.
Our earthly vocation will not always make us happy now, but if we persevere in it, we will be happy forever. It is the same in any vocation, to priesthood, religious life, consecrated single life, and marriage; we will not always be happy.
I then asked my husband to pray for me, for protection from this spiritual attack, for grace to overcome my fears. And he did, as he always does. He lay his hands on me, and we prayed. Peace came over me as we prayed, but the aftermath of the raw emotions took awhile to wear off.
I prayed about it through Sunday Mass the next morning, and as I went through my checklist of things to get ready for the baby the following week.
I realized that I had been looking at this coming baby selfishly. I was anticipating everything from my lonely fears. I had forgotten that I am not alone in my vocation to motherhood. My motherhood is tied irreversibly to my husband’s fatherhood, and, oh, what a wonderful husband and father he is. We are here to help each other in our vocations.
And now, I am naturally a little nervous about all the things I worried about before, especially the impending labor, but I know that grace will help me love through it all.