Mothering

Transforming into Motherhood Pt. 1

Baby in Seattle

It’s ok to not want to be a Mom. I sure didn’t want to.

The opinions on motherhood are just about as vast as there are stars in the universe, so it seems. And I’ve held my very black and white convictions for 5+ years now on this topic. Ironically, volunteering at a birthing clinic was where my plans of never birthing a child became almost concrete and it’s taken years to tear down what I’ve built, but I’m here now staring at my round belly, full of a life that I don’t deserve to carry.

I write this with great hesitation and yet with a burdened, healing heart for every woman facing or not facing M-O-T-H-E-R-H-O-O-D.

No Kid is Coming Out of Me

I had my reasons for not wanting to birth any children-some selfish, some out of judgement, and a few out of good will.

I Don’t Want to Lose my Body

Staying fit and healthy has been a constant focus in my life because I enjoy it and I like how I look. So the negative stereotypes of pregnant women were an absolute threat to my well being. “Eating for two – give me all the ice cream and Taco Bell!” It sounds like these cravings were something almost entirely out of your control as if this little monster inside of you controls your mind and stomach. Another one-“My hips, butt, stomach will never be the same” -Ummm Yikes! I don’t want that. “No time or too tired to exercise.” This sounds like your setting yourself up for absolute abandonment of self care. Not for me. Ever.

Baby Shower Bonanzas

I will go to just about any other party over a baby shower. Call me a party pooper (although it’s usually at these showers that you talk most about poop), but playing games testing your knowledge on babies and eating Nestle’s Crunch candies out of a diaper is forever something I want to avoid and not make others go through IF I were to have my own child. As those gifts keep rolling in to the party for a tiny human who basically only needs their mom, milk, and diapers, flashbacks to that little birthing clinic in Cebu, Philippines overwhelms my mind as I saw moms excited to receive a baby hat, a onesie and the vaccines their baby needs for a healthy start in life.

Dare I say? No I should’t…perhaps having a baby is round 2 of wedding planning? The decorating of the nursery, planning for a shower (which sometimes can practically be a wedding), shopping, and getting hair and nails done before the big arrival.

This isn’t true for many women, but I’ve seen it enough to callous my heart and reject the “American way” of pregnancy.

There’s Enough Kids in the World Already

This one I truly struggle with and I know many of you have had the same thought. Why bring another human into this jungle of a world when there are thousands of existing little ones fighting to survive without parents? While an honest reason, this was my biggest cover up for not having kids coming out of me. And some people really do operate under this reason, and I respect them with all my heart-that’s truly one of the most sacrificial things you can do. Watch the movie, Lion, and your heart will explode (in a good, painful way).

Saying Yes to Having a Baby

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
Psalm 127:3-5

Brad and I had the “baby talk” on a June day in 2015 while walking through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. This conversation was due especially after reading a convicting chapter on parenting in You and Me Forever. This one chapter stared me straight in the face and put me in my place when it came to my perspective on children.

“Why now are children so often regarded as ‘in the way’, hindrances to the things we really want to do?…The truth is that God created family, and He wants us to find pleasure in our families for His glory.” -Francis Chan

Ok, Lord. Now I see. Use me as you please even birthing a child.

As I found my heart re-aligned with His (praise God for whenever that happens!), I thought if I’m on the same page with the Lord then we’ll probably get pregnant like tomorrow, right?

Well the plan actually was to start trying that Fall with a confidence that we’d have a baby by Fall 2016. Month after month passed and my care-free spirit was sharpening with control or better yet, lack of control and confusion as my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to. In these moments your heart is primed for the enemy to swoop in and assault you with shame and doubt as you feel less and less of a woman lacking the very function that defines your gender.

After being married for almost 6 years, we’ve met a lot of couples along the way who have longed to have their own children and can’t. I always felt bad and sympathetic towards them but never could fully grasp the desperation, frustration and darkness they face. God was gracious in making me wait, and for some of you, you’re going to roll your eyes to know just how long we actually had to wait-a whole year. Go ahead. Roll the eyes-you deserve it. I know that’s nothing compared to some of you all-stars waiting 3, 4 or 5 years for such a simple yet actually quite miraculous, scientific surge of life to occur in your womb within a 24 hour period that’s only open every 30-35 days.

The sixth month was my breaking point. Everything I researched online kept telling me most women become pregnant between 3-6 months and if you still have no luck, wait it out until a year and then talk to your doctor (read: something might be wrong with you but wait 6 months before finding out). Month 7, 8, 9, etc were patterned with hope, dissapointment, tears and a vulnerability I couldn’t bare to unveil to anyone including Brad. After years of refusing to sacrifice my body for another one’s life, now all I could think about and desire was to bring life through my body. Every baby bump, pregnancy announcement, baby shower invite felt like a slap in the face reminding me what I couldn’t have.

After a sure yes from the Lord and an undeniable desire to be a mom through pregnancy, I was terribly confused and hopeless. But being on the other side of this with a baby kicking me in the ribs as I type, I am grateful for this time of waiting upon the Lord. It put me in my place. Who am I to dictate when life will be created in me? And I’m now just one step closer to understanding and having the compassion and empathy towards other women who are experiencing a depth of darkness unlike any other kind. I admit, I’m still so far from many who are still treading these waters but my heart is open and raw towards the women who face this battle.

The desire to mother and nurture a family and home is something created in us and for us by our Maker. Whether we choose not to have children through a pregnancy or can’t, mothering is a unique role that is displayed in vast ways all over the world. My journey is only beginning and I have a whole lot to learn. And while others wait for their time to mother through a pregnancy, look to your Maker who is faithful and knows exactly who and when you’ll mother.