You are all seriousness with a heaping dose of want-to-be helpful. You share the hard things, the questions and anxiety and heartache.
You are a legion of mamas who kind heartedly offer advice and experience to this soon-to-be mama. And truly I am thankful. For your honesty, for your desire to help. I am thankful.
But in a way your stories dishearten me. You share about how hard labor is. You share your horror stories of bringing life into this world. You told me to register for formula because I will have difficulty breast feeding. You told me about your frustrating weeks of bed rest. You told me I will feel like I can’t make it, that my body will hurt, and that I’ll probably cry myself to sleep some nights because of sheer exhaustion. And you offer a knowing smile and tell me not to stress and to remember that no matter what I’m not a bad mama.
But you never told me how every moment of fear and frustration was worth it. You didn’t mention that you’d cry those tears of exhaustion all over again for just a moment of the joy your little one brings you. You forgot to mention that you’ve never, not once regretted all those late nights and early mornings with a sick baby, or that your heart swells with pride and joy and excitement when that innocent-babe-turned-strong-
Why not? Why do you share the negative while not even acknowledging the positive? Why do you offer to be there for me when the going gets tough, but you don’t offer to celebrate with me in the little victories that are to come? I can’t help but wonder why advice is freely offered about the hard things, without a knowing smile of “you can’t begin to imagine the glorious joy you’re about to experience?”
I know it will be hard. All of it, from finishing this pregnancy with grace and some shred of dignity, to changing blow out diapers that would knock a train off its tracks, to begging for wisdom when my son disappoints us through his words and actions. It’s all hard.
But I also know there will be joys beyond measure. I know that sometimes my eyes will fill with tears because I am overwhelmed by the extraordinary gift that God has given me. I know that I will take pride in pictures and projects that he proudly hands me, even when I have no idea what I’m looking at. I know that my heart will very nearly burst with joy when he snuggles up next to me.
So can we tell those stories? Those happy ones? Can you share the joy and peace and glory of motherhood, and share quietly that you personally struggled with fill-in-the-blank, and that if I ever need to talk about that you’ll gladly lend an ear and walk beside me?
I’m not approaching motherhood with rose colored glasses. I’m in that funny place in life where I know that I don’t know what I’m in for. But that’s not limited to the hard things. I want you to tell me that I have no idea what I’m in for: the joys and blessings and downright thrill of bringing another human being into the world. Could you tell me about that?
And in those moments when I feel overwhelmed, remembering that you said it was absolutely worth every painful, sleepless moment will be as helpful to me as remembering that you’ve been there too, and that you’re there for me if I need you.
Because I’m quite certain the joys of motherhood outweigh the heartache of motherhood. So shouldn’t we talk about those joys more than the difficulties?