Becoming a mother is probably the biggest mental shift I’ve ever gone through in my life. Babies are completely helpless when they are born, and you must provide everything for them. The responsibility is overwhelming at times.
One woman I have known for my whole life has an interesting story I’ve heard her share several times. When she and her husband were young parents with two very little girls, they were asked to sit on a panel for the school she worked at. This panel was for young adults, and they were supposed to explain why these people should plan on becoming parents one day. They were the only parents on the entire panel.
They had a toddler and a baby at the time. They were exhausted and feeling the stress that all parents have when they are juggling little ones. And they were supposed to convince people that they wanted to do this to themselves. So, they eventually came up with the argument that becoming a parent makes you less selfish. She’s never clarified how convincing the audience found that argument.
I love that story.
If some of my friends without kids asked me to explain to them why they should have children, I could probably come up with quite a few reasons. However, to a person who doesn’t want kids, I doubt they would be appealing at all. That’s because parenting is unbelievably hard, humbling, and often overwhelming.
There is nothing that has laid my flaws out more clearly than motherhood. The argument that parenting makes you less selfish is entirely valid. It is one of the things which I feel grateful for as I continue along this journey. I’ve learned a lot and grown exponentially in the last 3 years.
But when it comes to how rewarding being a mother is, that is difficult to put into words. I’ll try though. When my second son was born, it was a fast labor, and my epidural didn’t work. I fortunately have blocked out most of the memories of labor, but I won’t forget the seconds immediately following his birth.
He was lifted to my chest, and I got to snuggle him directly to me. I got him nursing within minutes. I was tired, shaky, and completely transfixed. Because after a long, stressful, high-risk pregnancy, there he was. And he was completely fine. He had my dad’s ears and looked so much like his big brother.
Having a child is a wonder. Sometimes an infuriating one, but a real, true wonder. Both of my boys enrich my life in ways that are amazing.
My eldest, who is three, is incredibly intelligent, focused, and logic driven. My younger son, at one year old, is courageous, experimental, and affectionate. They both bring new experiences, challenges, and fun to my life in unexpected ways. Nothing has brought me joy in the way that caring for them as they grow and learn does.
Being a mother brings so much love into my life. Love for my children, my husband, and for my Lord, who gave me this privilege. Parenting is a privilege like no other, and a job which rewards you time and time and time again. All of the effort, the fear, and the overwhelm is constantly worth it.
To the new mothers reading this, welcome to the tribe!
About the Author
Sarah Martin is the main creative force over at The Family That Plays, where she writes about her family’s adventures in technology, away from technology, and growing together. She loves helping people learn about how to, as a family, grow towards having a fun, sane and purposeful life together. Sarah lives in her home state of Maryland with her husband Matt, her two rambunctious little boys, a red bearded dragon and a tank full of corals and saltwater fish. You can find her and her whole crew over at thefamilythatplays.site.