I was one of those women who motherhood surprised. I had always wanted to have children – but considered it more of a far-out, “someday” thing. I was busy still settling into married life, learning to take care of a home, and working on my ministry. When my husband and I found out we were pregnant, we were shocked. I knew nothing about being a mom and only a little about watching other people’s babies. Not raising one.
I frantically bought every good book I could find about “what to expect”. Could any book even begin to prepare me? I put my writing and speaking aside temporarily to focus whole-heartedly on this new little creature rapidly growing inside of me. I wanted to be ready when they arrived. I wanted to be a good mom.
On May 10th, at 3:29am, my daughter, Scarlett Grace Omartian, made her debut! She was beautiful. She was perfect. I couldn’t believe I was seeing the intricately formed little creation that God had been knitting together inside of me. He did such a great job.
But what now? All I wanted was to go to sleep and recover from my exhausting middle-of-the-night labor so I could then happily coo over my new baby angel. However, hours later, even when the lights were out, I couldn’t take my eyes off the little human swaddled up next to my bed in her rolling cart. New feelings I had never experienced before swept over me.
What if I closed my eyes for a second and she stopped breathing? What if she starts choking while I’m asleep? What if, what if, what if…
I laid there with my wide-eyes glued to her while panic, joy, peace and terror mingled in my soul as though they were familiar with each other. As though they had been meeting for centuries in the hearts of new moms all over the world.
The next few weeks were rough for me. I’d be lying if I tried to candy coat it any other way. Breastfeeding got off to a rough start and required all kinds of tricks and “processes” in order for Scarlett’s feedings to be consistently sufficient. My amazing husband, Chris, was there with me through it all.
Numerous occasions I thought I might be going insane because of how sleep-deprived I was. ALL. I. WANTED. was a few consecutive hours of uninterrupted sleep. That’s it! Was that even possible any more? Would I ever sleep again? How could I live on the brink of delirious insanity? My life flashed before my eyes as I feared it might officially be over.
My friends brought me meals, hugged me, and told me it would get better. But I didn’t believe them. I thought every mom that I had ever known just handled it more gracefully than me. One bewildered trip to Target I’ll never forget openly staring at every single mom I came across in the store. I remember thinking as I saw one mom with three (!!!!!!) kids, “YOU’RE ALIVE!!! And so are your kids!!! And you all look HAPPY! How did you do it?!”
You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. Those were the exact words that came screeching out of my brain.
But my friends and family were right. It did get better. Day by day, week by week. I began to get the hang of this new life a little more, and I began to enjoy it. Of course, Scarlett starting to sleep through the night definitely had something to do with that!
I began to make peace with parts of me that died. Parts of me, frankly, that needed to die. Like my selfishness. I didn’t have a clue how selfish I was until my little girl showed up. Even during the pregnancy, I began to realize that this whole journey was not about me. The sickness, the sacrifices I needed to make to keep her healthy, the carefulness, the pain I’d need to undergo. All of it was for a much greater purpose that I could feel a glimpse of inside, but couldn’t yet see.
What a greater purpose my Scarlett is. And how metaphorical is childbirth to our lives! We go through things that require us to stretch, painfully expand and endure… sometimes leaving scars. But if we surrender to the Lord’s plan for this painful growth, this process births something far more beautiful in our lives than we ever could have dreamed. It’s perfect! It’s sweet. And it grows and grows with a life of it’s own that is so much bigger than we are.
Today, my amazing daughter is one years old. And it also happens to be Mother’s Day! I woke up this morning with overwhelming joy and thrill at the miracle God has done in my life over the course of this year. I am so grateful. I am so grateful. I love being a mom. I love my daughter. I love this journey. And as I type this, I am even feeling the flutters of our second baby who is 18 1/2 weeks old kicking around in my stomach! What did I do to get to bear these precious miracles? Nothing. With my life story, they are here against all odds as it is.
Thank You for Your plan for mothers, God. I’m in awe of the role You’ve given us and the amazing journey that You have laid out for each one of us. Thank You for Your strength which has personally carried me through this year. You and I both know I wouldn’t be standing here without You.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you precious women. I am inspired by you and am cheering for you as we march out our lives together!!!