Messiness of Motherhood: The Soon-to-Be-Mom

12.15.2016 |

The journey to motherhood can be so many things to us all.  I know for me, the emotions of the unknown and untimely rapidly stole much of my happiness for the first months.  You can read the story of my raw and real emotions in the (unexpected) pregnancy HERE.  However, there are no two stories that look the same, and no two experiences that match each other.  While some people enter motherhood through adoption and fostering, others welcome motherhood through the changing of their bodies.  Regardless, motherhood is a special role some get to play in another's life.

These soon-to-be moms have incredibly stories that are brushed with fear and excitement, anxiousness and joy, heartache and happiness.  Take a minute to read through their stories, as each one is unique.  If you are a mother-to-be, don't forget to stay tuned to the end where you will get a chance to encourage and respond.  (Don't forget the end.) 

Series Links:

Here are the questions I asked my moms-to-be to review and respond to:

1. After the baby arrives, what do you think you will do for work? Will you stay at home or go back to same job? What is your dream/ideal situation in regards to work/baby?

2. What has been the greatest experience of your pregnancy thus far? Has it been how you imagined it to be/what other people have told you it is like?

3. What are your expectations/fears of motherhood within this first year?

4. How are you staying Christ-centered with all the excitement of a new baby on the way?

5. What do you wish other people knew about your path to pregnancy/motherhood?

Cassie B.
I'm a PhD student so it's my number one priority to return to work and finish my degree. That being said, I don't get many of the benefits that come with a "real" job, like paid time off or maternity leave. This means I may be potentially taking a month off, unpaid, after Baby B arrives. I will have to return to work within a few weeks, at least part time until Baby B can start daycare (hopefully around 6 weeks). This isn't my ideal situation as I would love to have a normal maternity leave to bond with my baby and adjust to motherhood, but that just isn't the reality of having a baby in graduate school. However, I know that these sacrifices now will allow me to better support my family once my degree is finished.

My pregnancy has been mixed with a lot of fear, excitement, guilt, and panic. Prior to this pregnancy, we had a miscarriage that really rocked our world. Most moms that have had a miscarriage will tell you that pregnancy isn't the same after that. However, even in the heartache and fear, I am grateful for the peace I have felt. My days are filled with constant prayer and longing with God, and I am thankful for that. 

I always looked forward to being pregnant, and although I anticipated a normal level of anxiety, what I have experienced since the miscarriage has been really hard. It almost ruined the idea of pregnancy for me and the carefreeness of it all disappeared. Now, I know pregnancy isn't butterflies and rainbows, but I was so excited to experience it, and now everything is mixed with fear. I was terrified to tell people we were pregnant for fear that they would see it as a solution or a quick fix to the loss of our miscarriage. That being said, the physical part of pregnancy has been about what I expected. The complicated emotions, however, those were unanticipated. 

My fears of motherhood in the first year include learning how to balance school and family, prioritizing God over my marriage and my marriage over my child, and finding a healthy balance of meeting my child's needs but not teaching them that the world revolves around them. (Thank you Cassie, YES!) I know motherhood will be a hard lesson in many areas of life and I'm trying to prepare myself that this will be a "learn as we go" experience. I'm incredibly Type-A, so being willing to give a lot of that over to God might be one of my biggest challenges in the first year. 

I want my child to see that God and my husband are above them. For me, that work starts now. Whenever I find myself obsessing over child care, or a registry, or what gender our baby will be, I try to turn to prayer instead. Our miscarriage taught me that a baby is not guaranteed, and I try to remember that on a daily basis. Now, to say this has been easy would be a huge understatement. There are days where I'm anxious, where I think about how hard it will be to give up some of my independence and my sleep, but mostly there are days where I just remind myself to be grateful for the present day, because at least for that day, I am still pregnant.  

My current pregnancy doesn't fix the loss of my last pregnancy. While pregnancy comes with joy and excitement and elation for many, mine came with fear and guilt and sadness over the loss of my first baby. It came with bitterness towards people who never have to experience miscarriage and who brag about how much they love being pregnant all the time. Yes, we are overjoyed, but we will also never forget the baby that we lost.

Cassie blogs at Sage where she reviews products she loves, talks about her road races and travels, and shares what is going on in her life.  You can read more about her journey through miscarriage and pregnancy on her blog.  

Amber K.
Though I don't have a baby in my arms at the moment, I'm preparing my life, heart, and home for the arrival of our sweet babe, due in June of 2017.  I work as a bookkeeper at an accounting office. Once the baby arrives, I will take maternity leave and return to work when that time is up. It isn't financially possible for me to be a SAHM, and I am already struggling with the thought of going back to work after I give birth. Ideally, I would love to stay at home with the baby a few days of the week and work part-time at my job, but that is not an option due to the work load of my position. Although it will be tough, I find comfort in looking back at my childhood. Both of my parents worked, and I still had the best childhood!

The entire experience of pregnancy is great, but my two favorite happenings are: telling our families, friends, and pastors, and the the eight-week ultrasound. We got to see our little babe and hear the heartbeat. I cried and will probably cry each time I hear those pitter-patters.

I've always wondered what pregnancy would be like. Would I be sick like most women? What would it feel like? I had only heard people talk about morning sickness, so I wasn't sure what to expect. There are so many odd things that happen to one's body during pregnancy. After experiencing the first trimester, I can honestly say I had it pretty easy. I had mild nausea for about three weeks, and that's it. But the fatigue was not what I expected at all! No one told me just how completely exhausted I would be.

I try not to focus on my fears and expectations too much because I'm completely aware that I am human. I'm going to mess up and do things differently than others. And you know what? That’s okay.

All the excitement and changes that come with a new baby have pushed me closer to the feet of Jesus. I had a breakdown at work in the beginning of my pregnancy. Everyone was offering me their unwanted and unsolicited advice on giving birth, vaccinations, and breast feeding. I cried to my husband later that night, and he reminded me that we are the parents who God chose us to raise this baby. We will do what we think is best while trusting that God is guiding and protecting us along the way. Everything else, opinions or otherwise, do not matter. I will stay rooted in His Word and remind myself of His faithfulness in the last thirty years of my life.

What I want others to know about this pregnancy, as well as every big and small thing in my life, is that God is faithful to provide. It may not always be when or how we think it should happen (like thinking I'd be married and have babies in my early twenties; but instead, I married my husband when I was 28, and I'll have my first baby at 30.) He is a good God who - in ALL things - works for the good of those who love Him. I will never be the perfect parent, but with Jesus at the center, there's grace for the messiness of motherhood.

Amber has the most sweet and sincere blog at Wildbloom.  Follow her journey as she photo-documents the world around her, provides encouragement, and speaks truth about the Lord.  

Joy L. 

Last year around this time, I felt God calling me to step out from my current ministry role and spend a season not working, but instead in prayer and rest. My relationship with God sometimes leaned a little too often on “doing” instead of “being.” In the midst of all the “doing,” I think I lost a bit of who he make me to be. My identity got wrapped up in my work and God began to speak to me very clearly about that. So I am still unsure what work will look like for me after the baby comes. My greatest hope for this though is that I will come to know myself by knowing the Lord because He has purposed each of us uniquely. My ideal situation is that no matter what I do is that my child will see me pursuing God and who he made me to be in the work that I do.

The greatest experience of this pregnancy so far has been feeling our little boy move. It's such a miracle, this life growing inside of me. Pregnancy though, has not been how I imagined it would be. For example, the amount of times I've peed my pants while sneezing, jumping, or laughing is a bit embarrassing.  haha! As I think about my expectations of pregnancy, I realize I didn't really have many before I was pregnant. I did think I would be a lot more sentimental than I am: taking pictures of my belly every week, keeping a journal, and all the other things new moms do. I have done none of these things. Ha! Maybe with the next one?

One of the biggest and sweetest surprises has been how loved and celebrated we've been by our friends and community. Sharing with my closest friends that I am pregnant and seeing sincere joy on their faces is such a gift and reflection of the community God desires for us-sharing in each other's joys and struggles.

One of my biggest immediate fears is that I will not enjoy nursing. I've heard so many women describe this as a beautiful connection between mom and child. I'm worried that it may not stir up those same feelings for me. I have spent a lot of time intentionally just trying to take things day-by-day though and not to think too far ahead.

There is so much excitement and planning when it comes to preparing for a baby and it can be such a distraction. Hours upon hours of reading reviews on which baby crib, stroller, and car seat is best can be a bit consuming and also exhausting. Also, almost everyone else has their own opinion about what is right and best when it comes to raising a child. It can all be a bit much and sometimes tough relationally when you don't exactly agree with the advice you are given. My husband and I have had to intentionally seek God together as we navigate our growing family. I actually think many of these things have led us to a deeper desire to know God and what he would want for our child. With all the change coming our way we are finding peace in the only firm thing, Jesus.

Troy and I have been married for almost 5 years.  We didn't want to get caught up in the pain of seeing negative after negative pregnancy test each month, so we left it up to God's timing and prayed and just hoped for the best.

Joy is an up and coming photographer in the Indianpolis area.  Check out her trendy and beautiful work at Joy Lane Photography. She's super talented with the lens. 

If you have been encouraged by these soon-to-be moms, please take a minute to tell them in the comments.  If you are experiencing pregnancy or a different path to motherhood yourself, we would love for you to answer these questions to reflect for yourself.

1. After the baby arrives, what do you think you will do for work? Will you stay at home or go back to same job? What is your dream/ideal situation in regards to work/baby? 

2. What has been the greatest experience of your pregnancy thus far? Has it been how you imagined it to be/what other people have told you it is like? 

3. What are your expectations/fears of motherhood within this first year? 

4. How are you staying Christ-centered with all the excitement of a new baby on the way? 

5. What do you wish other people knew about your path to pregnancy/motherhood?

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