Mother’s Day 2014 was the first time that I felt I was missing out. My husband and I have been married for nearly seven years. Having struggled with severe depression, motherhood is something that frightens me. I’m terrified I won’t be a good mom; that I’ll get sick; that I won’t be able to have kids.
I have fears and while women tell me I should not fear, I still do. People ask us all the time when and if we are going to have kids and start a family. I don’t know how to respond to them. I think I desire to have a family, but in this season I am wrestling with question marks of motherhood: the uncertainty of if we are able to have kids, the un-assurance (or mostly fear) of wanting them, whether we would have our own biological children, adopt, foster or all of the above. I am living in the unknown while it seems as though the majority of the women around me have it all figured out with their 2.1 children.
Though the truth is that is a lie.
On Mother’s Day I shared on social media this sentiment of the holiday not being the easiest of days for every woman for a variety of reasons. Some women responded with their heartfelt stories:
“You’re so right. Which is why we retreated to the lake house and didn’t mention that it was mother’s day. I had to give up my dream of being a mother this past year because of my declining health and today I’m remembering the two babies we’ve lost.”
“I’m thirty-eight and still single. It’s another reminder of my unfulfilled dream of being married and having a family.”
“It’s hard to celebrate when the only two babies you’ve ever been pregnant with are waiting for you in heaven. This desire and ache in my heart to have my own children only gets stronger with each passing month.”
Motherhood is absolutely one of the most precious gifts in this life. It is to be celebrated and revered. However, we also need to remember that, for some, the journey to motherhood doesn’t often go as planned. It can be warped with pain, loss, heartache and disappointment. Yet, if motherhood is a dream of your heart, it’s one you don’t have to give up — cling tightly to it. It might not play out in the way you imagine it might, but it will still be worth it. As a woman, there are many roles you’ll have the privilege of playing if mother isn’t one of them: aunt, mentor, godmother, advisor, wife, sister, daughter, or friend. Your mark in this world is irreplaceable and absolutely significant — you can still be instrumental in someone else’s life regardless of the genes that you share with them.
Motherhood is absolutely one of the most precious gifts in this life. It is to be celebrated and revered. However, we also need to remember that, for some, the journey to motherhood doesn’t often go as planned.
Err on the side of sensitivity and be mindful of other peoples’ journey — do not be quick to ask when and if someone is going to start a family, as you never know what they are really walking through.
As for me, I am slowly working through my fears of motherhood. I don’t know what lies ahead, but gradually peace is replacing the anxiety. I might be living in the unknown, but I know that no matter what my maternal destiny may be, my worth and significance as a woman is not determined by whether or not I have children that I specifically call my own. And neither is yours. Our value is irrevocable.
Is motherhood a sensitive or fearful topic for you to think about? How have you learned to walk in your unknowns?
Image via Melissa Miller