Sometimes it hurts to be a mother.
It hurts when the children you conceive don’t survive long enough to see the light of day.
It hurts when you realize you will never again have that special in-the-womb connection with this incredible, tiny person who used to bump around inside you because she’s born and is now her own person and bumps around and kicks off all the covers.
It hurts when said person’s pitiful ear-infection-induced wailing keeps you up pacing the floor for 48 hours straight, and your heart is wrung out with worry and angst because you are in a different town visiting family, your baby’s eye is swollen shut with infection and she just threw up orange juice all over someone else’s carpet.
It hurts to feel your sweet baby fall asleep in your arms, her head tucked against your shoulder, and you feel so much love and peace inside that you think your heart might just explode right out of your chest.
It hurts when the baby grows into a toddler who screams, kicks, and bites in the middle of the grocery store, eliciting disdainful stares from everyone within earshot, and bribery with goldfish isn’t working, so you abandon your groceries, forfeiting the whole morning’s effort, and head home for a much needed nap.
It hurts when this stormy toddler’s angry tears turn into sunshiny smiles, and she wraps your hair around her finger while whispering, “I sowwy, Mommy.”
It hurts when the sunlight catches on your little girl’s hair while she pitter patters with caterpillars in the yard, and you realize with a start that she is a baby no longer.
It hurts to dry your little girl’s hot, fiery tears when she faces the pain of friendships gone awry, and you have to sit back and let her experience it and figure things out on her own because you know you won’t always be there to patch up what needs fixing.
It hurts to watch your little girl’s passion for all things princess replaced by all things Tardis.
It hurts to hear those anger-fueled words, “I hate you!” come out of a person who used to think you could do no wrong.
It hurts to sit on the sidelines and watch your teenaged girl struggle with anxious thoughts and life situations and swat your suggestions away as if they were swarms of flies, and you realize that you no longer know the person your girl is growing into…but you love her and want to know her all the same.
It hurts to read your daughter’s words in print and you see how gifted she is with all forms of language; she’s already written a novel, and characters talk to her in her head…while you stand on the sidelines proud of her and a tiny bit envious because inspiration comes so slowly to you.
It hurts to look up at your child and see yourself reflected back in her eyes, especially when the self you see is the one you tried to hide, but didn’t.
It hurts to see first love’s blush and laughter bloom on the cheeks of the child who used to swear she’d never ever ever leave home.
It hurts to open websites about colleges and discuss professions and careers and life goals with the piece of your heart that walks and talks and eats and sleeps under your roof for just a few more precious years.
It hurts to realize that this is the year your child will learn how to drive.
It hurts to watch her struggle with her faith in order to make it her own — or to throw it all away, and you are powerless to influence because the more you pray with her, the more you hear scorn not at your message but at your method because today’s Christians use too much ‘Christianese’ and apparently your prayers give her low self esteem and no matter how many times you tell her that God doesn’t “grade” prayers or the words you use, you still feel afraid she will reject God because she’s trying to be you, and you with your own mistakes and anxieties aren’t anyone you’d want anyone to be.
It hurts when you wistfully remember those days when bedtime was filled with story after story because she kept asking for “just one more” and you didn’t have the heart to say no to another good book, while today she forgets to say goodnight on her way up the stairs to her own world.
Being a mother hurts, yet I’d do it all over again, given the chance. I am an imperfect mom in need of much grace. I worry too much about all the wrong things. I discipline things that other moms laugh at and don’t discipline the things that I probably should. But I love my independent minded teenager and let.her.go gracefully, praying she will hear and heed the voice of her Father as she flies. And I thank the Lord for making me her mother and I thank my husband for making me her mother and I thank her for making me her mother.
The pain of childbirth never really ends; rather, it ties up our hearts with love so powerful it scorns the pain and embraces it. Isn’t that, after all, what love does?
Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy. Love does not brag, it is not arrogant, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs, it takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never comes to an end. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Indeed. Love never comes to an end. It might get frustrated and throw its hands up in the air and shake its head and ground her and fuss and fret, but then it will turn around and hug her, again and again.