In my last trimester, I had lunch with a friend and asked me the question. The question that when we’re doing well, we love to hear and answer with a smile. The question that when we aren’t doing well, our blood cringes a bit and we think of a safe way to answer the question. The question.
How are you doing? How are you really doing? How are you doing… spiritually?
Because I know her and trust her I was able to answer truthfully and say, “honestly, not well”. I wish I could smile like a good Christian girl and say that no matter the mountains or valleys I always praise. But I looked like a mountain and I could fill a valley with my tummy. I was exhausted. All. The. Time. When I finally got over morning sickness I caught a few bouts of the stomach virus. My back felt like it was going to break. My belly felt like a massive melon or bag of rice that someone strapped onto me and said “good luck heaving that around!”. My legs would give out randomly from the sciatica. And the one thing most women look forward to when pregnant – eating whatever they want – was out of reach because my darling husband was urging me to only eat organic. Someone find me a KFC that serves organic honey bbq wings. I was so distracted and moody that I couldn’t focus on God. Reading the bible and praying felt like chores. And everyone said pregnancy was just a glimpse of the hardship of being a new parent.
We met again recently and asked the question again. She asked if I was even more distracted these days since now the baby was on the outside and required deeper attention. And this time I could smile and say, “I’m doing great”. In fact, when friends and colleagues send me texts or check in and ask how I’m doing, I am able to answer “great”. Now only great, but I tell them that I feel so… full.
Being a mom is hard. It’s exhausting. I can do nothing but just feed and hold the baby and by evening I’m wiped. But I feel so full. We’re co-sleeping and my body has learned to sleep in a way that’s in a weird distorted angle so I wake up and my arm is hovering above the baby and my legs are hovering below him, as if creating a barrier…. so imagine how pained my body feels. But holding him against me warms my own body and soul. There are some areas of my body still recovering almost 6 weeks later from labor and delivery. But seeing him comforted when we hold him increases my capacity to give and receive love to a new level. I’m running around the house half dressed most of the time because he’s always eating. But breastfeeding has redeemed shame and body issues for me (longer post soon to come). I strive to get as much done between his little naps and so I feel so inefficient these days. But I’m learning that if I do nothing but spend a day loving on him, I’ve done more than enough with my time. I’m scared and anxious that I’m going to make a mistake or do something wrong. But I’m amazed that God would entrust me to steward over this life He has created. Being a mom is hard. It’s exhausting. But I don’t want to miss a single moment.
Cue Aerosmith’s, “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”.