“Mom! Mom! Mom!” That one word is music to my ears, even though sometimes I say “WHAAAT?!” maybe a little to harsh when the word mom has been yelled or whined for the thousandth time in the day. But oh how I longed to be called that or any variation of that. Ma, Mama, Mommy, Mom, I’ve have the honor and privilege of being called all of those now. I’ve cherished each one too. There was a day I didn’t know if I’d ever be called any of those. I’m so thankful to hear voices calling me that, even on the hard days of parenting.
This won’t be anything new for those of you who know me. I’ve shared this part of my life before. However I feel I need to write on it again. It’s ingrained in who I am, it’s part of what makes me who I am. I truly believe it’s part of God’s purpose for me. Every time I write or speak on this topic I get a lump in my throat and tears well in my eyes because it’s so deep in my heart. To be honest I may write about this in some way every year around this time, it’s that important to me. For those who have heard or read this before and for those who it will be your first time learning of this part of my story, know you are getting a glimpse at a part of my soul. A part of what made me who I am and a part that has driven me to writing and reaching others.
Mother’s Day is fast approaching and it stirs my heart in ways only few can truly understand. I need to explain that I’ve always had a deep desire to be a mom. I was not just your average little girl playing with dolls, even then I knew I wanted to grow up and be a mom. I did grow up and married an amazing man who is so great with kids and wanted to have a family as much as I did. Our dreams and plans did not take the path we thought though. It was a few years after getting married we were told there was basically no chance of conceiving a child. Now, we have never ruled out a miracle by God, we believe all things are possible for Him, but medically speaking this is what we were told. The why isn’t important because I don’t want to limit who this reaches with the why we couldn’t conceive. There are millions of couples every day being told this same thing for different reasons and different diagnosis and this is for every couple, well really every woman, who finds herself in this spot for whatever reason, regardless of diagnosis. So here we are, a young couple wanting to start a family and being told it cannot happen. My heart hurt. I had wanted to be a mom for so long and the rug had just been pulled out from under me. Time went by and life got hard, messy, and ugly. There’s so much that happened in there, to much to share in a blog post. Someday I’ll cover those hard messy years but for now I’m skipping to the part about motherhood since Mother’s Day is really why I’m writing this. This is a post for everyone but I’m writing it to the heart of the women who long to be moms but for whatever reasons are not right now.
So you there, the woman who is longing to be a mom and isn’t, for you whose heart is hurting. This is for you. This is for you to know I understand. I understand how hard it is to see the baby section at stores. I understand how unfair it feels seeing women who take their kids for granted and treat them unkind. I understand how mad you get hearing about the kids taken from deplorable conditions by children services. I understand how baby showers make you feel a mix of happiness for your friend or family and pain all at the same time. I understand Mother’s Day. I understand it all. Join me as I share a condensed version of my story, my journey to motherhood and some things I’ve learned along the way.
There were years spent trying to have a baby, walking through infertility that I was right where you are. Your heart hurts and you cry in the store at little things like bibs with cute sayings. You cringe every time you are asked when you are going to start having kids. You smile and say congratulations with every friend who announces their pregnancy as your heart breaks a little more. Then there’s Mother’s Day. It was during this time that Mother’s Day was so hard. I dreaded gong to church on this Sunday. Usually they have all the mothers stand and as you sit your shoulders slump a little more under the weight of your heartache. If you make it through the service without crying, you file out the door without receiving the flower or small gift usually passed out to moms. You try to celebrate with your own mom as you know this day isn’t just about you and your heartache, but everywhere you are, you are surrounded by reminders that this day is not for you. It’s hard and I get it. In the middle of all this I clung to God and that was all I could do. There were Sundays I went crying to the alter and there were Sundays I ran out crying. There were days I asked God why and never felt an answer. It’s hard and it hurts. Even though it has been many years since I have experienced this hurt, I remember it vividly. My words will probably sting coming from someone who’s on the other side now but, know God will get you through this. He got me through those years just as he got me through the even harder years to come.
That’s right, harder years. You see after all those years and prayers I became a mom through the amazing process of adoption and celebrated my first Mother’s Day in 2003 with our then 7 month old son Brayden. That day was so special but a dark cloud hung over it….our son’s birth father filed with the court asking that Brayden’s adoption not be finalized. It was a year and a half of joys and heartaches as Brayden reached milestones and I flourished in my role as mommy but knowing each moment could be our last. Two months before what would have been my second Mother’s Day, when Brayden was 17 months old, our son was returned to his birth parents. Needless to say that Mother’s Day was awful, as was the next year when my heart and arms still ached for my lost son….and once again I was not a mother. The heartache I felt was more immense that any I had ever felt. What I had longed for and received was ripped from my heart and arms. Those were very dark days and this is where God carried me because I could not walk this part. My heart was weary, my burden was heavy, and God took my pain upon himself and carried me throughout this time. This part of my journey is a long story all on its own and for another time but, know that God works even in the midst of our heartache and pain. It was here I learned to lean on God and hear Him speak like never before.
It was almost a year and a half later after loosing Brayden, in July 2005 I stood in the hospital room at the bedside of a pregnant woman about to deliver as the doctor asked her who is holding the baby first. She told the doctor, “She is, she’s his mom” and pointed to me. This woman wanted more for her son than she could give and in selfless love came to us and asked us to adopt her baby, she choose us to be his parents….me to be his mommy. This time there was no fight, this time he was ours. God used Wyatt to bring healing to my heart. Wyatt did not replace Brayden, no child can ever replace one who has been lost, but he brought joy back to everyday. His laid back, easy going, soft hearted personality was just what God knew we needed. Once again I was a mom and even in this God was with me but because he carried me through the worst days that I made it to the good. It gets better, about a year and a half after Wyatt was born, once again another woman out of selfless love made an adoption plan and choose us to parent the baby she was carrying. This time we were blessed with a little girl. Where Wyatt is laid back and easy going, Selah brought spunk and spirit to our life. I have stick straight hair and prayed for a long time for a little girl with curly hair. Well I can say God answered that one in a mighty way. My baby girl has some serious curls! The joy I have in being mom to these 2 is immeasurable. My heart over flows with love and gratitude to God and these women and my heart and arms over flow with 2 amazing kids. There is not a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think of these 2 women and marvel at the love they choose. The love that placed what was best for their child above the heartache they would have knowing their child calls someone else mom. That my joy was born out of another woman’s heartache.
You may think that this is a nice story with a happy ending and now I’m just traveling life’s journey down the road of motherhood trying to do my best to follow God and love my husband and kids and yes I am trying to do that, but it’s not the end. In the fall of 2008, just before the one year anniversary of our daughter’s adoption finalization, when she was a year and half old, 12 days before the cutoff to file, her birth father filed asking the court to over turn her adoption. We spent the next 15 months working to keep our daughter. Obviously this time the ending was different and we still have our daughter but once again I had to lean on God like never before to get me through that time.
Now here’s where I am today. I’m an imperfect person, an imperfect mom walking this path called motherhood in this journey called life with God leading me. I mess up, I “stumble” and God catches me. He picks me up, dust me off and tells me, “I got this, I have you. I got you through the hardest darkest parts of your life and I can get you through this too.” There are days I blow it and have to apologize for my kids for things I have said or done and that’s ok. And no matter how much I longed to be a mom, there are days I just don’t get it right and God gets me through that too. Occasionally there are days I feel like I do get it right but mostly I’m just trying my best to love my kids and make sure they know they are wanted and loved and they are my blessings. I love being a mom, even on the hard days. Let me tell you, parenting is oh so much harder than I ever thought it would be. Someday I’ll write just on that, the midst of motherhood. But I’m thankful for it all and what I’ve learned through each day.
My journey to motherhood has not been an easy one in the least. It has been a road that has been hard, where sometimes there was not a road, or even a path, but a wilderness to fight through and forge a way through. I cannot take credit for making it through, it has been traveled with God leading me, sometimes carrying me when I couldn’t go anymore and my best friend, my husband, beside me. I honestly could not have made it without God and my husband. My road to motherhood has been filled with infertility, failed adoptions, finalized adoptions, challenged adoptions, and I’m sure much more to come since I am still traveling through motherhood in the journey of life. I do know I am so blessed with a beautiful life and 2 kids who I love more than life, yet there are still scars left from the heartaches of past and a humbled heart as I know there are 2 women who have a piece of their heart gone because the children they gave birth to call me mom. I often think about our children’s birth moms and the selfless choice they made. I think about the women who hearts ache from the loss of their child rather through miscarriage, failed adoptions, death, placing their child for adoption, a prodigal child or a number of other reasons. I also think a lot about the women who have a hard time getting up on Mother’s Day, let alone going to church and walking out a little more hurt and scarred. I speak directly to you, the ones whose hearts ache and arms are empty…..God will get you through this. I don’t know how because each person’s journey is different and I don’t know the plans He has for you but I know He will get you through. He will carry you when you just can’t go any anymore if you’ll trust Him to do it. God does not define you by rather you’re a mom or not, or by if you mess up in motherhood or not. You are His daughter and he revels in your beauty as the woman He created you to be. Sometimes we have to struggle to realize He is all we need. When we are left lost and broken it is then that we see He is our all and it is through Him that we have life and can live life. This is something I’ve learned not just from my path to motherhood but from the journey of my life. It is through Christ’s grace that I am here today, free from the heartaches that once plagued me and not just as mom but as God’s daughter. My journey’s not over and I look forward to wherever this journey leads me, knowing that God will be right there with me, just like He always has been.