I officially became a mom seven and a half years ago. I have to admit the beginning wasn’t quite as glamorous as I expected.
My labor started on a Friday. We rushed to the hospital with great anticipation. My girl was already past her due date. When I arrived, they put me in a room with three other mamas to wait for more rooms to open up. The nurse missed my vein when taking blood (I’m deathly afraid of needles) so my sheets were stained. Then I got the news that my beloved doctor was out of town for the weekend. I was trying hard not to panic.
Let’s be real: I was terrified.
Questions flooded my mind: Could I really do this mothering thing? Was I ready? Would I be able to stick to my birth plan? Would I have to give birth in front of all these other mamas and their guests.
Then my labor stalled. They ended up sending me home that night. Only after (intentionally) eating a very spicy chicken dinner, walking about 4 miles the next morning with my mom, and my doctor breaking my water did my labor really kick into gear. On Sunday, my husband helped me through hours of wild contractions and the final pushing. Meilani Cora Gilmore was born.
Bottom line: it was messy. Very messy.
And the days to come would prove even messier. When I brought my baby home the first night, I cried. I sat in our new glider chair on a “donut” pillow, and I cried.
I cried because the birth was nothing like I planned. I cried because I was in pain from my stitches. I cried because I wasn’t wearing my pre-maternity clothes. I cried because breastfeeding was hard and painful. I cried because I started thinking about all the bad things that had happened in my life and how they might one day happen to my daughter. I cried because my Meilani was so beautiful, but the world felt so messy and I wasn’t so sure about bringing her into it.
Wasn’t I the girl they voted in high school “The Most Likely to have 37 Children?” I wasn’t sure I would even make it to two.
It wasn’t until months later (Ok, maybe years later) that I realized I really was making it. It wasn’t always pretty but I was making my life as a mother. And each day was an opportunity to embrace my story.
I’m inviting each one of you to “embrace your story,” but more than that, to share your story with the moms around you. I don’t mean the fake story. I’m not interested in the “picture perfect in your mind” story. I want the real story. I want the “being crazy in the photo booth” story. I’m hungry for the messy stories, the not-so-glorious stories, the failing forward stories, the stories about faith strengthened and redemption found.
I know deep in my heart the only way I have survived as a mother is because other women walked with me on this journey. My own mother, a few honest mentors, and a core group of authentic mama friends have come alongside me. They have shared their stories. They have shared their experiences, their hopes, their disappointments, their dreams. They have helped me to see the beautiful in my mess.
In Ephesians 2:10 it says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (New Living Translation). Sometimes it’s hard for me to see myself as a masterpiece, but God is teaching me that I am. He is transforming my perspective and helping me realize that as I embrace my mother story I also get the privilege of being part of the Greater story He is writing.