hiding in motherhood

When I found out I was pregnant I immediately started formulating what kind of parent I would be. In those early days it felt like this new role defined me. It was all I could talk or think about. It was the first thing people asked about when they saw me. Being pregnant, and then being a new mom consumed me. I've spent the last few months fighting my way out of that fog. It's been almost exactly two years since I got pregnant. I'm just now coming up for air and trying to get a lay of the land. I'm trying to understand just how these last two years have really affected me. Maybe it's the fact that Lana is becoming so mobile and independent, or that she's no longer nursing. Whatever the switch was, I feel like I'm entering a new stage, and I feel like I'm walking into it blind. I was pregnant, then I was a new mom. Now I don't have either of those labels to hide behind. I have the space to start being me again. The only question is, who exactly am I. How have the last two years really changed me? Are all of those changes good? Or do I need to work my way back from some of them?

There are days when I still feel lost in it all. It's easy to feel like I failed myself by becoming consumed by motherhood. People talk about "those parents" with such disdain. Those parents who let their kids change them and dictate their lives. Those parents whose marriages take a hit while they adjust to parenthood. Those parents. I used to be one of the people spitting out those words, but now I know that even those parents are doing their best. Just like with so many things in life, it's just about doing what you can do.

I'm sometimes tempted to feel like I'm taking the easy way out. Like I'm hiding from the really important, big life stuff by being a stay at home mom. But this is where I am.This is who I am. Despite all my protesting and assurances that motherhood wouldn't change me, here I am, one of those parents. My love for Lana and my desire to nurture her does consume me. Her needs do dictate much of my life. And, honestly, Tom and I had to learn how to navigate the new waters of being married and being parents. Being Lana's mom has changed me in the deepest depths of my heart. I'm not anything like the parent I'd planned to be, and I couldn't be more grateful that God continues to give me the grace to navigate beyond my own limited understanding.

As I transition into this new stage there are a lot of unknowns, but what I do know is that loving Lana has made me better. In those moments where I'm embarrassed about not having a career. On the days when I feel like I can't stand to wash one more dish or do one more load of laundry. During those weeks when I don't leave my house or talk to an adult other than Tom. Those are the times when it would be easy to resent my role as mom. They're also the times that break my heart. I'm ashamed that I could ever believe the lie that what I do day in and day out doesn't matter. I'm crushed by guilt every time I think that pouring myself into Lana, loving her well and point her daily toward the Gospel, isn't worthy work. I am humbled by the magnitude of being called to shape this little life, and that gift is what matters more than any crisis of self I might walk through.

All I know is that motherhood is astoundingly complex and heart-shatteringly amazing.

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