Embrace Motherhood In This Season

I remember that from a very young age I wanted to be a mother. At 5, I knew I was going to have lots of children and by 8 I knew that I also wanted to adopt. I had a plan, y’all. And it was to be the very best mother I could possibly be. Now as an adult, I have come to find that your life doesn’t always go according to your plan. In fact, most times it doesn’t go at all the way you had planned. And that’s okay.

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Throughout my 8 years of being a mom, I am finally starting to embrace motherhood in this season. I think this means something different for every mother. We are all in different seasons of motherhood, and I am coming to find that they don’t last very long. The seasons of motherhood move rather quickly. Sometimes while we are in the rough, sleepless seasons, we don’t realize how fast they really go until we are looking back on them.

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For a long time, if things didn’t go according to my plan, I would be devastated, annoyed, angry, stressed, worrisome… anything but happy. As a little girl making my lifelong plans, I had no idea that having babies would be such a struggle for me. The thought of infertility didn’t even cross my mind.  So going through multiple miscarriages was a shock. And it certainly wasn’t a part of my plan.

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Over the years, I put a lot of pressure on myself… for multiple things but mostly due to the fact that my womanly parts weren’t working the way I wanted them to. I wanted lots of babies… all close in age. Why couldn’t I have that? Any time I saw pregnancy announcements, I would secretly wish that it were me announcing a new bundle of joy. I’ve cried a lot of tears. I’ve mumbled lots of angry words. I’ve questioned God. I’ve even yelled at Him a few times. “I’m a great mother, God! Why does this keep happening to me?!” And through all of that sadness and anger and confusion, I was missing something super important.

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Gratefulness. I was missing the whole point. Gratefulness that I AM a mother. That I was able to experience pregnancy and child birth and all the firsts. And that I’m not defined by how many earthy babies I have. And I’m not defined by my fertility journey. And I’m not even defined by my broken plans. I am a mother to a beautiful, smart, healthy, passionate, creative, funny, loving little girl. And I need to embrace that… and be grateful.

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I need to embrace that I am her momma. Embrace that she is at such a fun and quirky age. Embrace that I know more now than I did as a new mom. Embrace that we get to share in this journey together. So instead of focusing on how my life isn’t going according to my original plan, this life I have is still so good. This life I have is still so sweet and full of blessings. That needs to be my focus. Because if I am busy being upset about what I don’t have, I will miss out on what I do have. And I have a whole lot, y’all. This sweet girl made me a mother. My heart is so full because of her.

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Embrace the season you are in, mommas. We are so blessed to play this role. Remember that this time we have with our babies is fleeting. Embrace the moments. Be present. Breathe it all in. And be grateful.

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Photo credit: Hovering Heart Photography

Dresses/Jewelry: Forever 21

 

Mommy Tell All Monday: I Remember

Hello mommas and welcome to Mommy Tell All Monday, a place to share our mommy moments with one another. 

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Today a good friend of mine is sharing from her heart today…a pain I know (and maybe many of you) may know all too well. Though it saddens me to know so many women go through situations such as this, it also comforts me to know that I am not alone, that there are many women who I can find comfort from because they can relate. 

I remember:

Watching the ultrasound tech search unsuccessfully for my baby’s heartbeat, seeing the emotion slide off her face as she realized what she knew the doctor would have to tell me because she wasn’t allowed. 

Having to hand the phone off to a nurse so she could give my husband driving directions to the hospital because I was crying too hard to speak.

Listening to the midwife give me my “options”, as if there was any other option than going through with the delivery.

Holding my baby girl. Too small, too still, for too short a time.

Leaving the hospital with no baby. Carrying nothing but a folder full of information on the stages of grieving instead of tips for nursing and swaddling.

Realizing that because the doctor was telling me they had no idea why it happened, they couldn’t do anything to make sure it didn’t happen again.

Making myself not react to people who told me “It’s better this way. She would have survived being born this early, but she would have had severe health problems.”

Trying to be understanding when people told me “At least she died before she was born. It’s not like you have to go through as much as a parent who lost an actual child”.

Talking to other people who have also lost children, knowing that I’m lucky to have had no lasting physical effects and a subsequent normal pregnancy, but still not knowing quite what to say when someone asks me how many children I have.

“A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. There is no word for a parent who loses a child. That’s how awful the loss is.” ~ Jay Neugeboren, An Orphan’s Tale

~Wendy, mother

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To find out how to submit your story, go HERE.
*All comments on Mommy Tell All Monday must be kind. Rude or negative comments will be deleted. This is a safe place for mommies to share so let’s keep it that way.

Choose Joy

Hi there!
My sweet friend, Emmy, is here to share about something that is very near and dear to my heart…infertility and adoption. Please take a moment to read her inspiring story. 
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I’m Emmy, I’m 35, and I’m infertile.
Wait, let me back up.  I’m Emmy.  Kara has been so sweet to allow me to invade her space for the day.  I own Much Ado About You {where I used to sell printed day planners, and now I just sell printables}, I occasionally blog {Confesstions of a Paper Freak}, and I incessantly Instagram {@itsjustemmy}.  I am married to my high school sweetheart and as of this year we have been together for more than half our lives.
Almost 11 years ago I got pregnant for the first time.  Nathan and I were so excited, and immediately started planning that child’s future.  We were thinking of names… wondering if it would be a boy or a girl… hoping its due date of December 26th would not mean we were going to have a Christmas baby.
But just a few days later I started bleeding heavily, and knew in an instant that that baby was gone. 
We had only just begun trying to get pregnant, but I had so many friends experiencing infertility and I begged God to spare us from that roller coaster.
Our doctor told us that since we were so early in the pregnancy I would not need a D & C, and that technically I could get pregnant as soon as my next cycle.
Which I did.
That pregnancy was such a relief, and I vividly remember thanking God that I was never going to have to walk that long and painful road of infertility.
A year after Beau was born we decided to start trying for a second baby.  We wanted four, so we thought we’d better get going!
God had different plans for our family. 
The next six years were spent going from one doctor’s appointment to the next… from one surgery to the next… all in an effort to figure out why my young and seemingly healthy body was not working.
I have Endometriosis, a condition that basically destroys your body from the inside out.  During my final surgery my doctor made the painful decision to remove both of my non-functioning fallopian tubes, hoping it would increase the chance of my third and final IVF {invitro-fertilization} treatment being successful. 
The next month we had our final IVF procedure.  It failed.  We were done.
We were physically {well mostly me on that one}, emotionally, and financially spent.  The chance of a natural pregnancy was eliminated with the removal of my tubes.  I was officially STERILE.  It is still strange to say those words.  I am a woman that cannot do what I was created to do… bear children.  That is a very strange reality to be faced with.
I spent seven dark years in the thick of my infertility {I say “my” infertility because the issues were mine… with another woman my husband could have had more children… more salt in the wounds}.  For some of those years Nathan and I were not on the same page.  He didn’t understand my desperation for a child when I already was a mom.  Those years I struggled with a deep loneliness that I had never known.  It is so hard to explain what infertility feels like to someone that has never experienced it, but the bottom line is… IT SUCKS.
However, God also used those seven years to challenge my character and bring me to a place of total trust and reliance on His plan for my life.  I came to a point where I had to say, “God, I love you and I trust you, and I know that {while very different from mine} Your plan is the best plan for my life.  So even if I never have another baby I will praise you and be thankful for whatever it is that you call me to do.”
And I really was at peace.  Without tubes I no longer had to live in two week cycles, wondering if each late period was the one.  I had an incredible eight year old that was the joy of my life, a loving, supportive husband, a thriving business… life was good.
Now since I have already babbled on for quite some time {and probably lost most of you} I will leave this next part of the story short and sweet {if you would like to read the whole story, you can find it here}.  Through miraculous circumstances, in March of 2011 we brought home the most beautiful baby girl that looks nothing like us. 
And in the instant that I met her I understood every no that God had placed in my path. 
If you are in a season of not understanding the circumstances of your life, please be encouraged that someday you may understand and even appreciate the painful path that you are walking. 
Since experiencing infertility and adoption I have a heart for encouraging hurting women.  Several months ago I felt a calling on my life to do something to help other women that are experiencing similar trials, and the Choose Joy event was born. 
Choose Joy is a one-day conference in Southern California for women and couples that are experiencing infertility and/or desire to grow their families through adoption.  I have somehow convinced several other women from all over the country to come and be a part of this event.  We have speakers on topics such as “God’s Heart for the Hurting; Waiting Hurts, Waiting Perfects”, “Having a Heart of Hope: Overcoming the Hurt of Infertility”, “The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly of International Adoption”, and much, much more.  My desire is for this to be a day of connection and community, and for women to open their minds to the plan that God has for their family.     
The event will include a luncheon and a dessert, and at the end we will be raffling off a cash prize to help someone grow their family.
Tickets are on sale for $30 through the 25th of January.  {After that the price goes up to $40, so don’t delay!}  Please visit the website for all the details on the location and schedule, bios on each speaker, and to register for the event. 
If you aren’t experiencing infertility, statistics say that someone you know is.  Please pass this website on to your friends or family that could use some support. 
Thanks for reading my story.
XOXO,
Emmy