Monday, September 29, 2014

The Miracle of Motherhood

When I was just over six weeks pregnant, we decided to let some of our church leaders know. We had been asked to serve as a "Ma and Pa" to ten youth (ages 12-18) for our stake's pioneer trek the summer I found out I was pregnant. We hadn't decided if I should go and we also wanted to make sure there wasn't a policy against pregnant women going on the trek.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was absolutely elated and thrilled. I was so happy and excited that I was blessed with a pregnancy again. This time I wouldn't worry about silly things like finances and weight gain. I was only going to enjoy the blessing of getting to carry a baby inside me.

I am human and it didn't take long for the reality of becoming a mother to sink in. With that reality became a bit of worry, fear, and anxiety. I worried about trivial things once again like finances and weight gain. I also started to worry about being a mother in and of itself.

 One Sunday, just a few weeks after seeing that positive test, I remember sitting in sacrament meeting at church. In our church, all ages participate in the first hour of worship together. This particular Sunday it seemed like the kids all had microphones. I wasn't tuning in to the lesson or even the cries of itty bitty babies. I was hearing the fits, the "No's," the "I don't want to's," and more. I saw little girls glaring at their parents and crossing their arms out of anger for not getting their way. I saw toddlers running up and down the isles with the mom chasing after them.

Suddenly, the world seemed very small and quiet and then this loud booming voice started repeating, "I cannot do this!" I heard the message over and over again. "I'm not ready." "I can't do this." "I don't know how to have a kid. A baby I can handle. I cannot be a mom to a five year old." I proceeded to attempt to find a balance between panic and prayer for that first hour of church.

After the hour was up, our bishop at the time asked me to meet with him in his office. He just wanted to touch base with us about the trek, see if we'd made a decision, and go from there. I have been blessed to feel the love of every bishop I have had. I know that those men care about me and I have always felt safe in their presence. This bishop was no different (I still carry a great love for him in my heart). As I sat down he simply said, "How are you?"

I knew he was making small talk. I also knew that he loved me and cared about me. In typical Sharlee fashion I started crying. "I can't do this. I can't be a mom. I'm so scared. I can't have a five year old, Bishop." I managed between tears.

Understanding me well, he smiled a bit and told me, "That's why you don't start out with a five year old. You get to work yourself up to that." He then proceeded to promise me that I could do it and that I would be a wonderful mother. I expressed some other concerns to him such as working outside of the home and he continued to calm my heart and ease my fears with words of encouragement.

That Sunday is forever engrained in my memory because I was so incredibly terrified of parenting--of motherhood. Yet, I was able to be calmed and reassured.

The day my daughter was born I remember seeing her and falling instantly in love with her. I knew she needed me and I knew I was meant for her. I went from being terrified of having a daughter and terrified of having a kid some day,  to looking at her and marveling at the many opportunities I was going to get to be a part of as the mother of a daughter.

While I cuddled her tiny little body snuggled against mine during those precious newborn days, I wanted her to stay little forever. At the same time, I couldn't help but daydream about making cookies, building forts, and playing dress up and make believe. I started to get excited about having spa nights, coloring parties during rainy days, and watching my little girl fall in love with something--whether it be bunnies, our dog, Minni Mouse, or bugs.

I realized all that I had to look forward to. I started to look forward to it to. That's the miracle of motherhood. It changes you faster than anything else. I went from terrified to exciited. I went from feeling under-qualified to feeling like I was meant for this.

Some days are still struggles and some days I still get scared and anxious about all of the responsibilities that accompany raising a little girl. Still, I know that I am made for her. I am designed to be a mother. The miracle of motherhood is in the small tranformations that take place to our hearts and our minds. Things fall into place. Inspiration comes at times when you need it most.

The miracle is that even though you don't feel ready, you are.

Have you ever had anxieties about a life-changing event?

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