Lessons Maddie has taught me

Twelve years ago yesterday, I held the most precious, wide eyed, soft skinned little baby my eyes had ever beheld! The next day, after the labor pains and still exhausted, my lessons began. The hard knocks of parenting were leveled at me. I got my first taste of judgement and learned the hard truth that I will mess up, and I won’t do everything just right. I learned that parenting is hard work and requires diligence and attentiveness. I realized that it hurts you when they are hurting and how much of a failure one mistake will make you feel and that emotions can rise and fall hourly with the mood or well-being of your child.

I also learned that what I knew of “love” was insignificant in comparison to what I felt for my sweet sleeping daughter in my arms. I learned that for someone that had grown up feeling used for her body, my child using me was entirely different. I realized that her dependence on me was necessary and that no matter what I felt or what I wanted, she had to come first. I learned the value of uninterrupted sleep.

I’m still learning.. And messing up.

And, in my failures I am becoming a better parent. I’m learning that it’s best to just say no than to say yes and regret your answer and have to go back and set higher standards. (A lesson one can only learn through the struggle of mistake.) I’m learning that they grow up way too fast, that the phrase, “you’ll blink and she will be grown,” isn’t an old wives tale but a literal blink in time. I’m learning not to rush the moments, not to hurry their independence, and to take every moment to pour into their hearts the love that only a parent can have for their child.

I’m learning the importance of faith and the wisdom that it brings. I’m seeing through her childlike faith that relationship with God is a journey and doesn’t just happen over night or because I desire it. I’ve had to learn that just because I am tired or sick or impatient doesn’t give me a right to take it out on my kids… and that God will correct us if we mistreat them. I’m learning that it is less what she hears about Christ and more about what she sees in me, a Christ Lover. I’m realizing that as much as I long to see her fall in love with her Savior, I can’t force it. And I’m sadly seeing that as much as I would like to prevent any fear or doubt or pain from breaking her heart, it’s that struggle that will make her stronger.

I’m still learning… And I’m only 12 years into a forever life as her mom and 10 years in as the mom of her sister.

It’s not easy …But, my Teacher hasn’t let any of us out of His sight.

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Barren

Barren.

That word stings whether you are unable to have one or unable to have more. There is something that feels unnatural about that. Barren. You picture cracked dirt and lifeless ground. And it resembles what it feels like – a curse.

I was the girl who dreamed big! Big aspirations, big plans, big families! I would draw diagrams of houses, fully decked out with four nurseries. I mean, I was gonna have at least 2 girls and 2 boys – Interspersed, of course, so each girl could have an older brother… Like I never had. And that was exactly the image that popped into my mind when my doctor asked me, “Were you planning to have any more babies?” I remember answering, “Well, if you asked me over the den of loud music at a social gathering I might have said no, but your asking me about ever, and I’m not ready to commit to that.” The fact was, as horrible as being pregnant had been on my body, We were actually considering trying for that boy we’d never had… Now would never have.

In the end, it was necessary. It boiled down to life and death. Assuredly, if I had gotten pregnant, I would have lost the baby and possibly my life. I made the right choice. Everyone agreed. But I hated it.

I have moments where I still deeply grieve. The enemy taunts me with accusations and fantasies, but the truth is I can’t have any more. It hurts. Please don’t get me wrong! I cherish my girls! I’m blessed to have them, and I thank Him daily. I love them more than life, but I can’t help but feel someone might be missing.

“You can always adopt.”
I get that a lot. And I could, if we saved up the money, but it’s not the same. Altruistic and beautiful, no doubt. Many babies need families and there are many hearts that need love. But, it’s not the same.

“Have you considered fostering.”
No. I know my limitations and most of all my too easily smitten heart. One kid taken back would devastate me. Multiple instances like that would have me committed. Not to mention the wear and tear on my girls affections. Madeline especially, she was marked with a heart like her mom.

Then, there are the full-faithed that offer, “God could grow you another uterus, if He wanted to.” He could. But that’s a little extreme, not to mention miraculous… The kind of miracle that gets an article in the Enquirer. Not the kind of headlines I wanna make. Not me.

I recently read that grief has no rules. It doesn’t. It can hit me at anytime… Sometimes sucker punches me in the gut in the diaper aisle. Or when I hold a sweet smelling newborn in my arms. Or when I see a woman caress her stomach and send her gift an unspoken secret from the heart.

So I grieve. With many millions of women… In different extremes… But like me – barren nonetheless. It can’t be fixed, but I have come to accept it. Acceptance doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. I accept my condition, and I believe that God is good. I know He collects these tears, even if others might see them as selfish, and He assures me He will restore what I have lost… And I even have moments where I can see the blessing in the curse.

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