Chances are, if you are a parent (I’ll say especially a mom, but I’m sure there are dads out there feeling this way too), you have felt like you are drowning in a sea of failure, guilt, and worry (all while pasting a happy smile on your face because, after all, a good mom must “enjoy every moment!”).
Having a baby changes everything. You know this, but until it actually happens, the magnitude of this event cannot be understood. Empathy is inadequate–experience is the only teacher in this case.
Somewhere between the round-the-clock nursing and dirty diapers, you will lose yourself. You will know you used to be fun; you will remember you used to have some knowledge of current events and pop culture (aside from which Mouse-ka-tool will be help save Pluto from the giant bubble in the sky). You will even reminisce about the nights when 9pm was the signal to start getting ready for date night rather than than wake up after falling asleep on the couch during whatever might have come on the T.V. (were we really just watching ABC Family for that long?)
But the worst part will be the loneliness you feel. The isolation. And it will be magnified if you are among the first of your group to have a baby. It will feel like no one sees you–they will walk in your house and immediately focus on the baby. They will call your house and ask how the baby is doing. Your husband will come home from work and wonder why you are so tired (after all, you’ve just been home playing all day).
Please don’t misunderstand me–this is not bitterness. This is reality. The emotional toll motherhood takes on women is very real. I’m not even touching on the additional impact of postpartum depression experienced by many women. This is just the everyday wear and tear on the souls of mothers. I want you to know you are not alone in your journey. And so does Becky Thompson.
In her book, Hope Unfolding, she reaches out to mothers as a friend to console them, to encourage them, to share God’s love with them and provide them with hope.
This book came to me at the perfect time (funny how God works, sometimes)–my third baby is a few months old and my family is still transitioning into our new roles. Every day life is mind-numbingly hard–with the same problems popping up daily with slight variations. (I retyped that about 10 times, deleting it out of worry you will judge me for not being grateful for the ability to be home with my children). I love my children, but most days, I feel overwhelmed and under-appreciated. From the minute I wake up (or rather, get woken up by crying or someone running in to jump on my bed) to the minute I fall asleep (usually accidentally on the couch), someone needs something from me. More juice, help with a button, playing with toys, another snack. Even my husband needs (and deserves) my love and attention. I selected this book desperate for answers of how to be better, how to have more grace with my children. Reading this was the sweetest medicine, showing me I’m NOT the only one on this crazy train of motherhood. It seemed like every page could have been written about MY life:
Maybe you woke up ready for today to be different. Happy attitudes, extra patience, and NO YELLING! And maybe by 8:15a.m. you realized it was going to be another day of cranky babies, demanding toddlers, and guilt from losing your temper when you could have a just taken a deep breath and repeated your request to your five year old…for the hundredth time.
I couldn’t put this book down (except, you know, when I fell asleep reading it). From the first page, it is obvious that Becky Thompson knows her audience intimately from her own experiences and wishes to encourage them, rather than shame them, to overcome the sheer exhaustion that comes with being a mother. Never once is she condescending or judgmental as she discusses the very raw and real experience of becoming a momma. Her writing is like a tender letter from a concerned friend, offering personal insights and confessions. Her humorous anecdotes were not only easy to relate to, but tugged at the heartstrings more than once. I can’t even remember the last book I read that made me feel so many emotions–I laughed, I cried, I felt inspired and renewed.
Hope Unfolding spoke to me in so many ways. Go pick up this book, now. Seriously. It will change your life. You are not alone or invisible. Today is not where we will be tomorrow, mommas. Our babies will grow. Our circumstances will change. We will learn and grow and change our ways a thousand times over, trying to be the best momma we can be. But luckily, we don’t have to go at it alone. God will help us find the grace to succeed in our journey with the life he has planned out for us.