Motherhood: My Story
Updated: May 16, 2020
I became a mom on May 4, 2019 at the age of 25, and I'm now 26 with a one-year-old. Leading up to my son's birth, I had a healthy, normal pregnancy. During labor, I experienced a rare complication called placental abruption, which happens in less than 1% of pregnancies. Placental abruption is when the placenta, which supplies the oxygen and blood to the baby, starts to detach before baby comes out. The abruption became severe when I was about eight centimeters dilated in active labor, and Ezekiel’s heart rate began dropping rapidly, so we were rushed in for emergency surgery.
I've developed a deep appreciation for mothers stretching back for generations who have weathered the suffering, sacrifice, and grit that it takes to bring human life into the world and continue to nourish that life.
Tell us a brief version of your journey to becoming a mom. What were some of the hardest times? What were some of the most joy-filled moments?
My journey to becoming a mom was mostly a positive experience. I felt honored to be a part of God’s process of forming life. It was such an intimate experience for me to have my baby grow in my own body.
The hardest time was his birth and the weeks following his birth. The event itself was scary and traumatic because neither my husband or I knew if Ezekiel and I were going to make it. I lost a lot of blood from the abruption, so I was very weak and lightheaded. I also had to be put under anesthesia for the surgery since I didn’t have an epidural during labor. They did the surgery in 3-5 minutes and pulled him out just in time before any complications occurred. By the grace of God and diligence of medical professionals, both Ezekiel and I turned out healthy and well. I learned later that when placental abruption occurs, there’s a 15% chance of the baby dying and 40-50% chance of long-term health complications. Our son was on the other side of those statistics, and I also didn’t suffer any further complications. Praise God! Even though I was so thankful for our survival and health, the next few weeks were so challenging. I was learning to breastfeed, taking care of a newborn, sleeping very little, recovering from a major surgery, and taking pain medication. I could barely walk the first week and couldn’t get up from a lying down position on my own. Needless to say, it was really rough and if I didn’t have my husband and mother-in-law to help take care of me and Zeke, I don’t know what I would’ve done.
What were some of the ways you processed and grieved those hard times?
Initially, I didn’t have much time to process and grieve because I was sleep deprived and focused on recovering and taking care of my son. But even in the first weeks, I took time to type things out in my phone—reflections on my experiences and writing to sort through what actually happened. I tried to write his birth story for many months. I kept coming back to it but only found myself able to write sections of it. Each time I went to write parts down, I had to relive the pain, intensity, and sadness from those moments, so I found it difficult to keep entering into that. I eventually wrote out the whole story in his baby book when he was around 4 months old, and left it alone for a while. At the time I’m writing this, my son is a few days from turning a year old and I’ve just recently come back to write a more complete version of his birth story. I feel that I have the capacities now to write it out and enter into that space even though it still hurts. Outside of writing, I’ve spent time talking with my husband about it, who also needed to process the experience because he saw the whole thing unfold. I’ll never forget the way my husband looked at me and the tremble in his voice before they rushed me into the surgery room. “We’re going to be okay,” he said, and I could tell that he was worried that he was going to lose us. Other than talking about it with my husband who also went through the experience, I’ve shared parts of my story with a few trusted people, but I honestly haven’t talked to too many people about it.
What was your experience of meeting your child like?
The best word I could use to capture these moments would be “hazy.” I remember a few things in focus—my husband and mother-in-law’s face, the nurse feeding me ice chips, and someone handing me my son. Everything else was a literal blur. I woke up from the anesthesia about 45 minutes after the surgery. I was full of morphine and barely conscious when they handed me my son. I probably said something like “I can’t believe he’s here,” but I don’t remember exactly because I still felt so out of it. In my weak, barely-conscious state, I was mostly focused on not dropping my newborn son.
I need to know in the dirty-diaper-changing, everyday hard work of being a mom that God is with me and He has me.
What did you think motherhood would look like before you became a mom? What were you surprised by?
Mentally, I felt like I was ready because I did a lot of preparation and research. I also thought I’d be a natural at motherhood because I already felt so much love for my son before he was even born. But the reality of it, especially after having an emergency c-section, was much more challenging than I anticipated. The hardest part for me was learning to breastfeed. I was surprised how much time it took for me to feel like we had breastfeeding down (about 2.5 months). Like other aspects of motherhood, I expected breastfeeding to be natural, but it is definitely a multi-faceted skill that comes with a steep learning curve.
What have you learned about yourself through motherhood?
I’ve learned, in a negative sense, that I take pride in being able to balance and handle all the things. I’m a stay-at-home mom, full-time graduate student, small-business owner, semi-regular writer, and small group leader. I often try to handle it all in my own strength, and it really wears me down. I have a hard time reaching out and accepting help—even from my own husband—and giving my burdens to God.
In a more positive light, I’ve seen a new level of maturity and my ability to think about someone else’s needs above my own. I’ve learned that the daily work of motherhood is so much about sacrifice and hard work. Through God giving me strength, I've seen myself exceed what I felt like were my limits and grow my resiliency far beyond what it's ever been. I've developed a deep appreciation for mothers stretching back for generations who have weathered the suffering, sacrifice, and grit that it takes to bring human life into the world and continue to nourish that life. When I was in labor and in the postpartum recovery season, one of the things that kept me going was remembering the many women, including my own mom and many other moms I know, that have come before me and made it out on the other side. If God was faithful to bring them through it, I thought, then God will be faithful to bring me through it.
Share with us the biggest ways God has worked in your heart and shown himself to you through this journey of motherhood.
I’ve had countless moments where I had no choice but to depend on others and rely on God’s strength, especially in those first few weeks when I was sleep deprived and often immobile. I am learning to rely on God as my strength and to seek and accept the help of others when I need it (and even to recognize in the first place that I need it). By his grace, He has given me the resiliency to push through on the overwhelming days.
God has also shown me his daily faithfulness. Every day, I need him. I don't mean that in an abstract, spiritualized sort of way. I mean that every day, I need him to sustain my strength—to help me finish a paper during nap time, to give me patience when Ezekiel whines about wanting more cheerios, to keep me going when I haven't gotten enough sleep, and more than anything, to remind me that it is well with my soul. I need to know in the dirty-diaper-changing, everyday hard work of being a mom that God is with me and He has me. Some days, I don't bother to recognize that He's right there with me. But every day, God's been gracious to provide what I need. I'm so grateful for His ever-reaching presence as I continue to walk by faith in this chaotic, beautiful journey of motherhood.
Thank you for reading this story of my motherhood journey. I hope, as we continue the series, your life will be enriched by the stories other moms share.
If you missed the intro to this series, follow this link to learn more about my heart behind collecting these stories of Motherhood.