Motherhood will always be one of the greatest joys in my life, because I pray that it will continue to offer a fullness far beyond the moment my children are officially grown. But it is not the only joy in my life nor is it the only vocation God has called me to.
And how has this affected my daughter? I was boy-crazy girl who wanted a boyfriend from a ridiculously young age. I wanted to feel beautiful and loved and the fact that I didn’t have a real boyfriend until right after graduating from high school was a point of devastating disappointment for me. My 10-year-old talks about wanting to someday get married, has good friends who are boys, and we’ve started to see glimmers of crushes bubbling under the surface, but it isn’t her main goal. She wants to travel, she wants to be a vet, and then she wants to someday get married and have a lot of kids.
I am more to my Creator than a wife and a mother. That is not all He sees when He looks at me and, no matter how important and significant those roles are, I don’t believe that is all that He has made me to be. I believe that women need to do what is best for their families and only they can know what that is. In the end, I know that I am being the woman and mother that my Creator made me to be, and that is what brings me peace.
No matter the stage, being a parent is still work. Each phase just brings a different kind of work and with each phase of parenthood we have tried to embrace how our roles have changed.
I’m far from wise and I’m sure your kids are not like mine. But maybe if we combine all of the lessons that all of us have learned over the years, we won’t have to worry about being handed another parenting book by some well-meaning soul, and that’s something I can live with.
Now I openly share because I want my daughter to understand just how much she was wanted and that while there are no guarantees in life, I will be there for her regardless of where motherhood takes her. I don’t forget that I was one of the lucky ones who finally had her prayers answered without extreme measures. Living in heartbreaking silence is a lonely, embarrassing space, but it shouldn’t have to be. It isn’t our status as mothers that gives us value as women; our very existence is valuable because we are children of God and as such, we have more to offer the world than expansion of the population. And while that is a difficult thing for the brokenhearted to accept, that is the message women need to hear.