Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Joypain of Motherhood

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(Original pic from

Every Mother's Day I like to escape for a little bit, even if it's just for a couple of hours. It's a time of reflection for me. I think about my role as a mom. For my kids it's a time to secretly do a special chore or "help" Daddy prepare a fancy meal. Works out well for all of us.

I thought it was so ironic, though, that my daughter began throwing up this particular Mother's Day evening, (which turned into an all night event) because during my time away, I'd been pondering the pain of mothering.

As I changed my daughter's sheets, cleaned her face, and gathered stuffed animals and pillows that had been "hit," I thought to myself, "Yep, this is exactly what mothering is all about." (And just so you know, picking out steak chunks before throwing everything in the wash is NO fun!!!)

I called it "joypain" for a reason. In mothering the two - pain and joy - just can't be separated. From the very start, there's joypain. Joy for the tiny miracle growing inside. . . and pain from the very same miracle. How many new mommies-to-be can relate to the pain of pregnancy? Extreme exhaustion, nausea and vomiting, backaches, and every other kind of ache?

Then there's joy unspeakable when you first lay eyes on your precious newborn but only after hours of severe, excruciating labor. (At least it was horribly painful for me--I don't know what it is like to have an epidural or anything like that.) And during my first delivery, I almost didn't live to tell about it. Pain and joy.

There is nothing more wonderful than having and caring for a newborn, but my first experience at this proved quite the ordeal. I was in a huge amount of pain from surgery, I wasn't sleeping well, and oh my word, I had NO idea how painful and difficult nursing was going to be!!! I think I cried just as much as my sweet, little baby boy did. Pain and joy.

Toddlers are so amazingly special. First words, first steps . . . all those moments that bring unfathomable joy. But those toddler days can be especially draining! Again, I think I cried my share of stress tears during the "I-have-3-young-kids" days. The incessant whining, fits, and never ending chores just plain wore me out! Plus, my third didn't sleep through the night until she was almost 2. Needless to say I was bedraggled! Pain and joy.

It's not just physical pain either. It's emotional. I never knew the anxiety I'd feel over protecting them from harm. I never knew that it would really hurt-me-more-than-it-would-hurt-them when I had to discipline. I never knew how much it would hurt to see them sad. I never knew how my heart would ache when they were too old for cuddles and goodnight songs. I am still struggling with the fact that as they get older, they no longer think I am the best thing ever. Pain and joy.

Cutting apron strings truly hurts.

How in the world can so much joy stand alongside so much pain?

I think it might be love.

I love my kids beyond words. Pain is a mere shadow in light of love. The pain's not going anywhere, so I might as well learn to live with it. Love and Joy will keep me from suffocating under the weight of pain.

My three beautiful children who bring joy unspeakable. I love you, and I love being your mom through the joy and pain.

(Took me a while to finish this post since I actually ending up spending an entire week changing sheets and washing endless amounts of towels and blankets. And after all that, I got sick. Whew! But like I said, that's what mothering is all about.)

Us now. Six years later. Wow.

Blessings on your own journey of motherhood and all the joys and pains it brings.

Linked to Mommy Moments, Mommy Monday Blog Hop, Making Your Home Sing Monday, Teaching What is Good

1 comment:

The Lenzers said...

loved reading your thoughts on motherhood. i think you certainly wrote all the things i feel as well. And I must say, what a lovely picture of you and your babies. I hope you have that framed somewhere for you to enjoy every day. Hope everyone is feeling better....there is nothing worse than picking the food chunks before washing!


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