One day last week, the thought crossed my mind that I have everything I’ve ever wanted. It was one of those laugh out loud kind of moments. I keep repeating it to myself and grinning. I realize that what I’m about to say is going to sound antiquated, or anti-feminist, or whatever; but it’s the truth. For my whole life, all I ever wanted was to be a mom. I knew from the time I was a little child that God put me on the Earth to be a mother in some form or fashion. No profession ever called out to me. No career path truly piqued my interest. I realized, of course, that I would have to be gainfully employed, since “Mom Wanted” is not likely to pop up in the classifieds, and if it did you’d probably be better off staying away from whoever was seeking to have that position filled. It took me a long time to figure out what career to pursue, since I knew it would always be second in my heart. Teaching made sense for me since it fit my nurturing instinct.
In my early adulthood, I knew that it was possible that I would be single through my childbearing years. It could have happened that I wouldn’t have met a man with whom I’d fall in love and start a family. Nonetheless, I knew I would be mom someday, even if it meant that I adopted a child as a single woman. When Noel and I fell in love, I knew with every fiber of my being that I was meant to have his children. Even though I knew my ability to conceive was highly questionable and that a pregnancy for me was uncharted territory for the most skilled specialists, the drive in me to become a mother was so strong that it was, at times, overwhelming.
Frankly, infertility treatment was way worse than I’d ever imagined it would be, from an emotional standpoint. I’d been through so many medical procedures and hospital stays that I hadn’t thought how different infertility treatment would be. To want to become a mom so badly then to pile on a crazy amount of hormones does not make for a pleasant time. Then when the first attempt is a failure, and the second attempt is a failure, the emotional toll is pretty high. Thankfully Noel was such a kind and sensitive partner. He never pushed to continue treatment and was far more in favor of adopting than I was. It was impossible to explain to him how badly I wanted it. I remember us standing in our kitchen, me crying, and holding up a baby picture of him. I pointed at it and said, “I want to see that baby.” He just held me close and told me that that child was in the past. He always wanted what was best for me, and when I wound up in the ICU just a week after I conceived Avery and Lily, I could see the agony in his face and the blame he put on himself. As doctors and nurses were whirling around me, trying to get a line in, trying to get a blood pressure reading, he was pushed in a corner and looked like his world was ending. I hollered out to him, “Hey! Hey! Remember I wanted this!” I saw then how my all-consuming desire to be a mother had the power to crush the person I loved dearest of all. I thank God for bringing me safely through and delivering us two healthy children; because, I would be responsible for the pain inflicted on my husband if the unthinkable had happened.
It’s easy to forget that pain when we have two 15 month olds to chase around the house. That thought entering my mind last week has kind of stopped me in my tracks. I truly have everything I ever wanted, a loving family to call my own. The hustle and bustle of life with twins doesn’t exactly allow time for lengthy introspection. However, the thought that followed was, “Now what?” Well, now we have two children to raise. I find myself saying things I never dreamed would come out of my mouth, such as: “Stop licking my arm,” “Take your finger out of your sisters mouth before she bites it off,” “Quit gagging yourself,” “You dumped those Cheerios out, so now eat them off the floor,” “Are you pooping?” But still the question comes back to my mind over and over again, “Now what?” I know my life’s purpose is inextricably bound to the nurturing of my children, but I’m beginning to feel like there’s more God has in store for me.
Last week, we attended my dad’s church where he taught the adult Bible lesson in the morning. Part of the text he taught on was:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
My initial reaction to this verse was, well, I’m constantly taking care of others and putting myself further down the list. Avery’s and Lily’s needs always come before mine. I’m constantly addressing the needs of our home and my husband. So check that one off the list, right? The more the lesson sank in, the more I felt like I didn’t have it right. Noel, Lily, Avery, and I are all one. Their interests are my interests; their needs are my needs. So along with the question of “Now what?,” I’m thinking there just might be some others out there who need some of my mothering. Whether they want it or not! Obviously God gave me so much maternal drive that it just can’t be contained to one family. So watch out, there’s a mom on the loose!