For Mother's Day last year, while Evie was about the size of an eggplant inside my stretched tight stomach, my husband gave me a ring with one, simply crafted heart right in the middle of it. It was meant to represent my growing love for the baby growing inside of me.
A symbol of my making more space in my own heart for this little one we didn't yet know but couldn't wait to meet.
I expected to have more love to give when my daughter finally came into the world. I was counting on that warm bubbly feeling to spread out to her every time she giggled or made a goofy face or learned something new. What I didn't expect was for motherhood to give me more of other things, too. But it has, and it does every day in ways both beautiful and exasperating.
I have more anxiety. If Evie happens to sleep in one morning, and I wake up before her (this doesn't happen very often), one of my firsts thoughts is that she has somehow died in the night. So instead of fully enjoying a rare morning filled with more sleep, I remain awake, wondering why she isn't.
Motherhood has made me even more of a hot mess than I already was. I was never really big on primping before, but if I want to now, I have some things to seriously think about. For one, will I get poop on it? For two, will I flash anyone if I bend down or stoop or fold over in some sort of way (because it is guaranteed that I will be needing to do at least one of these at some point)? For three, my hair is still growing back after losing a TON after pregnancy. Still. Somehow the hair on the sides of my head couldn't get with the program and decided recently it was time to regrow. So now I have these awesome wings desperately wanting to spread themselves and fly me away whenever I put my hair up.
So usually my attitude is, Oh, forget it. Ain't. Nobody. Got. Time. For. That.
Life is more complicated, which I feel that I've demonstrated with the above points. In case I wasn't successful, I have three more words to add: Leaving the house.
Chaos. Definitely have more of that.
Some of the more that I've gained has made me feel like less. But just when I might have thought I only have more to discourage me, I notice I have just a little bit more strength than I did before.
I have been able to do things I wasn't sure I could handle. I have been in labor and have worked with every ounce I had in me to bring a life into the world. And I know now that I can do it. The first two months of Evie's life were a couple of the hardest months I have ever lived through. But I know now I had it in me to get through it. And my arms can carry a baby in a car seat a lot farther than I ever thought they could.
I find more empathy welling up inside me as my heart breaks for suffering children because I think of how I would feel if it was my child. It's a raw, deep down to the bottom kind of hurt that I had not known before, and it makes we want to stretch my arms out wide and help.
I notice more courage as I share my thoughts and hopes and ideas with new friends and with old ones. Something about being a mom makes me say things without hesitation that I may have thought twice about saying out loud before.
And I have discovered a deeper joy as I learn to seek it in the simple and to allow myself to be thankful for this life I have been given, even when plans go awry and paths take different turns.
It's easy for me to think sometimes that motherhood has given me my identity, but I would be wrong. I think whenever we look to a particular circumstance or title to define us, we have gotten it totally wrong. Instead, it's God who has used motherhood to draw out more of who I am, both weaknesses and strengths alike. All the while, He is the one who is providing me with more. More to grow in and more grace to lean on.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:19
Before I became a mom, I worried if I would be enough. As it turns out, I've learned He is constantly making me more in so many ways I never even imagined.