By Amanda Chacon
Hey there, mamas! I asked my sister-in-law, Amanda, to share her story with you all today about when motherhood isn’t what you expected. I hope you’ll hear her words and allow them to point you toward God.
I don’t really remember the first 24 hours of my daughter’s life. I don’t remember feeling anything when I saw her for the first time, I don’t remember nursing her for the first time (explains the bruising), changing her first diaper (probably because my husband did that one), and the list goes on.
You know what I do remember? Fighting like crazy to get her in the right position, screaming so much I lost my voice, not sleeping for 49 hours, finally pushing her out in 4 quick sets of contractions, then watching her turn blue from choking on amniotic fluid almost 24 hours later.
Okay, okay, you might say, all labors are difficult in their own ways. But what about the months following that?
I’ve always been a kid person. I loved babysitting, I worked in a daycare, I was a preschool teacher for a time. Playing with children came quite naturally to me. And when my first nephew Finn was born – oh boy, was I HEAD-OVER-HEELS. My bond with him only magnified my desire for one of my own. I never felt a strong pull to do anything in life BUT be a mom. I wanted as many kids as my husband and I could afford.
So, imagine my surprise when all of a sudden my prayers were answered and I felt… anxious, depressed, lonely, woeful, doubtful, insufficient, and overall just plain not good. My expectations were sky high, and with each passing day following her birth I felt myself falling thousands of feet from that height, seemingly without a parachute. I never thought my dream of being a mommy would feel like a disaster – physically and emotionally. Nothing came naturally despite all my “experience” and all my research and hours of getting advice from all my mommy friends.
If there’s one main lesson God has taught me so far from this experience is how truly selfish I am. I know we’re selfish people by nature… but I mean, I must have been in denial and am now realizing I am selfish to the core. The thoughts I was indulging sounded a bit like this:
“I can’t do anything on my own time anymore/where has this whole day gone?”
“Everything hurts, am I just a wimp? None of my friends mentioned feeling this terrible even after getting home from the hospital.”
“Does my husband (insert: friend, sister, family members) think less of me because I am having a hard time with this transition?”
“Will I ever feel strong, or even mildly fit, again in my life?”
“If I’m not good at being a mom, what good am I at all?”
Do you hear a reoccurring theme here? ME, ME, ME.
Of course, some of these thoughts are normal for first time moms (so I’ve been told), but I was dwelling on them instead of taking them captive and making them obedient to Christ. I loved throwing myself a good pity party.
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”John 12:24-25
This scripture was read to me after I cried and poured my heart out to my sisters-in-law (thank God for them). Tiffany brought me the right perspective at just the right time (bless her) that really helped me turn a corner and start to see things a little differently.
You see, I knew that when I made Jesus Lord 10 years ago, I was laying down my life and living for him. I was so happy to – thrilled to – no matter the cost, no matter how hard, because I fell in love with the Savior of my soul, my Provider and Protector, the keeper of my heart, my hopes, my dreams.
When I gave birth to my baby girl, I didn’t realize this was a new (and MUCH more painful) way that I was dying to myself. I needed to embrace dying to myself – sacrificing to God my expectations, my fears, my desires – and serve Him by serving my newborn (and my husband too!), no matter how exhausting, AND no matter how it didn’t look like what I thought it would. In all my self-doubt, sadness of unmet expectations, feeling sorry for myself, and all my self-focus, there was no room for God, or anyone else.
In all my self-doubt, sadness of unmet expectations, feeling sorry for myself, and all my self-focus, there was no room for God, or anyone else.
Jesus spoke to me through that verse and said, “My dear daughter, it was never about you – it’s about following me! And I will fulfill you and sustain you. I am what you need to feel full and whole.”
Ahhhh, Amen God.
I felt myself exhale and I finally let go of that breath I didn’t realize I was holding in. Jesus is my everything, and He was gently reminding me that nothing else would surpass that. Oh, how grateful I am for that reminder. What a relief to acknowledge it’s not about me. I will always fall short, that’s just the truth. I can always find something to be dissatisfied with OR I can choose to fix my eyes on Jesus. I can choose to remember my true calling and mission. I will let Him fill in the gaps, shout my weaknesses from the rooftops, because when I am weak – then I am strong (2 Cor 12:10).
I have since prayed and hung onto this scripture for continual repentance, comfort, and hope for the future:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”Romans 15:13
I love this because I NEED the Holy Spirit to change my attitude, and to give me hope that I won’t always feel lost or insufficient as a mother. And that even when I do feel lost and insufficient, God is not lost and He is sufficient. Either way, I want to be full of peace, and that requires trusting God, and not myself.
So, to any mamas who feel, or have felt this way, I hope you know you’re not alone. My prayer in sharing my experience here is for those mamas to feel comforted and reassured. What a blessing that we can strive to do our darn best to raise up another soul for Christ, who will love and live for Gods purpose, to bring light to this dark world! Whether it feels naturally easy or like the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Whether it was what you expected, or not at all. God is with you, every step.
Here are some practicals that helped me get through the toughest days:
- After spending time with God, write out things you’re grateful for. This always helped to change my attitude and put things into perspective.
- Talk about how you’re feeling with trusted friends. Be vulnerable. This helps you realize you’re not alone. Satan wants us to think we’re alone in our struggles and he wants to keep us in a rut for as long as possible.
- Get out of the house! Whether for a walk or going to a friend’s house, this helped me to move forward and not stay by myself in my own thoughts.
Thank you so much, Amanda, for sharing your experiences here with us. I pray that your story will help other mamas to feel that they are not alone in the struggle and that God is sufficient to carry us all through difficult times. If you’d like to connect with Amanda, you can follow her on Instagram.