The Winding Road to Motherhood: True Stories from Real Mothers

One of my favorite things to do is to observe the beauty in which different women in my life mother their children. So often, we are focused on how different we all are as mothers, that we fail to notice the similarities of our loving hearts. In honor of Mother’s Day, a holiday filled with tiny hand prints, brunches, and hopefully naps I wanted to explore some of these similarities. Often our journeys to our first Mother’s Day look nothing like the visions we once held in our heads as little girls wielding dolls with our best friends. Sometimes it is a day filled with the empty space left by an absent or estranged mother, or the sting of desire for a child not yet our own. If you are on a path to motherhood that has a winding road, I hope you can take comfort in the stories that some dear friends have shared about their own journeys.

Hannah

Hannah’s Three Children

Tell me about your journey to motherhood.

I became a mother at 22. It wasn’t my plan. I wanted kids eventually, but first I planned to go to grad school and travel. I got married when I was 21, and 2 months later I was pregnant. I cried a lot. It seemed like my life was over, and I felt so overwhelmed and angry.  Honestly, that first year after my son was born was really, really hard. I cried often and struggled with not resenting my husband. It seemed like his life continued as he planned, and I had to give up everything for our baby. Eventually, I worked through my emotions and found my stride as a stay at home mom. I came to love being a mother.  Now, 6 years later, I wouldn’t go back and change anything. I had to grow up a lot, and it was painful growth. However, it was so worth it. We now have 3 children, and I can’t imagine life any other way!

Tell me a little bit about what being a mom means to you. Joys? Challenges?

My greatest joy is watching them play and laugh with their Daddy. It is the sweetest moment to hear shrieks and giggles and watch my whole world playing together. The biggest challenge for me is staying intentional and not just going through the motions and getting through the day. It’s hard to see the big picture when you are trying to survive. I think I’m so busy feeding and caring for my children that I miss opportunities to teach them.

What is something you want other moms to know about your journey?

I want other moms to know that my motherhood journey has been messy. It didn’t look like I dreamed it would, and that’s ok! It’s also taken me awhile to be able to say that! 

I love Hannah’s honesty here. Watching her with children now you’d never know that having three young children early on in marriage was not her game plan all along. After some struggles initially beginning our family, I anticipated the same situation when we wanted a second child. Well, not so much. Sometimes a quick pregnancy can be very emotionally overwhelming as well. My fears and anxiety hit a new level when my two under two motherhood journey began. I say this with a very empathetic heart for everyone waiting to be a mother. Just because someones path looks different than yours does not make their struggles less real. I think that is why the concept of “Mommy Wars” grates my soul so much. We are ALL battling something. Empathetic hearts should rule over all of motherhood.

Laura

Laura and Emma

Tell me about your journey to motherhood

My journey to motherhood was not the journey I envisioned. It took 5 years of infertility, 2 fresh rounds of IVF, 1 canceled FET (frozen embryo transfer), and 1 successful FET to get our sweet Emma. It was in the midst of that waiting when I learned of a very specific form of adoption. I’ll never forget discussing it with Keith and coming to the same conclusion together: genetics don’t matter.

I was so touched by Laura and Keith’s journey to Emma. I had honestly never before heard of embryo adoption. What a beautiful connection of two families to help another achieve the desires of their hearts.

Tell me a little bit about what being a mom means to you. Joys? Challenges?

E V E R Y T H I N G. It’s everything to me. I dreamed so vividly of it for so long that now that it’s here, it’s exactly as I envisioned. I FINALLY feel like my purpose in life has been fulfilled. Motherhood feels so natural to me, further confirming that I’m right where I was made to be. Every nighttime feed, every diaper change, every story I read, every milestone Emma meets. My heart has grown so much to fit all the love I have for Emma. If I have to pick ONE joy, I’d pick the feeling I get when Emma smiles and laughs while looking in my eyes. I only hope she feels and knows even an ounce of the love I have for her.

What is something you want other moms to know about your journey?

It’s an unrealistic wish, but I wish everyone knew that conceiving a baby is a miracle. It takes a great level of empathy to really, truly know what infertility is like for a woman. It’s the deepest, darkest, scariest, jealous-filled journey of waiting and waiting and waiting but it 1000000% has made me the mother I am today.

Laura has the most gentle spirit made so clear in her beautiful love for her family. Her sharing of her story in greater detail can be found on her Photography site’s blog Sunkissed & Free where she also features her gorgeous work.

Marci

Marci and her babies.

Tell me about your journey to motherhood.

  I knew I always wanted to be a mom, but I did not know how filled with heartache the journey would be. My road to motherhood was front loaded with punch after punch to my spirit, faith, and womb in the form of miscarriage. I lived through 4 miscarriages prior to the birth of my daughter. Thinking back to those memories, I’m still tearful, yet now overwhelmingly grateful because I would sign up to do it all again knowing what I know now – that sweet little girl was going to take my breath away and my patience as a mom was going to be bit thicker in her toddler years – because of my ‘practice of patience’ learned through infertility. I endured one more miscarriage prior to the birth of my darling baby boy and it stung in a completely different way, having since had a child. My faith was stronger and I trusted that His plan was always better than my plan, I was already living proof of that. 

Tell me a little bit about what being a mom means to you. Joys? Challenges?

  I absolutely adore my own mom, love her so much and truly couldn’t be a mom without her. I remember crying in one of my infertility counseling session “I want to be just like her,” when talking about my own mom and my dream of becoming a mom. 
    So being a mom means the world to me, because I hope I can be what my mom was to me, to my children. I want to be their unconditional love, never ending support, strongest shoulder for them. It means I’m the first person they look for in the morning, the last one they want a hug from before bed, and all the moments in between. We cry and laugh, get along great, and other times (possibly) walk away from each other muttering words of exhaustion, BUT I remember all those moments with my own mom and upon surrender and returning to her, she never blinked an eye – her arms and ears were open and she was there for me. I feel like my children are the continued legacy of my own mother, and I can’t thank her enough verbally, so I hope to do so by raising my children in a way that continues to share her kind heart and love.  

What is something you want other women to know about your journey?

There is no dead end, never give up. When one path seems to stop, there is always another option/way out/course to take. I so often felt like I had reached the end of the line and wanted to give up because I couldn’t loose another baby. However, the dream always burned stronger than the heartache, and that baby I longed for for years, was placed in my arms. I am so glad I never gave up.

Marci’s story has particular significance to me personally. At my first OB appointment during my first pregnancy, I learned that I had miscarried. I will never forget the immediate melting of emotions that happened in my heart. I can still feel that feeling on certain days. I remember the exact look on my husband’s face as he slowly shook his head taking in the doctor’s words that I could not understand for the loud buzzing in my ears. I remember going to work to care for critically ill children in the pediatric ICU having to wait a week for my D/C procedure. Feeling like everyone around me could tell that my baby was dead even though, I hadn’t told anyone.

Still struggling with my grief, on Mother’s Day of that year, Marci posted an article about how difficult the holiday could be when all you wanted was a baby. I reached out to her that night. Her sharing of her story helped me begin to heal. I have the benefit of being able to look back on my story now and know had that pregnancy gone to term, I wouldn’t have had my darling son. Most stories don’t wrap up in a bow like that, so I know I am fortunate. I also know that casting light on struggles can make each of us feel less alone. For casting that light, Marci, I will be forever grateful to you.

I hope whatever twists and turns your road to motherhood has taken or is taking you will find strength from these courageous women. I know that I always find joy in hearing the grace of others journeys, especially those hard fought with emotion. I am so grateful to Hannah, Laura, and Marci for their friendships and their willingness to share with me and with all of you. I hope if you are struggling that you feel less alone.

6 thoughts on “The Winding Road to Motherhood: True Stories from Real Mothers

  1. I loved reading this and each persons journey to motherhood. It brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for sharing their stories (and your own).

  2. This is such a beautiful article. It’s always amazing to read these kinds of stories because it truly does make you step back and realize how much of a miracle our children are, and that the road to motherhood is never the same for anyone.

  3. How beautiful?! Thank you for sharing these stories. Motherhood is truly a gift and comes to us in all different ways! I truly enjoyed reading such honest and transparent stories!

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