Life is a gift not to be firmly grasped but accepted with open arms.
It is always difficult and painful to let go of the control you thought you had on life.
When my husband and I got pregnant unexpectedly (and unclearly—we still say it was a miraculous conception!), we had two choices: to hard-heartedly refuse to believe it, or to accept a new direction for our lives.
In hindsight it taught us a lot about ourselves and made for great growth in our marriage, our relationship and our identities.
But at first I resented everything. I really couldn’t believe that life had changed so drastically. I thought I would wake up from a dream. I had no idea how all of it would work! Motherhood was not a role I ever expected to fulfill at all. I was suddenly facing a crisis of identity. I was often conflicted and uncertain of who I really was, how I would handle my new role, and what the future would bring.
Then one day as I sat there, I thought how this tiny person inside me was actually “half” my husband. How could I not love her? And knowing she was “half” me helped me to love even myself.
In the end, I broke and let go of everything that I thought I knew and started all over. The uncertainty of it all drove me to learn and accept new truths and experience changes to how I viewed myself, my friends, my family and mothers in general.
Since I had absolutely no experience in mothering, my new role challenged me to discover more about my body and its abilities, the different practices and approaches to baby care that worked best for our family, and the importance of a familial relationship. While my abilities as a woman, wife and mother have progressed, even today I’m still unsure of so many things.
But I’ve learned to live in the tension of not knowing and yet believing in something bigger than myself. Sometimes I can embrace this aspect, knowing that motherhood was thrown my way and I’ve learned and grown into it reasonably well. Other times—quite often actually—I’m still not crazy about this idea. How did this all happen? Where am I going? How can I continue?
I suppose that is the beauty of motherhood: There can be no book written that states how life is supposed to be. Rather, we are granted many opportunities to start anew, to forgive and forget, to learn and grow with and from our children.
Today, looking back, I think fondly of my baby in the womb. I think about how if I had known that baby was my daughter as I know her today it would have been so much easier. And so this remembering heals the past and makes the uncertainties of the future into beautiful mysteries. It’s a humble reminder that life is a gift not to be firmly grasped but accepted with open arms.