One of the hardest parts about giving birth is that you don’t know how long it’s going to go on for.
If someone could look into a crystal ball and say, “Okay. You are going to have 56 more really tough contractions, but then it will be over and your baby will be born,” it would be so much easier to wrap our minds around what needed to happen, steel ourselves for the challenge, and just do it.
But that crystal ball does not exist. When we’re in labor we theoretically know that it will end at some point and the baby will be born, but it’s really hard to believe it when we’re in the throws of this indefinite, painful process.
And that’s what makes motherhood so hard—it is relentless and filled with unknown.
Let me be clear—it’s worth it.
It’s not a question of it being worth it. OF COURSE it’s worth it. If you give us a choice between anything and our children, we will always choose our children. Always.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
We know every single day how incredibly fortunate we are to get be their mother, and to have the life that we have. But that doesn’t make it easy either.
We know it’s all worth it, but in those exhausting, bleary eyed moments, “worth it” is just too abstract to understand—because in that moment, it is just so hard.
Pulling an “all-nighter” is actually not that bad when you know that the next night you can get a good night’s sleep.
Remember during college finals, you knew it was going to be a really tough week, and you probably weren’t going to get much sleep? But it was manageable because you also knew that after that tough week, you were going to go home to your parents’ house and sleep in your childhood bed for five days straight, waking up only to go to the bathroom and eat the occasional Hot Pocket.
That rest never comes in motherhood—though there are still a lot of Hot Pockets, thank goodness.
Just when the baby (FINALLY) starts sleeping through the night, he gets a cold so he’s up again, and then he gets over the cold but his molars start to come in, and then you have to transition him to his big kid bed… and then his little sister is born and it starts all over again.
We start to really doubt that we will ever actually sleep again.
And we have this moment—the moment where we slump down onto the floor next to our (momentarily) sleeping child, wrap our arms around our legs, and cry.
Cry because we don’t know what else to do.
Cry because we are more exhausted than we ever thought possible.
Cry because we truly believe in our core we will always just be this tired.
And in that moment, we are more motherly than we have ever been.
Because in spite of not knowing how many more contractions we’re going to have, we keep going.
In spite of not knowing how many more sleepless nights (or years) are in front of us, we keep going.
In spite of so much challenge and unknown and relentlessness, we keep going.
If that isn’t worth it, I don’t know what is.
Staying up for a night takes caffeine.
Staying up for a week takes determination.
Staying up for the unknown takes a mom.