Sudden, Startling Joy

It has been a hot minute since I shared anything in this space. Admittedly, I expected the silence in this corner of the internet - caring for a newborn and becoming a mother myself have been full-time jobs that leave very little space for blogging. I started writing this post with the intention of updating all you readers (all 4 of you ;)) but so much in my life has changed in the past few months that to try to sum it all up in one piece of writing would be absurd. 

There is one piece of this story that has been sticking to my side like a bur, a piece that now feels almost too vulnerable to share. I was not excited to become a mother; in fact, I was dreading it with nearly everything in me. The nine months leading up to Abbie’s birth were some very difficult months for me. When I saw two blue lines on a pregnancy test, I honestly wept. Not tears of joy or celebration, but sad, mournful tears. The prayer I prayed most often over my pregnancy was that the Lord would somehow create in me the desire for the baby growing inside my belly because I felt so numb and afraid. 

I was never the girl who dreamed about being a mom. Before Abigail, I had approximately zero experience with babies and children. I had no idea how to change a diaper, soothe a crying baby, or do any of the things mothers do. I’m not sure there was ever a moment during my pregnancy when I felt joy about becoming a mother. And yet, as cliche as it sounds, the moment she was born was one of the most holy, sacred, and JOY-filled moments of my life. It was as if in a crashing wave the Lord answered “YES” to every prayer I had prayed throughout my pregnancy about creating desire in my heart. 

There have been many times throughout the past four months I’ve wondered shouldn’t this be harder? Shouldn’t I be more tired, more sad, more overwhelmed? Shouldn’t I be mournful for the parts of me that have changed and morphed and been lost? I expected motherhood to press against me on all sides like life has pressed against me for the past two years, and yet it hasn’t. I expected the weight of caring for another person to feel heavy and awkward and smothering, and yet it feels light and not burdensome at all. 

I expected a version of motherhood that is nothing like what I am experiencing. I expected that motherhood would be difficult, joyless, wrought with the little, painful deaths of my own desires. But instead of crushing, burdensome weight, my daughter has been, in the words of Madeleine L’Engle, a “sudden, startling joy.” 

I don’t know if there’s any deep spiritual lesson to glean from this, and I honestly don’t know if that’s even my job to try to find one and pin it down like a moth on a piece of glass. What I do know is that the rhythm of naps and nursing and diaper changes has become familiar and comfortable to me. I know that I desperately want to slow down time to soak in these moments filled with the most happiness I’ve felt in a long time. I know that the Lord is in these moments, and I’d like to think he gets excited seeing me experience all these blessings he is showering on me in the same way I get excited when Abbie looks up at me with her big blue eyes and smiles. Sudden, startling joy.