At Home, East Arlington, Massachusetts
I rediscovered the Broadway soundtrack of Jane Eyre last night while cooking dinner and for some inexplicable reason, it made me want to have a baby more than anything else has since I got married. I was listening to the music and so many memories came flooding back into my head. Memories of college, memories of friendships, memories of excitement about life, memories about the hopes and dreams my sophomore self had. But also just memories of peace in uncertainty and of the Lord ministering to my soul through the music. There is so much joy and longing bound up in that music for me, and somehow that translated into wanting a baby. It was one of the first times I've been able to say, "I don't know how it's all going to work out. I don't know how to schedule and plan everything. But that doesn't matter." It's kind of thrilling.
At Home, East Arlington, Massachusetts
I turned thirty years old last August and the reality of trying to become a mother is lurking. I find it almost overwhelming to contemplate trying to become a mother. I don't think the task has ever not seemed daunting to women. But I also feel like it’s particularly overwhelming today and to me. Almost every single aspect of it seems overwhelming.
Trying to get pregnant in my 30s sounds impossible and I feel like all I hear are scare tactics about trying to do so. Every woman seems to raise her eyebrows and look at me with judgment because I've not tried to conceive and birth a child before my 30th year of life. Very few of them have actually verbally judged me. But I hear their condemnation in their silence and I see it in their surprise. They are suspicious of me. Even those who don't react this way, who scoff at the idea of judging a woman for not starting to try to have children until her 30s, even they scare me. All they talk about is how hard it is to get pregnant. And their souls seem overwhelmed.
The truth is, I know very few women who I see experiencing real joy in motherhood. Most of the young mothers I know are either totally overwhelmed with motherhood, or they see it as their salvation. And seeing motherhood as salvific does not produce true joy, but rather a terrifying obsession with motherhood. I want so much to avoid falling into one of these camps or the other. Lord, please help me.
At Home, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Two years ago I realized I was living in fear and anxiety. I was thirty years old and terrified of having kids. I knew for certain that I did want to have had them in my lifetime; but thinking about getting pregnant gave me feelings of sheer panic.
It was hard for me to articulate my feelings. There were too many of them to "get out" in a single conversation, in a single prayer. So I started writing. This was a personal project. A spiritual project. A difficult project. But one that has brought me to where I am today.
In less than one hundred days I am due to give birth to my first child, a daughter. I can feel her move every day and her punches, kicks, and stretches give me great and deep joy. These days, she and her future weigh more and more on my mind as I write. I hope that one day when she too feels the anxiety of lurking motherhood, she will know that she is not odd for having such fears. They were shared with her by her own mother.
Recently, I let my husband read through this entire journal. One of his comments was that if he did not know me as well as he does, he isn't sure he would be believe me when I recently wrote that I feel less anxious after two years of writing than I did at the beginning of the project. Sigh. The reality is that this project has not made me more holy. In more ways than I like to admit I am still the same person I was when I started writing. But through this project, I can say that I have seen Jesus more than I did two years ago. And isn't that how sanctification so often looks? Our particular brokenness continues to reverberate throughout the years of our lives, but our vision of Jesus grows clearer and stronger.
This project is not yet complete. In a literal sense, I have not stopped writing it. I'll be posting entries here daily, but the final entry hasn't yet been written. That one (Lord willing) will happen when I've welcomed our little girl into the world. But in another sense, this project will be ongoing for many, many years to come. The project of seeking to see and identify my brokenness concerning motherhood will be decades long. God's project of redeeming what lies within my heart will perhaps continue even longer.
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12
About the Project
This is a very personal project. It tracks my growth and development as I journeyed toward motherhood over the recent years. It doesn't document every experience I had, and probably neglects my more joyful and peaceful moments in the frenzy of trying to communicate my fears, anxieties, and doubts. If you are a friend or loved one, please do not let anything you read here overshadow what you know of me personally. If you are a stranger, please remember that a living and flawed person stands behind these words. To all my guests here, please understand these are not political statements and try to extend me grace, even as I share my failures and foibles - I have repented of much of what I share. I don't share this journal as an exemplar, but rather out of the desire to share my hope that entrance to motherhood does not need to be a fearful thing - despite the very real fears I have fought against. Motherhood is simply a part of life and one through which I am discovering more of myself and my God.