At Home, Arlington, Massachusetts
I've been thinking a lot about how scary it is for me to think about giving up work to be a mother. I know that all mothers don't stop working, but most at least significantly alter their working life. At the minimum, I believe that as a mother, I would need to hold all of my work very loosely, willing to give it up if necessary for the good of my family. I think the recognition that having children could very well end my work identity is part of what scares me about having children.
The truth is, I am not the same person I was ten years ago. I once saw marriage and children as an escape, as a creative outlet for a life that I wasn't happy with. Everything in my life professionally made me afraid. Everything. The idea of pursuing something, sacrificing for something, and loving it, could never have entered my mind. I wanted many of the same things I want now concerning family life, but I wanted them for the wrong reasons - for meaning and fulfillment, for justification of my existence.
But I remember the time in life when all of that truly changed. I was 25 years old, living overseas, had experienced heartbreak, and had not a single romantic prospect. It was the most single time of my life. I was single and more than any other time in my life, I knew that singleness was truly what the Lord had called me to that year. And I was deeply and richly fulfilled. I loved my life and for the first time ever, I understood what joy in work was. I found work pleasant and meaningful. It was hard, but it was fascinating and I simply enjoyed it like I had never enjoyed it before.
Since that time, work is something I value. It's something that I like. I like my work. I don't need to run away from it into the fulfillment of a family. I don't need children and pregnancy to feel fulfilled. I am content and joyful now. This doesn't mean that I don't want a family, but it does mean that I don't feel the need to be a mother in order to find something that I enjoy doing. Once I did need that, now I don't.
The truth is that people do change and it's not always a bad thing. Of course I want children and a family, but just because that desire has been complicated by the discovery of my identity professionally, it does not mean that the changes in my life are for the worst. No one is stagnant – God is constantly giving us new experiences and new things to ponder and discover. I found out that I actually enjoy work and can find it quite fulfilling. Just because other women don't have this experience, just because it complicates my life, just because it changes things about who I am, these do not make me a bad person. People change. That's not always a bad thing.
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.