Five years ago, I didn’t think I would be able to have children. We had just had our third miscarriage, which was two months after our son had been stillborn in June. Yet, there I was, was pregnant again. It was baby number five for us and I lived in fear every day that we would lose this one too.
We were looking into adoption at this time, which also seemed so hopeless – so out of my control. I believed I would miss the whole motherhood experience and have to make peace with never having a child. My body had failed me time and time again and I was certain that it just wasn’t “meant to be.”
But, this baby was a fighter. She proved me wrong. She made it and became my rainbow. She made me thankful for the opportunity to mother – even on the bad days. She made me thankful to live and showed me that before being a mother, I was really only half living.
As this week of thankfulness kicks off, I’m thankful for many things now that I am a mother, including some that might not seem apparent.
Be Thankful You Are A Mom
1. I’m thankful for my body.
It worked. Eventually, after a lot of science combined with a lot of prayer, my body worked and created a life. It will probably never be the same again, but I look at my daughter and now my son and I tell myself that’s okay. I don’t have to be some 22-year-old version of myself because my smooshy, 30-something body can create miracles.
2. I’m thankful for my arms.
They have been able to cradle my babies to sleep, hold them while they are sick and pick them up when they are sad. One day, they won’t need me to do these things anymore and my arms will be empty more often than they are full. So, even on the days where I have had someone hanging on me for hours on end and I just need a break, I try to remind myself that my arms are home to them.
3. I’m thankful for my lungs.
There are many, many days where I have to take a deep breath, try again and remember that parenting is rarely easy. If it were easy, there would be a lot of therapists out of business. Taking a deep breath is sometimes all I can do as I listen to one of them pulling a tantrum because I said no.
4. I’m thankful for my voice.
It’s amazing to me that in the middle of the night, sometimes just the sound of my voice can soothe my children. It makes them feel loved, it makes them feel safe and helps them relax enough to fall back to sleep.
5. I am thankful for sleepless nights.
Yes, you read that right. After my son was stillborn, someone at work said to me, “Well at least you get to sleep.” I was livid. The truth was, I was not sleeping well and I had no reason for it, no babies at home. Today, I have a reason for getting very, little sleep and I love those two reasons desperately. One day I will get to sleep again. Until that day, I am also thankful for coffee.
6. I’m thankful for my mom.
Before becoming a parent, you just don’t get it. You don’t get the love. You don’t get the passion and you don’t get the worry. Knowing that my mom went through all this before me, and how underappreciated she was in doing so, makes me love her more. Being a mom is really a thankless job, but at the same time must be the most fulfilling one.
7. I’m thankful for my husband.
I don’t tell him this enough. In fact, I have to often remind myself and try to say thank you to him – even if it is just for something little. It’s amazing how quickly life goes by and sometimes, a lot of the time, I feel like he and I are just going through the motions. We just need to get the kids off to school, so we can get to work or get on a conference call. Then we just need to get the kids fed or bathed before someone starts melting down and they need to go to bed. Honestly, he and I are both wiped. We are both doing our best. Sometimes out best means the house is a disaster and little projects don’t get done on my timeframe. But, I’m lucky to have a partner to parent with.
8. I am thankful for my losses.
This one is the hardest to be thankful for. Even as I write it tears well up in my eyes and I know that I would rather have all the little babies that were once hearts beating inside of me. However, if I had them, I certainly wouldn’t have my children now. While you can’t trade one for the other, I am thankful for the fact that I do have these exact, two children. I am very aware of the fact that they would not exist if the babies I lost were with me now.
Some of these may be unconventional “things” to be thankful for, but you can always be thankful for the “things” right in front of your face. It’s often the things we take for granted that are the most difficult to be thankful for because we just expect to get them or for them to be there.
I’ve learned that nothing in life is ever expected or for sure, including the opportunity to be a mother. Even though it is difficult and even though it can be so frustrating, being a mother is a luxury in life. It’s a luxury that some people never get, even though that want it so desperately. Today and every day, I am thankful for the experience of motherhood, the ability to mother someone and the unconditional love that is born the second you know you are responsible for another life.
For more motherhood experiences, click here.