Measuring a Mother

While sitting in the pediatrician's waiting room for over an hour with my two little ones,  I had run out of  entertaining antics for my 3 year old and he'd eaten every snack stashed my purse and diaper bag. As he played on his Leapster, I looked over at our little newborn sleeping away. I couldn't help but feel a little anxiety well up inside me knowing that our window of contentment was shortening as the little one would be waking up very hungry soon. To pass the time I began to scan the very crowded waiting room. I started looking at the children and their families. Soon, I caught myself creating stories and wonderings to accompany each. I had to stop myself from the judgmental thoughts good or bad that I began to assign to others. It reminded me of a very powerful message that our pastor gave last Sunday. I myself have felt unfairly measured as a mother. Those feelings have come from others as much as they have come from myself. Let me explain.

From the day a woman discovers she is pregnant she begins to create her ideal birth story. After miscarrying three times, I have learned what a miracle it is to reach that precious birth day.  After Noah's very difficult birth,  I had high hopes for a different experience with Zachary. At my 37 week appointment I was shocked to find out we would be having our baby the very next day due to a weakened placenta. I was scheduled to have a c-section first thing the next morning, Friday the 13th.

Soon after Zachary was born he was transported to a NICU an hour away due to underdeveloped lungs. None of us expected this outcome for him.  It would be 4 long days later before I held him for the first time. All in all he spent 7 days in the hospital. For us, we had never considered that as part of his birth story, who does? Although, when he is older I will tell them that he was just following in his mommy's footsteps. I myself was born at 28 weeks and spent 3 months in the NICU.

While in the hospital I really struggled with all kinds of emotions. Especially when I would hear the other babies crying in the rooms around me knowing that their mothers were there to comfort them and I would not be there to comfort my own those first few days while I was still in the hospital. A very dear friend came to pray for me while I was in the hospital. I shared these feelings with her and she reminded me though my hands were not holding Zachary, God's hands had never let go. The same hands that knit him together were holding him still.

Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day to many. To me, now, it is a beautiful day that God brought forth our precious son, Zachary. Though I would not have written our birth story the way it is now told, I would not change it either. God will show himself in mighty ways during these difficult times. It is up to us to see his good works.

From the beginning it has been a struggle not to measure myself with disappointment in my own eyes because of the difference (in many things) in what actually happened compared to how I envisioned things happening. That is when I call upon scripture  "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful I know that full well". God knew the way our children would be brought into this world.

As I continued  to look around the waiting room at the pediatrician's office I realize that we will all  judge and be judged it's part of our sinful nature. As mothers, we can be so cruel to each other though our thoughts may never even be spoken. Natural birth or cesarean, breastfed or bottle fed, cloth diaper or disposable diaper, organic or from a box....When we take the time to hear someone's story it's far less easy to pass judgement on someone and on the decisions they make or... the decisions that they didn't have a choice to make. I'm also learning never to say "I would never....or I will always.." because I will soon have to put my foot in my mouth if I do! Mothers can also be such powerful advocates for each other when we build each other up and listen to each others' stories.

Though my desire is to be an incredible mother, my worth does not come from how others view me as one. This is something I have to remind myself of daily.  As my children grow and make their own decisions my hope is that I will teach them well but I must always be careful to remember that my self worth as a person and as a mother is not dependent on how well they behave, how successful they become or the mistakes they make. My self worth is found in the one who created me, in thee only judge.