But I’m Just Not Naturally Motherly Enough
Literally the first thought that came into my mind when I looked down at my hand holding the positive pregnancy test was ” ..but.. but..I’m just not very motherly..”
Oh how I genuinely wish I could tell you instead that I was overjoyed and excited, already scrolling through pinterest, brainstorming how to decorate the nursery. I felt, this kind of response would have been more appropriate, than the daunting panic I felt when the second test also came back positive.
Many of you may say that it is completely normal to feel nervous and jittery when its your first baby. Some of you may even admit that this feeling of “not being mom enough” never completely goes away.
However, perhaps some of you may be able to relate with what I mean when I say”I am just not naturally motherly.” In general, I am not one who is really drawn to babies or little kids. I’ve never helped out in nursery ministry at church, and don’t have a strong desire to. I will never ask to hold your baby, unless you offer. Even then I probably would be stiffly holding my breath, out of fear that my subtle movements would hurt your precious child. I naturally prefer to observe kids from afar and be amused at their cuteness than personally interacting and playing with them (maybe there is a hidden insecurity of being labeled as a boring adult and being rejected by tiny humans). Sometimes…. it really just comes down to I don’t know what to say to little kids..
Side Tangent: Since being married though, I’ve grown exponentially more comfortable interacting with young kids. Thanks to close friends who trust me while they take a much needed break and also I found myself loving and growing more comfortable and relaxed with the children of those parents who have invested deeply in both Dr. J and myself.
The first couple weeks after finding out about my pregnancy, I struggled with two distinct feelings. I felt “out of character” and also asked if ” theres something wrong with me?”
” Out of character” : The lie that I am not who God created me to be kept creeping in. As a woman, it is easy to put my identity in what I think I am suppose to do, which includes bringing life into this world. I’m constantly told this is a great privilege and I’ve always read and heard that God created women to be the nurturer of the family. I have friends who could dream of nothing else than being a mother. When they find out they are expecting, they are elated, tenderly documenting the little bump that is growing and looking forward to baby showers and the future nursery. I was physically going in to my appointments and taking my supplements. I avoided raw fish like the plague and was well aware of the changes my body was going through. I am aware of the logistical necessity of installing a car seat and learning how to change diapers. But nothing “emotional” was happening. Its like my mind knows I am carrying a baby, but nothing emotionally was being triggered. I felt more like a human carrier than a mother to-be.
“Is there something wrong with me?”: Naturally from everything that I was feeling above, the lie that there is something wrong with me established its roots in my mind. Instead of going to God’s truth, I just barreled deeper into my thoughts. I took on the whole “fake it till you make it” line of thinking. Each smile and fake excited response masked the fear and guilt of not truly feeling excited enough. Friends’ well intentioned comments like ” being a mom is so fulfilling” or “there is no higher calling” just gave me more anxiety. Again, no one needs to know how I truly felt.. just smile and nod. ” Have you thought about baby names??” Which in complete honesty, the first couple of weeks I forgot that we need to name babies. Proves my point of feeling more like a human carrier than a mom.
The more I wanted these feelings to go away, the stronger they came in waves. In passing one night, my husband casually mentioned, why don’t you talk to God about all this? I mean, yes i’ve been praying, but I have been asking for just more strength. I don’t think at that time I really trusted even God with my deepest insecurities about not feeling very motherly.
Bringing my struggles to light and admitting them openly to God, myself, and close confidants was not easy, but necessary. Denial and self reliance only fueled more anxiety and fear, but confession and acceptance about my weaknesses brought freedom. The power doesn’t lie to mere confession, but in the powerful truth that despite my inadequacies, Christ has always been enough and will be enough for me and my future child. In every way I am not motherly enough, Christ is and will be enough.
My identity as a woman is ultimately not in being a mom or a wife, or anything I accomplish. My identity is in Christ. Such a simple, yet difficult truth to grasp and remember. I am just entering into a stage of life that as His servant, I am to be a good steward of.
Perhaps I may never be or feel as “motherly” as other women, because God knew this is the best way for me to rely on Him and not my otherwise motherly feelings or skills. Perhaps in my God’s wisdom, my lack of motherly feelings and excitement, is just what I need in my current season because He is making me more like Christ. Perhaps all of this was never about me to begin with, but about His glory. How He is glorified through transforming a fearful “not very motherly” gal, into a mother He wants her to become.