“Motherhood to me is at once the greatest blessing and heaviest burden I’ve ever known. It is such an overwhelming responsibility, the desire to get everything right, to try and perfectly fulfill the role as “mother” in our children’s minds, or to live up to some made up ideal we have for ourselves as parents. What I have learned is that life never looks exactly how we planned or hoped for. Motherhood is made up of mistakes and disappointments. It is painful, selfless, and tiresome. It is overwhelming sorrow and the greatest joy and every mundane afternoon in between. I have to remind myself daily that I was specifically chosen to be my children’s mother, and even when I feel like I am failing or not enough, I am the only one with this privilege. They are mine, I am theirs. There is so much societal pressure on mothers these days, beginning with pregnancy and birth choices to parenting style and education, and the truth is that none of that matters. Life is fragile, and fleeting. Love your children, and in so doing you will give them everything they need.
There is a poem by the writer Raymond Carver and I think of it often as it is everything that motherhood has meant to my life:
“And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved. To feel myself beloved on the earth.”
Our baby Jack was born ten months after we lost a baby boy in the 2nd trimester. Lauren took pictures of us in November of last year to use for our Christmas card, which we also planned to use to announce our pregnancy. We lost that baby three weeks later. The photo she took of my barely there bump is the only photo I have of that entire pregnancy. And while we never sent those Christmas cards we ordered, I treasure that photo as proof that his life existed, and it was meaningful, and we loved him. Experiencing pregnancy loss can make you wonder if you will ever get to hold a newborn baby in your arms again, so we treasure Jack’s life and these pictures of us as a family that much more. Lauren was also our birth photographer for our daughter Eleanor, and it was so special having her there for the birth and then seeing her again later on for the newborn session. I am so happy we got to experience that the second time around with our baby Jack. Being our second baby, I know all too well how fleeting these days are where they are so tiny and new. I know decades from now I will look at these pictures and treasure seeing not just my brand new babies but also myself with them. As mothers we often aren’t in the day to day photos, and I know I won’t notice the baby weight or remember how tired I was in them, but marvel at how precious and happy and sweet that short moment in time was.” Lauren, Mother