I'm going to tell you the truth off the bat. I'm not an animal person. I come by it honestly, because I didn't grow up in an animal house - but they're just not my favorite. I have a new friend, however, who writes so beautifully about her dogs, that I kind of want to love them. She is passionate about adopting adult dogs and so she writes about it and I could just eat it up. The other day she wrote this statement on her blog that I basically want to have sewn into a massive afghan and lay it on our couch for visitors to curl up on. A family mission statement via afghan, if you will. She said,
"I cannot, in good faith, encourage anyone to go through what we’ve been through the last couple of months."
What a beautiful, vulnerable truth.
And all I could do was relate it to mothering.
Now, in our family - we've sort of taken the parenting graduate level route. We're not living childhood 101 over here. We got pregnant with our first baby eight months in to marriage, pregnant with our second when our first was only four months old, and pregnant with our third when the second was still less than six months old. In the middle of all that, we've moved cross country, ran a non-profit ministry, and then decided to plant a church back across the country. Not exactly your recipe for stability or peace or rest or easy childrearing.
But in all honesty, everybody's got their challenges and they all feel hard. One baby, six babies, poverty, riches - hasn't everyone gotten sweaty in line at Target or cried because you can't handle one more middle of the night feeding? Don't we all get sick of cleaning up baby food off the floor or upchuck a little when our kids ask where babies come from? Mothering is hard, and hard is all relative.
But the point is (to quote my friend) - I cannot in good faith, encourage anyone to go through what we've been through the last couple of years. In no normal setting would I suggest that you stop sleeping, deal with feces daily, crucify the things in your life that you hold dear like comfort and rest, sign up for three little voices barking breakfast orders, or give up any and all rights to your own body, personal space, and private time on the toilet. Why would I suggest those things? They're insane. When I sit at baby showers now and KNOW that they're expecting to push an eight pound accessory out that will make their lives more fun and their holidays more memorable - I want to grab them and shake them! I can't encourage you, can't spur you on in this venture that will ultimately make you lay down your life for another human in ways you never knew existed!
But I will.
Because it's worth it.
Because there is something beautiful about putting your own desires aside, for the good of someone else, really - for the good of the whole world, until eventually your desires are more centered on caring for those miniature humans than they are for yourself. Swallow whole the disappointments and the let-downs, the pain and the beauty and the heartache. The contractions, the laughter, the stretch marks.
Go ahead mamas.
Mess up your whole life, mess up your whole house with finger paint (unless you're renting of course) and just shake up all your little plans and calculations and blueprints.
You're gonna do great.