We have this beautiful quote framed in my daughter’s bedroom. It says, “If I know love, it is because of you”. As I rock her before bedtime, I often see the quote and the deep truth hits me like a load of bricks as I hold her close. A few nights ago I realized that this rings true for pain too: Motherhood opens the door to a laundry list of pain. Some of it I expected, and some it was a surprise.
Morning sickness. Braxton hicks. Being kicked in all the wrong places. Sciatic nerve pain. Varicose veins. Contractions. Ring of fire. Tearing. Stitches. Cramping. Engorgement. Nursing. Post-delivery recovery. Ouch! But that was just beginning…
What I didn’t expect was the day-to-day pain that comes along with being a mother. Does the back pain ever end? I’m 18 months in and so far I’ve found the answer to be NO. Maybe it’s because mothers become pack mules. At any given time we can be found lugging around a toddler, a diaper bag, a giant purse packed with ridiculous emergency supplies, 15 bags of groceries, and/or a laundry basket full of dirty clothes. It must be the heavy load that increases our likelihood of stubbing our toes and stepping on Legos. And if our arms aren’t full you can find us hunched over the crib, the kitchen sink, or the bathtub. Ouch.
On top of that is a thick layer of emotional pain. It is heart wrenching to watch your child struggle. It is deeply bittersweet to watch them grow. The worry is consuming, the guilt is unavoidable, the fear of the unknown is daunting. You want nothing more than to keep them safe, healthy, and happy, but there are moments when you can’t do that at all, and seeing their pain, confusion or sadness is the absolute worst thing I’ve ever felt. Ouch, but it doesn’t stop there.
Motherhood comes with an increased ability for empathy, and this is painful too. Personally, my journey as a mother has been enjoyable. There have certainly been ups and downs, the usual joy and pain, but I had an ideal pregnancy, a smooth delivery, a healthy child, and a supportive family. This fact alone can be a source of guilt and pain. My heart hurts for other mothers that are facing other sorrows. I can only imagine the agony that my friends have felt as they struggle with infertility, experience miscarriages, or receive a scary diagnosis. My heart breaks for the mothers that have had to bury their beloved children after just days, weeks, months, or years of holding them tight.
We are all moms; we all experience pain. Some beautiful, some tragic. Some days more than others. And whether you’re a mom that needs a pep talk, a break, a massage, a prescription, a glass of wine, a good laugh, or a good cry, you’re not alone.
Motherhood hurts for everyone… but it’s well worth it.