Making Peace with Motherhood: Raising Saints

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There’s the kiddo at 10 weeks! Nathan thinks he/she looks like a dinosaur…

Here’s the big news: we are pregnant with #3! Our oldest, Timothy, will turn 3 in April, and baby #3 will be born at the end of June! Nathan and I will have been married 3 and 11/12 months by then. That’s a lot of threes!

The week before my brother’s wedding in October was a nerve-racking one as I waited to take a pregnancy test. Post-partum charting is much more difficult than people led me to believe, and while we wanted to space our children farther than 18 months apart, we knew there was a possibility we were pregnant again. That week we were just playing the waiting game before being able to find out for sure.

My good friend was in town for the wedding (since it was her sister marrying my brother) and I was crying to her that I was pretty sure I was pregnant again and I wasn’t ready.  I sobbed to her that so many other moms have this “mothering” thing down and it’s just not coming easy to me and now I’ve got to do it all over again.  I just wanted a time when, like it seems with so many other moms, I was wanting to get pregnant again versus having one thrust upon me. I was obviously not at peace with motherhood.

Then came the day of my brother’s wedding. The priest began Mass saying, “The greatest tragedy on this earth is to not become a saint.” That was a good starting point for my mini-journey toward peace as I was reminded that that is what marriage is about: getting each other to heaven.  Then, during the wedding vows, I heard my brother and new sister vow to “accept children lovingly from God.” Those words rung in my ears. I hadn’t accepted Lily so lovingly at the beginning, so I renewed my own marriage vow and promised to love this potential new child I might be carrying as a gift from God.

And then I started thinking about my Confirmation saint, St. Bridget of Sweden. One of the reasons I picked her as my patron saint was because she was a mother. She had 8 children, some of which also went on to become canonized saints. Even as a 13-year old going through Confirmation, I somehow knew that motherhood would also be my path to holiness and that I wanted to raise more saints.

And I realized that although I’m a supporter of NFP and all things Catholic, I was still holding on to a “contraceptive mentality” that we had to be able to have enough space and money and leisure, and having too many kids just wouldn’t be a part of that plan.  I was “open” but I still wanted to be selfish. I had never wanted to be one of those large, crazy homeschool families but I am realizing more and more that that’s what we will be turning into. And I’m becoming OK with that now.  Because my marriage is my path to holiness, and accepting children lovingly from God is my vocation. It’s what is going to make me into a saint, even though it won’t be easy.  So I’m making peace with that.

The night of the wedding I went home to take a pregnancy test that turned out positive. And this time around, although I am still scared of how it will all work out, I am thankful. Thankful that God has believed in me enough to grant me the opportunity to raise some saints. Thankful that so far I have two beautiful, healthy children and an amazing, supportive husband.  Thankful that I am making peace with this exhausting, diaper-filled way of life with 3 kids under the age of 4.

And thankful because I am starting to fully realize my purpose in this life: to raise saints and help my husband get to Heaven. In this, my vocation, there is peace.

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9 thoughts on “Making Peace with Motherhood: Raising Saints

  1. As a mother to three boys, I can honestly say that not all mothers have the mothering thing down. Your reflection here mirrors my own. I did not receive our second son with such open arms. I was bitter throughout most of his pregnancy. Torn between the Catholic teachings and vows I had taken. The first two are barely 16m apart! I was tired. I was overwhelmed. It wasn’t until my husband made a comment, “You seem to be fighting this whole mothering thing” that I was put in my place. I realized that every thought begain with “me” first. I think it’s natural to our fallen human nature. Being a vessel was hard for 9 months! Then to be pregnant again so quickly! But that is where the grace of God is needed and we must ask for it constantly. I do feel the hardest battle is going from 1 to 2 kids, 3 is a little easier. Every day is a new day to start over and begin again. It’s the beauty of having young children! I will be praying for you. You’re on the right path and with His strength and guidance, you will raise saints!

  2. Congratulations, Allison and Nate! I can definitely relate. I had a hard time welcoming Bobby. When I became pregnant, we were going through a challenging time of a new job, the bar exam, moving to a new place and then having to find a new home and then move again just before Christmas, and feeling moody and tired on top of it. Last night I was watching the boys play together, and I realized I would have felt so sad to have Joseph be an only. It is a joy to watch them play together. O have a Catholic friend who also tells me some women struggle with infertility and are so happy to become pregnant. Conversely, she says that when she, or other Catholic moms she knows, find out they are pregnant, they cry. Dying to self …

  3. I found your blog from Anna and Time Flies, and I’m so glad I did. I’m going through almost the exact same thing right now. Although I was overjoyed to find out I was pregnant with #2 (the first 2 are 19 months apart), I was a bit shell shocked to find out about #3. I knew it was a possibility and I thought I was ready until I got that positive pregnancy test – #3 is due 4 days before my oldest’s 3rd birthday. It’s so hard to let go of my selfishness. Thanks for the reminder that I need to spend more time being thankful for and embracing this beautiful vocation of motherhood.

  4. Congratulations on your newest blessing! My first three children only span 30 months to the day!! And our 4th is due in May, when our oldest turns 4 1/2. I can totally relate as to how hard the beginnings are. I do have to say that 4yrs into being a mom, and 5yrs into being a wife I’m finally getting it sorted out! I love being both, but it took awhile to get a groove for both too. And I still have a long way to go. Realizing that there is a bigger picture to it all has helped me. The journey is so worth it. I can say that with each baby it did seem a bit easier. You’ve learned so much already from the ones before and you feel more confident and relaxed. And it really does get easier-I still get excited that I now have 2 that can get shoes and coats on without help!! Best wishes to you Momma!

  5. Thank you so much! I’m a new reader too, but I so needed to hear this….I’m getting ready to have 3 UNDER 3 and I am pretty terrified…but I feel so much better, and a deep sense of solidarity with my Catholic sisters! 🙂 This post was awesome. I will keep you and other mothers striving toward sainthood (baby by baby) in my prayers. 🙂

  6. Came to your blog through Time Flies too. Your honesty is refreshing. Giving our fertility to God can be so scary, breaking the hold that the “contraceptive mentality” has on all of us modern women is very very difficult. I think it really comes down to faith and God has to work on all of us in different ways at different times in our motherhood journeys.

    Congratulations on your new little blessing. And know it’s ok to be scared. I’m scared all the time! I have 6 children ages 5 and UNDER, I know fear!! 🙂 But God is good and gives to us what we need.

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