Surprised by Joy: a guest post

 guest post by Jessica from Sebastian Design

I’ve always known I was a princess. I knew I would wear crowns and puffy dresses and kiss Prince Charming all day long. We would live happily ever after and our story would close to the fading twilight of a never-ending, perfect day. I would be a wife who wore cute aprons while making cupcakes and organizing the closets. My married life with my husband would be blissful. We would be together and it would be just as I had always imagined. And it mostly happened that way. I was so happy.

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Being a mother never really fit into my plans. Growing up, I always had the thought in the back of my mind that I wasn’t excited for kids. This was difficult because everyone always talked about the joy of having children, the amazing experience of raising a family, and the blessings of posterity. But I didn’t feel that way. I loved growing up with a brother and two sisters. I loved working with elementary school kids. I loved to babysit. But I just wasn’t interested in having children of my own the way I should have been {or thought I should have been}. I didn’t really have a way to reconcile the way I felt and what I heard. I knew my feelings were invalid {even though they weren’t} and I was discouraged.

What was wrong with me? Selfishness? Inadequacy? Fear? Apathy? Maybe a little of everything.

The decision to get pregnant was hard for me. I didn’t even want to bring it up for the first year and a half we were married. Soon after that, my husband and I made the {very scary} choice to try and it took us a year. During that time, I had many thoughts racing through my head:

“Why can’t we get pregnant?”
“What’s wrong?”
“This is good.”
“This is bad.”
“I’m anxious.”
“I’m relieved.”

It took a lot of faith. Heavenly Father blessed me many times with the assurance that everything would work out according to His timing and in His way. I had to be strong and realize that He would take care of me, His daughter, His princess.

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There were times during my pregnancy when I was very excited to meet my Ellie. I loved feeling her move and knowing I would hold her soon. I still wasn’t so crazy about being a mom, but I wanted to see my baby. Right before she was born, I started preparing myself for the rush of emotion and love I had heard about. But I didn’t get it; at least not for twelve days after she was born. Maybe it was the emergency c-section, the exhaustion of finishing up my job, completing coursework and finals, the stress of packing up, cleaning and moving, the busyness of the Thanksgiving holiday, the surprise attack of my lupus, or the barrage of great family, friends, and neighbors coming to visit, that ensued all within the first eleven days after she was born. Or maybe it was just because I needed to learn a life-lesson.

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On day twelve everyone had left {including my husband to take his finals}, leaving just me and my little brown Ellie-Girl. I sat on our bed, with her snuggled up on my chest and I read her poems and lullabies. At that moment, she was mine; I felt it. I experienced a deep, emotional, lasting connection with that little girl and I would never, ever be the same. Nothing else mattered. Not the reservations I had, not the years of dreading motherhood, not the shame or guilt I felt in the past. It may have taken me a little longer, but I have never wanted to protect, love, cherish, and sacrifice for a child like I did when Ellie truly became mine. Now, I am amazed at how much I adore being a mom! I love playing with her, watching her grow, kissing and tickling her, and I am sometimes surprised I was so hesitant. This is happiness.


I have since learned that it doesn’t matter if you don’t experience things in the same way as another person—even for the momentous, life-changing occasions. You still have worth; you still have value if your perspective is a little different. Heavenly Father is very aware of your needs and He will give you the tools, patience, and faith to make your own journey. I didn’t have to take the same path to reach the final destination. I am so grateful that I learned this lesson because now I can love my princess to pieces. And it’s all in my own, happily ever after, kind of way.




i hope you all enjoyed reading Jessica’s story as much as i did. when she first told me her story, i just cried. it was amazing to hear another mother share similar feelings as mine. never before had i heard such a story. instead, i felt constantly bombarded by words and images of an unrealistic and unachievable ideal  of the “perfect mother.” i felt ashamed, lonely, and worthless that i couldn’t live up to that. but Jessica’s story helped me see that there are other women who do understand what i’m going through and more importantly, helped me see that what i am feeling was natural, real, human.

i think we should be able to open up more and share our honest emotions. and i know that when we do, we will find that there are other women who are truly willing to listen, love and lend support when we need it.
after all, we are in this together!


... said...

Another beautiful post! :) Jessica's story was real and inspiring! I love how God places people in our lives at the moments we need them the most. I am glad that you found a friend in someone that experienced a similar experience as you. :)

Jan said...

I loved reading Jessica's story. Both you and her have encouraged me to write my story. I'm sure there are many people that wouldn't have a clue what I went through emotionally. We tried for so long to have a baby, then when he came, I wondered why I wanted to be a mom at all. I didn't start enjoying it until he was 4-months-old and started to get more of a personality. At 1 year of age, I finally fell head over heals for him. I hate that it took so long. I knew I always loved him, but hated the day in and day out job that being a mom felt like. He is now my most favorite part of my day. I can't wait to see him and spend time with him. I just wish I felt that way sooner. Now off to write my full story. :) Thanks for sharing yours.

Emma Frances said...

I love the blogging world! It's so nice to hear stories that you don't normally hear about birth and stuff. There are things that I wasn't expecting about marriage and stuff and it's so nice meeting people who have had the same experiences.