I know that we all talk about how motherhood is a difficult job, but I hope we can all agree that the rewards make it not so difficult after all. Most of us are fortunate enough to receive the hugs, the kisses, the “I love you, Mommy” reminders often enough that we remember to consider ourselves lucky. This week, however, has been extremely hard for my family and I’m reminded all over again how hard being a mother can be and how blessed I am to have the chance.
My brother and his wife spent almost a year trying to conceive before they got pregnant. Nine months later, they gave birth to a beautiful, incredible baby boy. Less than ten minutes later they were in an ambulance en route to the hospital, and their beautiful, incredibly baby boy’s beautiful, incredible face was covered with an oxygen mask.
I could go on forever about the pain they’re experiencing and the trials they’re facing, but what is important is that, for right now, their baby, my nephew, is alive and has a chance. Hearing about him and now watching him has been an incredible learning experience about families bonding together, not sweating the small stuff, and remembering with every passing second how lucky we are to be mothers.
Motherhood is hard this week. My own baby is at home with her father, and I miss her more than I can describe. I’m constantly reminded of seeing her in the NICU and wondering what I must have done wrong to have her there instead of in my arms. At the same time, I see my sister-in-law spending her first week as a mother with only a little hand to hold and a lot of machines with which to contend.
This is when motherhood gets hard. It isn’t when the kids won’t stop screaming and the in-laws are coming. It isn’t when the house is a mess and the deadlines are looming. For me, it’s when I realize that so many minutes have passed where I forgot to remember how lucky I am. It’s when I look at another mother who can’t hold her baby and imagine how she must be feeling. It’s when I think of my own baby at home and know I can’t hold her either because, at least for now, it’s more important that I sit beside someone else’s baby. This is when experiences are learned. This is when we might just need our children more than they need us. This, more than anything else, is when motherhood gets hard.