I was unprepared for motherhood.
By all appearances most anyone would have suspected I was ready. My pregnancy was no surprise. In fact we had been trying for quite a while to have a child and I wanted so much to be a mother.
But I had no idea what was about to happen.
I read a thousand books. I took several classes to prepare for labor, birth, breastfeeding and parenting. I asked every question I could think of to every mother I knew.
And I still wasn’t prepared. Not even close.
When my son was born, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. That first night in the hospital, I had to ask the nurse how to change his diaper.
How was I, a woman who had zero experience with babies, going to be a mother to this small child who would rely on me for every waking (and sleeping!) need that he had? How was I going to be able to give him what he needed, when he needed it?
I didn’t know.
And that was only the beginning. As he’s gotten older, his needs have increased and changed in ways I could never have expected or been prepared for. And as I’ve had more children, new and different unknown circumstances have come my way, proving again and again how unprepared for motherhood I truly was each time.
Motherhood is intimidating and terrifying and frustrating. It garners anxiety and worry and moments of panic. So much of it is entirely unknown to us which is why fear surfaces. And that is the case for every single mother. It begins the moment you see that line on the pregnancy test and it seems to never end.
We all feel unprepared to some degree. And we all are unprepared to some degree.
There are, of course, different levels of unpreparedness. It could be that you have zero experience with babies. Or maybe you wonder where you and your baby are going to lay your heads at night. Perhaps there is no way to pay for prenatal care during pregnancy. Maybe you are receiving no support from the baby’s father or even from your own family. It could be that you aren’t sure how you’ll finish school or be able to keep your job if you have this child.
The unknown is unnerving.
Being unprepared is daunting.
But the truth is that you don’t have to be completely prepared to be a mother. Part of motherhood is learning as you go. Part of motherhood is facing the fear of the unknown and doing it anyway. Part of motherhood is reaching out to those around you for support and encouragement and help. Part of motherhood is reaching out to those around you who need support and giving encouragement and help.
Part of motherhood is being courageous.
Actually, all of motherhood takes courage. “Courage” doesn’t mean “fearless.” It means being afraid of something and doing it anyways. It means having the strength to do the hard and frightening thing.
The truth about women, and particularly of mothers, is that we are strong and we are capable.
One of the sad realities of abortion is that it tells a mother she is incapable. It says, “You don’t have what it takes to be a mom” or “You aren’t able to do this right now.” But can I let you in on a little secret?
“Unprepared” does not equal “incapable.”
And all of those things that abortion tells us, are all wrong. They are all a lie.
To the mother who was completely caught off guard by the news that she’s pregnant: please know that you are capable. To the mother who doesn’t know how she’s going to scrape together the money to purchase a crib, pajamas and a car seat for this new child: you are capable. To the mother whose boyfriend or parents aren’t supportive or have pressured her into abortion: you are capable.
You are capable of mothering your baby.
You are strong enough to do the terrifying thing. God made you that way. It’s going to take some courage, but you aren’t alone. There are women and men ready to help. And God is willing and able to help. Reach out to Him.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
And thankfully, people are willing and able to help too. If you or someone you know are in need of that support, please reach out to a pregnancy resource center in your area.
No one is ever truly prepared for motherhood. Not me. Not you. Not even the most incredible mother you know. But that doesn’t render a mother incapable. There are always resources, support and help.