Four year ago yesterday, I knew something was wrong. It was the day after my daughter's due date, and I had spent the entire due date laboring at home, just to wake up the next day feeling totally normal physically but with a tug on my heart that I couldn't shake.
My friend Lauren was coming to meet me for lunch that day, I asked her if we could possibly make a pit stop first, you know, to the hospital. In my mind, I knew the doctors would think I was nuts and send me home, but in my gut, I knew we had to go.
Cut to a few hours later, sitting in triage and the doctor, whom I had never met until that day says "I mean you're all ready late, and you're here, let's induce you." At that point you think to yourself, "oh my word, this is happening! I'm going to give birth today!" Due to hospital politics, bed room and that sort of thing, my first (and yes I emphasize first) induction didn't begin until later that night, which led to another day, and another day, and by this point, my parent panic meter was off the charts.
-This isn't how this was supposed to happen.
-Am I wrong? Why do I feel so strongly that something isn't right and why are people not taking me seriously?
-Is my child going to be OK or is something out of my control going to harm her?
-Maybe I need to ask other Moms/Medical experts for their thoughts.
These are all thoughts that didn't just replay over in my mind like a tape recorder those long days in the hospital, those are thoughts I battled with yesterday.
You see that whole crazy ride of waiting and wondering and not eating and more inducing and ultimately having an emergency c-section wasn't a mistake, it's just our story. I really believe my daughter's unpredictable and unplanned entrance into the world really began to lay a ground work for me to grasp some huge realities about being a parent. And not just any parent, her parent.
I'll start with the most important one: You are not in control, but you are not alone.
This world is completely unpredictable. I mean, for the love, it's 33 degrees outside today in Tennessee and we're a week out from Spring's official due date. If we live in a world where the seasons can't even arrive on their scheduled time, why would all the rest of life follow our plans? Kids get the flu, they fall, they don't listen, they say no, others say no to them, they get their hearts broken, and the truth is, we can only control our response to it. But. (And that's a big but) I believe without a shadow of a doubt that we are known and loved by a God who is not surprised by His creation.
Whether it's the creation that we are surrounded by in nature, or the creation He grows within us and births in their perfect time, He does not see any of this as chaos. He sees how it was all made to be, and how it will all turn out.
You were made to be their parent. Trust your God-given instincts.
The reason we ultimately had to have a c-section was because no one thought to check and see how big my daughter was measuring from the inside. Three days and three different doctors later, a wonderful man said "let's do an ultrasound" and realized her head was too large to move through the birth canal.
I remember at one point during my c-section, a nurse said to me "you would never have pushed this baby out." Honestly, in that moment, I was encouraged. There was something wrong all along, I wasn't crazy. There had been something in me, perhaps the Lord preparing my heart for what was about to happen and how it would happen, that knew things weren't going to go down the way everyone said it should.
Now that I know my daughter, that couldn't be more true in how we've made decisions for her. I've had to consciously make the effort to lean into the voice of the Holy Spirit and the instincts He gave me to make decisions for her. Not what a book said, not what was always the most popular opinion, not what social media suggests, but what is best for her based on who she is.
The same is true for you, friend. The main voice that matters when you parent is the voice of the One who made you AND your child.
Every child is different, and that makes them a beautiful part of a bigger story.
My daughter made her entrance into this world in an unexpected fashion that didn't meet my timing or agenda. The truth is, raising little humans is similar. You can provide structure, you can have strong wishes and desires for their lives, you can have an idea of exactly how your days and weeks are going to play out. I have tried to parent from my agenda, but in the end it has left me just as frustrated as I was laying in that hospital room knowing the plan needed to change but feeling defeated that it wasn't happening how I had imagined it.
Ultimately, parenting is about getting to know our children for who they are, for how God made them, and leaning into His plans for your family. They are a part of the story God is telling with your life and you are a part of theirs, and it's beautiful.
You are not a failure.
Just because things aren't going like you expected, just because your child doesn't respond like you want them to all the time, just because there are days where there's more TV than perfectly Pinterest-able crafts and games, just because there are dishes in the sink and bags under your eyes, none of that labels you a failure. Do you love your child no matter how much they challenge you or make you crazy (and sometimes make you feel like you don't like them very much?) Do you get up every morning and care for them day in and day out? Do you keep moving through a problem on their behalf until there ultimately is a solution? Then, my friend, you are not a failure.
Just like an unplanned and seemingly imperfect birth story doesn't label me as a failure, you doing what is best for your child no matter how hard it is or how it makes you feel about yourself or your plans and going about it imperfectly, but willingly, doesn't make you a failure; it makes you a parent.
Beloved, one of the greatest gifts my daughter has given to me is helping me see that we have to define for ourselves and our families, through the Creator's perspective, what we were made for and to engage the journey to get there, no matter how it looks. Is it messy? Yes. Is it what I always pictured? Heavens, no. But does it bring me an indescribable joy and a whole new perspective of the Father's love for us? Absolutely. I am praying you give yourself the grace to allow that to be true for you too.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get back to our little Snow White's last day of being a 3 year old. =)