How does one prepare to be a mother? Read books? Ask questions? Babysit? Work at a daycare center? Take a course?
You can do all these things and get some head knowledge on the subject. However, nothing truly prepares you for the wide range of emotions you’ll experience as a mother. It’s more thrilling than any rollercoaster. More unpredictable than any mystery novel. And, more rewarding than receiving a long awaited award.
And even with these words, I inadequately express the experience of motherhood. Add to the mix, I am a special needs mother. This is the only world of motherhood I know. How different is my experience from the non-special needs mother? To be honest, I don’t really know. I get glimpses here and there but I will let you be the judge.
Here are a few emotions which define my world of motherhood. I trust you’ll be able to relate to these definitions and the emotions they express.
One definition I read describes anxiety as a feeling of unease. I would agree. My unease is based on past experience. Having a special needs son amplifies this state of being.
A sneeze…could it be a cold? A cold could turn into an all nighter being ready to administer a saline treatment, suctioning and if need be, turning on the ventilator.
A rash…could it be a serious reaction? This is how we found out Samuel is allergic to peanuts. We ended up in the ER. Thankfully, we were released in hours due to some strong Benadryl.
My mommy senses are always on alert, keeping close watch on this miracle I’ve been blessed with. I imagine most mommies are equally cautious when it comes to their little ones.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 NIV
Anxiety peppers my motherhood experience.
Joy is defined as a feeling of great pleasure. Hearing my son laugh gives me great joy. I laugh along with this sweet sound my son so freely gives. His giggle fits are especially enjoyable. When Samuel was three years old, he broke out in giggles, squeals and laughter like never before.
We rushed to capture this precious moment on video. Knowing my son has been given a dire diagnosis, we wanted to share this joy to show these dear children offer one of the greatest gifts: joy.
So, we posted it on YouTube. Complimenting my coaxing and Samuel’s giggles is the sound of the ventilator in the background. You can see a hint of his g-tube (feeding tube) and the hoses which connect to the ventilator. But what stands out is his laugh of pure joy. Oh, so sweet. In this case, joy is contagious.
But the fruit of the spirit is…joy. Galatians 5:22 NIV
Joy defines my motherhood.
This word is defined as “allowing one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.” I like this definition because of the word “allowing.” I can worry but allowing myself to stay worried is a trick I’d like to learn. And learn well.
But, let’s be honest. Many mothers worry about their children. It must be a gene we’re born with. I remember taking my trach dependent child to one of the most famous sites in North America, Niagara Falls.
We took Samuel for a stroll by this famous waterfall. The breeze was brisk one moment and calm the next. I kept pulling Samuel’s blue knit cap on and off to match the cold burst which would come. I was worried he’d catch a cold. My husband, watching this whole scene asked, “Is he too hot or too cold.” Overwhelmed by my surroundings and worrying about my son, I answered exacerbated, “I don’t know.”
My husband cocked his head and laughed aloud. Worry did a good job on me that day and I can laugh about it now.
This emotion increases my wrinkles and threatens to obliterate the joy of my motherhood experience.
Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:27 (NIV)
Worry is a part of my motherhood experience I try to keep in check.
Defined as “feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.” You don’t need a holiday like Thanksgiving to be grateful. I am so thankful to touch my son’s soft skin. To hug him close as he lays his head on my shoulder. To see those beautiful big eyes peer into mine, so trusting and full of love.
I’m grateful that the predictions of my son’s diagnosis didn’t turn out the way the textbooks described. Though Thanatophoric means “death bringing”, God had other plans. His survival at ten years old has exceeded all expectations. I’m the mother of a miracle. And for that, I am grateful.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV
Do these emotions resonate with you as a mother? Would you agree, whether a special needs mother or as a non-special needs mother, we experience these emotions in varying degrees? What emotion would you add to this list? Comment below to share. I read every one.
Written By: Evelyn Mann
Author, WIP, A Miracle In My Living Room