I'm on vacation at my parents in North Carolina for two weeks. So thankful for the little things: the glasses of water my mom makes me drink, the food that is placed on the table before my eyes. This pregnancy has been exhausting for me. Just  when I am certain I can pick myself up, I get thrown down again. I'm having a hard time accepting the fact that my body is NOT going to cooperate, no matter how many cups of coffee I drink. Instead, I am learning to go with the waves, let them pull me in, and thank God for the enormous amount of help I have received.

I've talked a lot about my mother in previous posts throughout my pregnancy, the birth of Zoe, and this new pregnancy again. Perhaps it is because "woman" things pervade every section of my life now. I am the picture of bottomless womanhood--a mother with a popped belly, holding a toddler in one arm and a spatula in the other (if I have the energy to cook). Today, at church, I had this image of myself holding two little hands while encountering God/Jesus with my little family and I felt this overwhelming, drag-you-to-the-ground-sense of responsibility. This is often how I feel about womanhood--but motherhood in particular.

Alternatively, I have also had incredibly precious moments in my thoughts about being a mom/woman. In college, I was not sure that being a woman had ANY benefits at all. It really seemed like I had the worst of the bargain--men wielded more power, more authority and, well, more everything. There were days where I was angry about this. Times where I would have seriously considered trading in my sex---if given the chance by some massive do-over by God.

Now, I have started to think in terms of legacy. I love the word legacy. To me, it means a passing of the mantle--an orientation towards another person that has come before you. It is looking back and looking forward simultaneously. One of the verses that was read at our wedding was this:

Lord, You have been our refuge in every generation. 2 Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, You are God. 3 You return mankind to the dust, saying, "Return, descendants of Adam." 4 For in Your sight a thousand years are like yesterday that passes by, like a few hours of the night.

It's the idea that this life is a repetition, a beautiful rendition of an original song that I get to re-learn and sing. I watch my mother before me, this beautiful, wise woman who I admire so greatly--and I remember that she bathed me in the bath with my sister splashing alongside, that she held two, and finally three tiny hands in hers. And God was faithful. I have been so comforted by the fact that my mother was exhausted and depressed during pregnancy. She even recalls the fact that, while in the jungle/village as a missionary, the other villagers said she was "so sad all the time." during her pregnancy. If the entire village knew this, this was most definitely a difficult time for her.  I crave these words of comfort and journeying as I walk this new journey of #2. I find myself asking her questions constantly about taking care of children, about who I am as a mother, a woman, a person. I can't get enough of my mother.

Ultimately, my mother means that I don't experience any single experience alone.
While Chris is an amazing father, we have given up something in our marriage that I treasured in the beginning--the chance to experience everything at the same time, in the same way. We were both teachers after college, both 9-5 workers, both on a career trajectory. There have been quite a few times where I have mourned the fact that he has gone on a separate path alone, while I have been seemingly left behind to forge ahead with a machete, on new terrain I am not familiar with.

And yet, my solace has increasingly come from other women, and their journeys. First, from my mother, the one to whom I think of daily as I raise my little girl to become a strong woman--and second, to the women around me who inspire me daily to love, encourage and believe in this calling of motherhood. I have a moms' group who listens to my stories and wraps me consistently in grace and love. For many years, I have not felt close to other women--in fact--I would even say I have judged women from the sidelines and even commented to Chris that I didn't think womens' relationships held value.

I take that all back.  I have relied more than ever on women, and I have been amazed to find the gentleness, compassion and love that has been poured out on me from those at all stages along this cyclical journey. The women ahead of me have relinquished judgment, listened to my oft-unfounded fears, and gently reassured me that God is in control. The women beside me (two in particular my own age who are mothers) have literally turned me 360 degrees to seek God's face. They have been champions of joy, love, waiting on God, and the reassurance that what we are doing is important.  Not that it is any more important than anyone else--but just that it is important and it is beauty-in-the-making.  I have found my own life to be a confusing mess of mommyhood, selfish love, and seemingly missed opportunities.
They have taught me that it is a life of servanthood, compassion and learning-to-be-still in the middle of the night, when you are breastfeeding, when you want to give up, when you feel worthless. Because God's journey is the best journey. Because my worth is not in what I do. Because I hold two small hands in mine, and ultimately, I chase the "treasure in the field" while believing in a bigger story.