Becoming a Brave Mom: Let It Out, Let It Go
Welcome MOPS Moms! Thanks for stopping by!
In just a couple of days, Jared and I will be in the hospital preparing to meet our second daughter. Just typing those words brings a whole slew of emotions to the forefront of my mind.
First, utter gratefulness. Five years ago right around now, Jared and I were trying to decide if we should do precautionary fertility treatments before my ten weeks of chemo started. (For those of you new around here, five years ago, I was diagnosed with a very rare ovarian tumor at age 29. Though the cancer was not aggressive, due to one cell outside my ovary, I had to go through chemo. Read more about the details here and here.)
The doctors could not guarantee that I would be able to have children after the powerful cancer drugs infiltrated my body. Knowing how much I have always wanted to be a mom, I couldn’t bank on percentages that “most likely” I would be able to bear children. We decided to go forward with treatments to preserve my fertility but that came to a screeching halt when a stubborn (but thankfully harmless) cyst on my other ovary would not go away. My oncologist felt we shouldn’t wait any longer and encouraged us to move forward with chemo without any fertility treatments. (I wrote more about it here.)
I won’t ever forget that moment because it was a time of true surrender when I had to let go of my desires to be a mom and trust that God would handle it—whatever that looked like. When the tears came during my chemo treatments, they were often wrapped up in this desire, which would manifest itself at times through fear: I so badly want to carry a baby, but what if I can’t?
This brings me to the second emotion I’ve been feeling as the arrival of baby #2 approaches: anxiety. I struggle with not letting my anxious thoughts control my life. God has done a major work in my heart since walking through cancer but that doesn’t mean I no longer struggle with fear. It creeps up at random times—sometimes legitimate and other times totally unfounded.
Over the past month, I’ve had a lot of what-ifs pop up in my mind about our next baby’s arrival. But instead of keeping them inside and letting them eat at my joy, I am learning to bravely acknowledge them. To get them out in the open and name them. So at the risk of sounding a little crazy, I thought I’d take a brave step and list out some of the real what-ifs that have popped up in my mind recently.
- What if something goes wrong with the c-section, for me or baby? (I don’t take even routine procedures for granted anymore.)
- What if the oncologist (who will be present for the c-section) finds something suspicious on my remaining ovary? (It gives us such reassurance to know he is able to do a quick check after they’ve delivered the baby but the fear of what they could find still nags at me…)
- What if I get just as sick after the last c-section and am completely out of it for the next 24 hours like I was with Olivia? (That really was miserable.)
- What if they find a health issue with the baby?
- What if nursing doesn’t work this time around?
- What if Olivia flips out with all of the new dynamics? (Knowing her fiery little personality, this is most likely to happen!)
- What if I don’t get any sleep between taking care of a newborn and a two-year-old? (I really am a better person when I get sleep! Ha.)
- What if Olivia throws lots of tantrums in the adjustment period of realizing this show isn’t all about her anymore?
- What if I can’t manage an active toddler and a newborn?
- What if I burst into tears in the middle of Target trying to keep Olivia in the cart and a newborn content? (This is quite probable, so if you see me in the Target aisle, please be kind!)
- What if adding more responsibility and less sleep affects our marriage or my friendships?
- What if I have even less time for myself and less time growing parts of me that are not “just a mom?”
Ah, that feels better already. I have learned over the last five years if I can acknowledge what is causing anxiety, I am much more able to invite God into my situation. As I let it all out, He meets me and helps me let it go.
Over the last couple of months I have been reading a book written by the MOPS CEO, Sherry Surratt, entitled Brave Mom: Facing and Overcoming Your Real Mom Fears. I love that as I’ve been working through the fears mentioned above, God gave me this incredible resource to tangibly help me. In my next post I will share some of the insights from her book that have encouraged my heart during this time as well as have given me practical strategies to truly let the fears go and trust God.
It reminds me of a bracelet I bought recently that sums up these thoughts as well as totally signifies this pregnancy journey for me:
“Let it Go.
Surrender your fear.
Nurture your soul.”
Or another way to say it:
“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation,
by prayer and petition,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”