The Crown of Motherhood
BY: KELLY JOY FJESTAD
As I sit by the pool and watch my children play frisbee, I am so thankful I wear the crown of motherhood. It has not been an easy crown, but it has been so worth it.
I first put on this crown almost 16 years ago as my oldest son entered the world. His delivery almost killed him, but God’s grace is bigger than a doctor’s human error. People used to ask if he was a good baby and I never really knew how to answer. He wasn’t bad, but he was high maintenance — always wanting to be held, sung to, walked and rocked. We spent the first year of his life just me and him 24 hours a day, every day. We didn’t live near family and my husband was working and going to school full-time, so it was just me and Baby #1.
I miscarried Baby #2. It’s a feeling of loss that is hard to explain. How can you miss someone you never met? How can this tiny, tiny little life leave such a giant hole in yours? But it does.
Baby #3 came along shortly after. He was a happy baby. So chill. He confirmed my thought that Baby #1 was in fact high maintenance. He threw off our schedule. Baby #1 and I stayed up late and slept in late. Baby #3 preferred to go to bed early and get up early. So, I didn’t get much sleep as I stayed up late with Baby #1 and got up early with Baby #3.
This turned out to be preparation for Baby #4 because he never slept. Like never! He didn’t sleep for more than 45 minutes straight for the first three and a half months of his life. Ugh! But we survived!
Baby #5 was a week overdue, and I had decided I did not want to go through another delivery. I had my first three deliveries with very minimal pain medication — like one shot right before I had to push. But this time, I decided an epidural was the way to go. I have since decided natural birth should not earn you praise instead, you should be locked in a rubber room for choosing to endure such horrific pain when there is a perfectly good alternative! (Shout out to all the moms who want to go the natural route! I might think you’re crazy, but I support your decision!)
That epidural was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I literally laughed through the entire delivery. A huge switch from the screaming I did through the first one.
With Baby #6, I asked for the epidural at my first OB appointment. I didn’t want to risk not being able to have it. Unfortunately, my OB wouldn’t let me get it until I was actually in labor. Ha! Baby #6 was the first girl in a long line of brothers. She added an element of sparkle to our family I couldn’t imagine living without.
Those first years were hard! Very hard! I rarely slept. I had five kids ages six and under. What was I thinking?!? To be honest, I have very few memories from that time in my life. It’s all kind of a blur of diapers, nursing, sippy cups, tantrums, and tears.
But we made it!
If I could give one piece of advice to a new mom it would be: God chose YOU to be that baby’s mama! And He did it for a reason. You have something that baby needs and that baby has something you need. Don’t compare yourself to everyone else. Just be you! That’s what your child really needs.
I don’t cook gourmet meals every night. In fact, I’m lucky if I remember to add a vegetable to go with the frozen pizza. I don’t throw the best birthday parties and I probably let them watch too much TV. But I love those kids! I spend as much time with them as I can. I tell them how proud I am of them and how amazing they are. We watch movies together and go to the pool. And most importantly, we love Jesus together.
As I watch my kids develop their own faith, I realize my purpose is to point them to Jesus. They might not remember or appreciate all the sacrifices I have made to raise them, but I pray they will always remember the sacrifice Jesus made to save them.
This crown of motherhood doesn’t always feel beautiful. Sometimes it is heavy and covered in smudges. Sometimes it feels downright suffocating. But I am convinced every stretch mark, every sleepless night, and every tear spilt wondering if I was doing the right thing is all worth it when I remember I get to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these little lives He has entrusted me to raise.
Oh, and the best thing you can do for another mom is to straighten her crown, wipe the sticky fingerprints off her dress and remind her she can do this!
Kelly is a wife and mother of five children living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She is an ordained minister and author of PAUSED: Protecting Your Faith When God Says "Wait" and Pursuit: The Cross. For more info visit: kellyjoy.org