As believers in Christ everything about our self worth is supposed to be rooted and founded in our salvation in Christ.
In the last few years I’ve seen this belief be undone in some of the most beautiful women I know. This belief has been undone by the expectations and pressures based on expectations and ideas about the ideal mother.
Here’s the ideal mother: she has an all natural childbirth. Whether is takes 2 hours or 80, she cranks out babies while barely breaking a sweat and enduring mind searing pain. She does it with a joyous smile, hair in place, and with make-up on that magically resists sweat. After that she’s a master at breast feeding. It comes completely “natural” to her. Her baby latches like a pro right away, her nipples don’t chap, and she immediately begins storing 800 ounces a day. She does all this while keeping her house perfectly clean, executing a new Pinterest recipe and craft each day, and running 3-5 miles. She only uses cloth diapers because everything else is toxic. She is wearing all of her pre-baby clothes two weeks after giving birth along with only wearing her baby because swings and bouncers are impersonal. Everything is just perfect!
That is a ridiculous, extreme picture, but I’ve heard different women talk about each of these things like they are the end all options if you love God and your baby. The thing about this much perpetuated ideal is that identity becomes tied into it. We see ourselves based on how we compare to this instead of through the eyes of a sovereign God who ransomed us. You were ransomed because you were worth it, but somewhere along the way we marry these ideas that this is what birthing a child and motherhood are supposed to look like. I use the expression “marry the idea” because this picture is held onto with that kind of tenacity. When we hold onto something like this idea instead of walking with an open hand before The Lord in all things, we shatter when things don’t go this way. It wipes us out. It breaks us. We get destroyed. Why? Again, it’s because we see our value through success in these things instead of who Jesus calls us. Throughout scripture He calls us beautiful names that reflect His affection and love for YOU. OPEN YOUR HAND AND LET GO OF THESE IDEAS! They are a weight that tethers and drowns you. They are not the truth.
Here’s the truth: some women have beautiful all-natural birthing experiences. Some women have unplanned, emergency measures taken to save their children from danger. Why is either situation viewed as being better than the other? One IS NOT better than the other. In each situation God brings life forth and grows His kingdom through families. Why do we see ourselves as less if it’s not the first mentioned? We don’t get to write our story. We are just a part of God’s story, and His way is best in all situations. Over and over I was asked, “Are you going to have a natural birth? Really? Why not?” I wanted to with Lauren, but when my blood pressure soared so high that I became dangerously hypertensive, I had an epidural. The want to do it the “right” way made me hold out longer than I should have. After having the epidural, everything went smoothly, and I never regretted it. There is no shame in having those procedures done, and it’s not a measure of being better if you don’t.
You may not ever be able to breast feed. You may not ever have your milk come in. You may feed your baby for a while and then have low supply or continuous infections that make it necessary to stop and use formula. YOU ARE NO LESS A GREAT MOM, AND YOU HAVE NOT FAILED. The best thing you can give your husband and children is a healthy you. Don’t let your worth be tied to something like this. Be rooted in the word of God. Remember that you were worth His Son. Your house may be messy, and you may have picked up Chick-fil-A three nights this week, but you are no less ANYTHING because of that. You may not get back to your pre-pregnancy size in months or years. You are no less beautiful and cherished.
These ideas of an ideal have done a lot more damage than good, and if we can spur each other on as women and show love to each other by removing the heavy weight of value attached to them, then we are serving each other in love. You are enough. You are worth it. You have not failed. Breathe in and breathe out praying diligently for peace and reassurance in who God calls you. You belong to Him so He names you, not these situations.