Sunday, July 20, 2014

Motherhood Anxiety: Part 2 - Intense Love

As I’ve explained in the past, my feelings on becoming a mother are very complex, too complex for just one piece of writing to suffice. I got a lot of encouraging feedback and great opinions on my last post about motherhood. I thought I may as well continue the series and articulate some more of my anxieties. The more I write, the more clarity I get.

Those close to me and familiar with “personality tests” know very well that I am a blue personality. If you know anything about blues, you know that they love intensely, with just about everything they have within them. To be loved by a blue can be a pretty awesome experience, especially if you get to experience their romantic feelings. But to be loved in any regard by one of us is a gift.

From all of the tender things I’ve read about motherhood and parenthood in general, the feelings of love experienced by a parent seem to be indescribable. The feelings you must have for a perfect little Spirit straight from Heaven, whom you worked with your spouse to create, have to be completely amazing. It’s probably the closest to godliness we can feel on earth.

Let me explain why this scares me.

When I really sit and think about those I love most, and I mean really give it some deep thought, I get overwhelmed. I love my siblings so, so much. I don’t think my brothers have any idea how much love I have for them. I could try to explain it, and I could tell them a million different ways, but it just wouldn’t be enough. When I think of them hurting at all, when I have seen them or heard about them hurting each other, when I think of them hurting themselves, my heart breaks. The tears flow freely, the sobs from my chest are deep and painful. It’s like I’m being torn apart from the inside. More than anything, I want them to make good choices. I want them to love each other, themselves, and others. I don’t want any pain for them. And so run the already deep feelings of my blue personality.

You may not need me to explain any further, then, why becoming a mother scares the holy out of me. I am afraid, dear friends, that I just couldn’t handle the pain. I barely made it through my own, and sometimes I think the worst is yet to come! So many different types of pain come in our lives. We have to learn from it, and that is the purpose of life—to grow. We fall and make mistakes and have to learn to use the atonement both to obtain forgiveness and also to obtain comfort.

Parents, in all their love, can only try to prepare their children for the pain they will inevitably encounter. Then they have to sit and watch, often helplessly, when their very creations, their most beloved, experience copious, excruciating trials, or make awful, life-shattering decisions. Thinking of the pain my mother felt when I went through my first heartbreak, and the worry my dad feels to this day when I get hurt—these thoughts bring tears to my eyes. Knowing how they wished they could remove my pain, knowing how I wish I could remove the pain for my brothers, and knowing how that will be multiplied with my own children... This all is more than I think I can bear.

And so, I know. I know what you’ll all tell me. You love your kids and know they have to learn for themselves. You can prepare them in the Lord’s way, protect them from some things, but pain will come. Occasions will arise when you have to simply point your children to the Savior because you can’t help. And the only place for you as a parent will be to turn to the same One, because who better to succor you as a parent?

I don’t need explanation or encouragement from you, parent friends. These things I already know, but for you and others to simply acknowledge that this will be a reality for me—feeling the intense love and all the pain and frustration that go with it—that would be helpful to me. And so I know I’d draw closer to my Father in Heaven as I take on a role similar to His, insofar as our very limited human experience allows. That doesn’t make the future any less frightening.

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