Written by monthly contributor, Emily Pastor.
My husband and I were planning a bike tour across Europe when we found out about our first pregnancy. We planned to quit our jobs in a year’s time and head off on an adventure for three months of cycling and seeing the world. I was 22 years old. With places to see and adventures to enjoy, a baby just wasn’t on our itinerary.
Although we welcomed the news, it also came at an unexpected time. I believe that children are a blessing from the Lord, so why did I feel such a mixture of joy and grief throughout my pregnancy? All around me, women struggled to conceive, adopt, or carry to term the babies they so desperately wanted. It seemed so shameful and ungrateful to hold even a hint of sadness regarding such a gift of life.
Every Woman Experiences Different Emotions Regarding Pregnancy
Many women enter motherhood with the utmost joy and abandon. Many women enter motherhood with grief from less than ideal circumstances. Many women desperately desire to enter motherhood but face grief due to infertility, miscarriages, and adoption delays. I am not qualified or equipped to speak about the emotions in each of these circumstances. I can only relate my experience and hope it encourages other women facing a pregnancy with mixed emotions.
New Life Born from Sacrifice
A seed cannot bear fruit unless it first falls to the ground and dies. In marriage, spouses must die to their independent life and choices to promote a united life together. Jesus Christ Himself couldn’t bring us true life without first giving up His own. Each of these “new lives” were born out of sacrifice and death. It is right and true that grief accompanies the greatest of joys.
Grief comes through the realization of what must “die” to bring about new life. I grieved for the loss of personal freedom. I grieved for the loss of alone time with my husband. I grieved the unknown changes that were ahead of me. I grieved for the delay in travel plans. And while I knew the joy set before me would be worth these sacrifices, I still felt grief in the midst of that joy.
Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.
A Harvest of Joy
With the arrival of our daughter, grief remained. I felt it in the new and daily sacrifices mothering required, but as my daughter grew so did my joy and delight in mothering. My husband and I haven’t cycled across Europe yet, and I haven’t actually ridden my bike in two years, but as my daughter and I walk hand in hand on a crisp fall day, somehow those things don’t seem so important anymore. Joy is replacing grief. The new life that started so small in me, now produces joy a hundred-fold daily. Yes, motherhood is hard work. Yes, there are times of grief and sacrifice, but I now know from experience that great sacrifices produce the greatest harvests of joy.
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
What emotions have you experienced regarding transitions into pregnancy/motherhood?