I’ve always known that I was called to motherhood. I couldn’t picture my life any other way. I wanted to get married and have kids when I grew up. The number of kids always changed as I got older. First it was three kids just like my parents had. Then it turned to five kids. After I met my husband my number changed to four kids just like he and his siblings.
My husband and I wanted to have children right away after we got married. We were fortunate enough to get pregnant a few months after our wedding like we had hoped. We found out we were having a little boy and realized our perfect family was beginning.
I had so many plans. I wanted to be pregnant for the full 40 weeks, then have a natural birth and breastfeed. I couldn’t wait to witness all the milestones that he could learn on his own like rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking, and talking all within the first year of life. I was excited to go to the school plays, choir concerts, and sporting events. I imagined my kids would grow up to be whatever made them happy.
God had different plans and gave me something better than perfection. He gave me a son that would be born five weeks premature due to lack of movement in the womb. A little miracle that would spend seven weeks in the NICU, then come home on a feeding tube. A little boy that would struggle with every single milestone that would eventually lead to an autism diagnosis at three years old. A son that has taught me empathy and compassion. He’s the definition of happiness.
This wasn’t the start to motherhood I had imagined.
He gave me another son also born with complications. Physical disabilities that kept him in the NICU after birth for four weeks, then in and out of hospital for eight surgeries in the first two years of his life. A little fighter that never gives up. A boy that works so hard during his therapy sessions to be able to catch up to his peers. Someone who shows me forgiveness day after day. He’s taught me patience and understanding.
This wasn’t how the beginning of motherhood was supposed to be.
God then gave me a daughter who also spent a few weeks in the NICU. A little girl who’s a lot like her oldest brother. Same genetic diagnosis and delays but not as severe. A sassy and fearless daughter who can keep up with her brothers. Someone who adds such a beautiful dynamic to our family. She keeps everyone on their toes. A little girl who taught me how to believe in myself again.
This journey of motherhood is very different than I thought it would be. I didn’t carry to 40 weeks during pregnancy with any of my babies. I had three C-sections. I wasn’t able to breastfeed; two of my kids had feeding tubes. The milestones come after working on them for months, sometimes years. Sometimes they don’t come at all.
This wasn’t the start to motherhood I had imagined. God gave me three babies that need a lot of help and even more love. Some people think I’m special or a superhero. Others tell me I’m strong and brave. To me, I’m just a mom doing what moms do. We love our children. We cherish what’s been given to us. Our family isn’t perfect. It doesn’t need to be. We have each other and that’s all that matters.
This wasn’t the journey of motherhood I had imagined. It’s even better.
Kate lives in Colorado with her husband and three children. You can read her writing at her blog This Special Journey.