Motherhood Looks Different Than I Thought It Would


Motherhood Looks Different Than I Thought It Would I will never forget those challenging weeks after I became a mother for the first time. My baby was colicky and seemed to never stop crying. He required constant motion or rocking. Whenever I briefly set him down in his pack n’ play to go use the bathroom or try to get something cooking on the stove for dinner, he would scream at a pitch that rattled my eardrums. Attending to another human being’s every need around the clock (all while I was trying to physically recover from giving birth) was exhausting in a way that I never knew possible. I remember the feeling of disillusionment hitting me hard. I scrolled through Facebook, looking at updates from childless friends who were out attending concerts and having beach days while I felt like a prisoner in my own living room.

Why didn’t anyone warn me it would be like this?

I was by no means expecting uninterrupted maternal bliss, but adjusting to that new normal was probably one of the hardest life transitions I had ever undergone. Motherhood looked a lot different than I thought it would.  

Dealing with newborn life wasn’t the last time I would have a revelation about the difficulties of motherhood. Getting divorced years later and struggling through the ordeal of sharing custody of my children has opened my eyes to one of the most prevalent challenges that divorced mothers face. I was the one who stayed up with them all night when they were sick and Pinterest-planned every birthday party. Now I’m only witness to half of their birthdays, Christmases, and first days of school. The frequent separation, no matter how short-lived or temporary, creates a distance. My bond with my children has irrevocably shifted, and it’s definitely not what I expected motherhood during these years to look like.

Watching my tribe of fellow moms fight their own difficult battles has also given me a newfound respect for the hardship that motherhood often requires. 

Sometimes motherhood looks like injecting needles into your pregnant belly on a daily basis to keep your growing baby healthy and safe. 

Sometimes it looks like endless trips to a fertility specialist and whispered prayers in the middle of the night as you long for a child you’ve never met. 

Sometimes it looks like waiting months (or even years) on an adoption list. It looks like getting your hopes up every time the phone rings, and feeling devastated when a different family was chosen. 

Sometimes it looks like fostering children for an undetermined length of time. Sometimes they want to live with you, and sometimes they don’t. You take them in on short notice, not knowing if you’ll have them for two days or two years. But you are mother to them all, regardless of the length of time they spend under your roof.  

Sometimes it looks like being a stepmother, and continuing to attend their gymnastics meets and celebrate birthdays even though the marriage didn’t work out. Because you will always have a special bond with those kids (your kids), regardless of the divorce. 

Sometimes it looks like sleeping in an uncomfortable chair next to your child’s hospital bed, watching her take slow, steady breaths by the lights and beeps of too many monitors, desperately wishing you could take her place instead. 

Motherhood looks different than I thought it would. It’s more heartbreaking and more difficult than I ever could have imagined before embarking on this journey. But as it turns out, we moms are also a whole lot stronger than we looked at first. <3


  1. Rachel, you have faced every challenge in your life with so much strength and determination! I don’t know how you do it sometimes. God does not promise us a painless blissful life, but He does say that He’ll be with us through every storm. I have experienced that in my life and I see it in yours too! Different storms but the same promises hold true! So proud of you! Mom


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