The deep, intense, and unconditional love I have for my daughter is a Iove I didn’t even know I was capable of. And not just how much I love her but how much I love being her mommy.
Motherhood was not always an aspiration of mine. While I figured I would someday have children, I did not grow up dreaming about the day I would have my own baby and be a mom. I never had a very good representation of what family was all about. What I knew of family was mostly pain, heartache, drama, lies, deceit, neglect, drug addiction. Even church families I lived with in my teen years oozed with dysfunction.
I did not grow up with the value of family deeply instilled in me. And thus having a family of my own never felt like a priority. I falsely believed that having children meant that my life would cease to exist. That I would become a hollow shell of a person with no dreams or life of my own. Bleak outlook, eh? The funny thing was that I actually loved kids. I was a nanny and baby-sitter for years. But they were not my kids and I was not solely responsible for them. I got to enjoy their cuteness and then hand them back over.
Over time, in my relationship with Ryan, my views slowly began to change. His family was warm and kind and actually knew how to love each other. Not perfect, as no family is, but they loved each other well. And I would see Ryan with kids and see how great he was with them, and I saw a man that would make a great father some day. The type of father that the world desperately needs more of.
When we married I knew we would someday start a family, but that day was distant and not at all on my radar. So much so that I feared my world would crumble if I accidentally got pregnant before I was ready. Ryan, on the other hand, had baby fever. He was happy to wait until I was ready and enjoyed the time with just the two of us, but he longed to be a Father. We talked about waiting five years. We both wanted time to travel, to dream, to be young and just enjoy life (And in my mind all fun/joy/happiness was bound to cease once we became parents. Ridiculous, I now know.). So we waited. But the trouble was, even as years passed by I still kept saying “five more years.” The time never decreased, and I liked keeping it a vague distant plan.
One night, after two years of marriage, in our apartment up in LA, Ryan finally shared his heart with me. His dreams of being a father. How being a Dad was at the top of his list. I listened to my sweet Husband talk about his family and our future family, and why it was important to him. How he didn’t like the vague “five years” that should’ve become three years at that point. My eyes filled with tears and my heart softened. Of course I wanted to have kids with him. In the end, I was just terrified. Filled with so much fear around the whole subject of having a family and being a mom. Fear that I would be a bad mom. Fear that it would ruin our marriage. Fear that it would ruin my body. Fear that we wouldn’t have enough money. Fear that we’d never get to travel. Fear that I would be unhappy. Fear. Fear. Fear. It was paralyzing. I prayed and gave it over to God and slowly, over time, the fear gave way to hope and even optimism.
As time passed and more of our family and friends had children of their own, I began to see how skewed my perception had been. I even began to dream about having some little nuggets of our own. About how it might actually be pretty wonderful.
My viewpoint on my career even changed, as I realized how much I wanted to raise a family. The time I spent working various jobs and pursuing acting helped me see that it wasn’t all I thought it would be. Having a family became a priority, even over my career. I started to see the value in it. The immense value and importance of family and raising children. I think I did more growing in that one year of my life than in all the previous years combined.
And then before I knew it, after over three years of marriage, I started to feel ready. Even sooner than I thought I would. At this point we had paid off some debt and gotten into a better place financially, and had moved to Orange County into a bigger place. We’d been praying and talking about it for several months… And then one afternoon, we were walking around the lake near our house, and we decided to start trying and see what happened. The next month I was pregnant with our sweet little Eveleigh.
In the beginning of my pregnancy I was afraid to get too excited. Just in case something happened. I was nervous when we walked into our first doctors appointment and ultrasound, but then I heard my little baby’s heartbeat for the first time and my heart welled with love. Throughout my pregnancy my love continued to grow until finally, on the day she was born, my heart was so full I thought it might burst.
And every day, even the hard ones, has been a blessing. And I am just so so grateful for my little family, and so grateful for the privilege of being a mom. ♥