Growing Pains

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘growing pains’—and I hope not just as the title of the Kirk Cameron 80s sitcom. I remember as a teenager, my legs ached during a growth spurt. More vividly, I remember the sundry pains and discomforts of pregnancy as my baby (and belly) grew.

Despite these experiences, I tend to think of growth in rather innocuous terms. I just don’t imagine a germinating seed to be in any discomfort.

In the last few weeks, Hayden has begun his latest round of teething. Two new teeth have erupted, and two more are on the way. His pain has been tormenting us all lately, and no amount of acetaminophen is helping. Often, I’m tempted to tell my poor little boy, “Life’s rough—and then you die.”

While the statement has become a cliché among mothers, as I deal with his frustrated cries, I’m reminded that life is rough—and not just for my preverbal toddler. Between keeping him happy and out of the cat’s litterbox, and keeping the house clean and the family fed, I often have trouble keeping my sanity intact.

Whenever I start to feel that I’ve gotten the hang of this motherhood thing, something changes and I have to start all over again. When I was just starting out as a mother, I felt as though I might drown in motherhood. It was so completely overwhelming to have someone who needed you so completely, so often (okay, constantly).

Why was this so hard? Why would the calling of motherhood, one that I know is divinely appointed, make me feel as though I couldn’t bear another day of it? If this is how my life should be, why was I falling apart?

Why was motherhood so hard—so hard that my even my soul ached? How could this be God’s will for me if it made me feel so terrible?

I don’t think I really began to understand until I read this:

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house than the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 205)

I wanted to grow as a mother—but I wanted to be the seed. I wanted to have all of the benefits of motherhood (um… wait, wait, don’t tell me… 😉 ) without the work—and the pain.

But after giving birth, there’s no epidural for the rest of motherhood. And you know what? I’m beginning to believe that it’s a good thing, too. Besides, being a seed probably isn’t as easy as it looks.

For more posts on growth, see scribbit’s April Write-Away Contest Entries.

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3 thoughts on “Growing Pains

  1. I always thought that having small children was tough—I always thought I’d be better at mothering older children but when my daughter hit ten it hit me that things weren’t going to get easier, only harder and that I’d been kidding myself. There’s no easy age. Motherhood is tons more work than I thought it would be but also tons more fun.

  2. Thanks, Michelle, there goes another of my illusions as well!

    I was just reading a debate on another website about what age is easiest to parent, and I asked my mother for her opinion (her four daughters are 15-24). She said, “I really don’t remember.”

    I think that’s a good sign. I think.

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