Redeeming Motherhood is a series of posts where women open up about some of the struggles they've faced as mothers and how the Lord has redeemed those situations and brought beauty from them. Check out all the posts in the Redeeming Motherhood series here. (And if you want to share your own story of hope and healing, please check out the bottom of the post for instructions!)
Many thanks to Amanda of Our Trek and Core Spring Design for today's Q&A. She had her son, Evan, just a couple months before I had Claire, so I always enjoyed reading her insights and where they were in the process. Here she shares more about a big decision she struggled to make as a new mom and God's graciousness through it...
Describe one of the hardships you’ve faced as a mother. What made this time so difficult?
I ended up going back to work when Evan was 9 weeks old. I wanted to at least try being a working mom before I decided it wasn’t for me. The week Evan started daycare, he ended up going through a growth spurt. By the time I arrived at the daycare at noon to nurse Evan, he’d already taken all three bottles and was hungry for more. Unable to feed him, the daycare workers had left him crying on the floor. It was undeniable at this point that the best place for my son was with me.
What were some of the emotions you were feeling during this time?
During my maternity leave, the thought of going back to work just made me depressed and pretty much sick. I took an extra three weeks of unpaid maternity leave rather than going back after six weeks, but during those last weeks I felt even worse. I was just avoiding the inevitable and I wanted to get it over with. The time I should have spent enjoying my baby was spent dreading returning to work. Once I was back at work, I felt emotionally and physically drained. I wasn’t giving the best of myself to my husband, to my son, or to my job. I didn’t want to keep working, but it still wasn’t easy to walk away from the job I’d had nearly four years and the benefits and security it gave our family. I spent a lot of time agonizing over pros and cons and making calculations.
How did the Lord speak to you during this time? How did he bring redemption or healing to you?
To be honest, continuing to work outside the home felt like I was disobeying God. I even told my husband at one point that I felt like Jonah. This is not because I think it’s unbiblical for women to work but because I really didn’t feel it was God’s plan for me. While I was still pregnant, I remember sitting in church and feeling very convicted that I needed to quit my job and stay home when Evan was born. But instead, I basically told God, “Well, you’re probably right, but just in case, let me try this anyway.” I don’t recommend ever trying to disobey God’s calling.
Just four weeks after returning from maternity leave, I finally felt at peace about leaving my job and gave my two week notice. A lot of it came down to this: At the end of my life, what will I regret? Will I be more likely to regret having less money during this time in our lives and being in debt a little longer, or missing out on the first year of Evan’s life? There’s a lot more to life than money, and I needed to be at home with my son.
Is there a Bible verse that you think speaks poignantly to this experience? It can be one you clung to during that time or that, looking back, seems particularly fitting.
Matthew 6:31 says “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’” I know staying home isn’t the right choice for every mother, but if it’s possible for you to do and that’s the direction God is leading you, just do it. He’ll take care of you. Although my husband and I were prepared to live on just his income, God had other plans for us. Without doing much to promote my freelance graphic design business, I’ve already had more work than I expected to have this year. Rather than saying “But how, God?” I should have just let him show me how.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Amanda is a wife and new mom to a baby boy. She spends naptime running a freelance graphic design business, Core Spring Design, and blogging about her family's journey at Our Trek.
If you are interested in contributing to the Redeeming Motherhood series, contact me with your responses to the questions in this post. Include a short bio and a photograph, if you like. It's not necessary to have your own blog, just a heart and a story to share!