Unspoken Vows

(This is a motherhood essay I wrote about a year or so ago. It never made it to this blog till now, but I think it is worth sharing <3) 

The day I married my husband our vows to one another were spoken aloud. One hundred and fifty people heard me promise, “I do” to my husband. We promised till death would we remain together. In sickness or in health he would be my number one. For richer or poorer he would stand by my side. And like that, I became a wife in front of a crowd of people and God.

wedding photography from waves and lilacs and c.noelle photography
On the day my son was born unspoken vows were made. Even before his entry I had vowed to help his arrival be as smooth and healthy as possibly. Immediately following his birth, I knew that my son needed the warmth of my skin, milk to nourish him and an unending amount of love. There was never a paper to sign giving me permission to birth him. No rules were written out that I would feed him, swaddle him, rock him and love him. Yet in that moment, whether it be consciously or unconsciously, I vowed to protect that tiny human being with all the intensity and fierceness I possessed as his mother.

When my husband and I were married, we had a lovely week following our vows in the Caribbean. It contained perfection. I had a drink in my hand, the sun on my back and the man of my dreams beside me sleeping for ten hours a night.

But we all know that is not how the first week of motherhood goes. I had baggy clothes, mesh underwear, and a baby who wanted to eat all day long. I was lucky when I got four hours of uninterrupted sleep and grateful when someone else would take the baby in the morning for an hour so I could sleep that much longer. I woke up to crying instead of to the sound of the ocean and my cocktail was in actuality soggy cereal.

motherhood children mom of two

Those unspoken vows of protection, comfort and health began to be put to the test right away. My entire self being was dedicated to this child’s needs, and no matter how difficult it was, I was in it for the long run. I love this child more than life itself. Those vows tied me to him and him to me.

I know our relationship will change as he grows older and more independent. In fact, for the first time this week, he ignored my hand (check, he looked at it and continued walking) as I tried to hold it and walk alongside him. I watched that waddling toddler go ahead of me and beamed with pride at what he could do without me. I know I’ll beam with pride when he takes his first job or enrolls in college. I might shed a tear or three hundred, though.

Motherhood is bittersweet. We vow to raise them into tiny adults who will make tremendous decisions from the minds we helped mold. We vow to teach them the rights and wrongs and blacks and whites and often times, those gray areas we don’t want to touch with a ten foot stick. We vow to be our best but allow them to see our weaknesses also. We vow a listening ear and arms to hold. We vow everything from the moment those lines turn pink on the bathroom sink. We vow them motherhood forever.

xo, bethany rose

An essay at Mother.ly

Before Hadley was born I wrote an essay about the end of pregnancy. I submitted it online and then kind of forgot about it to be honest. Well a couple weeks ago I got a message that  Mother.ly had accepted it and decided to publish it. I was so excited!!!

Then this week I got notice that it had officially gone live on their site. I wanted to share it with y’all. Thank you for reading here and I hope you enjoy it there.

“It will only be so much longer that my son runs over to me to kiss and hug my belly, unknowingly kissing and hugging his little sibling from the outside world….People will stop genuinely asking how I am feeling….Seats will not be miraculously opened anymore for the woman with a huge belly…It will not be forever that my husband whispers his love to an unseen child, telling them about the world they will soon enter.”

Read the full essay here, “There’s no way to speed up this pregnancy, so perhaps I should slow down.

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xo, bethany rose

My [raw] Motherhood Essays #2

edited to add: I’ve received such wonderful feedback on this already and I am so appreciative of that. I did want to reiterate though that I realize this “resting period” is a season. With our son we had him in China at 6 months of age and did a lot with him. This time is just different–and that’s okay with us. It’s still early 🙂 

It was a summer with one item on the bucket list and it wasn’t a traditional item either. A summer where I learned to just say, “Oh well.” A summer where whatever happened happened and I learned to say, “Next year.” As I planned for this summer I even kept my hopes and lists down and yet I still felt the sting of disappointment. Disappointment that was soon turned into a smile exchanged between my husband and me because we knew….we knew it was just a season.

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When I found out I was due with our second baby at the beginning of the summer (bucket list: check!) , I shrugged it off and said, “No plans. No commitments. We’ll just stay home all summer and adjust to life with two. ” And while that is what we did for a large portion of it, I soon realized my whatever attitude might not be enough to glide through.  I came up with a tiny list of things I’d like to do over the summer. I made it small and simple:

1. Blueberry pick.

2.Work on my photography.

3.Go hiking.

4. Roadtrip to our friends’ house 4 hours away.

5. A day at the beach

Instead this is what happened: We arrived to pick blueberries on a somewhat rainy day just as the baby needed to eat. My husband and son started picking without us and by the time I was done, the rain was in full swing. They returned to the car with a small bag of berries and I never left the car.

Work on photography? If you count pictures of my new baby, that’s about it.

Oh, we went on a hike. It actually went really great. But the amount of time it took to figure out food for a gluten intolerant child with limited options, picking a place to hike that was over an hour away and a baby that was still eating every two hours…well let’s just say we did it only once.

And as for our road trip to see our friends, I got the phone call en route that my grandfather had passed away. That road trip turned into two back to back trips and sleeping in five different  places that week.  I did, however, get my beach day in.

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If there was one thing that could make me slow down, it was the birth of my daughter. My daughter has showed me that I cannot do everything. Nay, I should not do everything. Even more, four months later I still find myself quitting things and saying no to things as I just try to survive and navigate “mom of two” life. I find it ironic that my daughter’s name in Hebrew means “resting” or “rest of God.” I feel like that is literally being thrust upon me and I have no choice but to “give up.”

It can be a negative or positive thing depending on your outlook. I never wanted to be someone who stopped doing things because I had children. Go ahead. Laugh. Judge me. While I admit it part way has to do with pride, it also has to do with the belief that I think too many people really put their kids in front of themselves too much and stop doing things. Please. Let me explain.

I want to give my children the world. I want to be selfless and teach, love and show them what it means to be a kind human and love Jesus with all their hearts. My prayer every day is that my children will be in Heaven with me eternally. I will do anything in my power to be a catalyst in that relationship.

So when I talk about people putting their children in front of them I mean this: we are parents but we are also wives, friends, daughters and workers/volunteers/etc. here on earth. We need to take care of ourselves. We need to still find our identity in Jesus and pursue passions and talents of ours. As parents though, I realize we might not be able to pursue it 100% as we did before. But we can still pursue it to some degree. I believe finding that balance lies in conversation with God and your husband and possibly a mentor if you have one.

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Ok, that was a long tangent. I digress.

 I am learning to rest. I am learning to say, “not this season” or “just because we can’t do that now, doesn’t meant we never will.” I may or may not have started that mentality with some kicking and screaming. But I am at peace now. I am at peace that I made it to the beach once this summer. I am at peace that we ate outside for one meal. I am at peace that a new summer wardrobe was not bought. I am at peace that we didn’t even make it to the zoo.

I’m learning to focus on specific things in life and not 842 of them. It’s making me really think about what I want to spend my time on and where it should be. TV has become a luxury at times.

I look at my son and he has no idea he spent his summer playing at a water table we found on the side of the road and going to the same park repeatedly. He’s happy he has a new sister and his family eats dinner together every night, even if we ate pasta salad entirely ten too many times.

I look at my husband. He knows what I have learned. His summer was not what he hoped either. He made it on maybe five motorcycle rides this summer, a number entirely too low for him. He is the most laid back, kind man I know though and I am grateful our children have his attitude and character to look up to.

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And I look at my daughter amd I think, “You did this.” She slowed us down. Her presence made us rethink our commitments and hammer down where we are meant to focus our talents. She is teaching us to rest. Even if I am kicking and screaming.

xo, bethany rose