Changing Role, Unchanging God
October, 2017: My husband and I were promoted to parenthood, now almost 7 months ago. When I gave birth to our son that day, I felt like a huge part of me died at the hospital, but only to be reborn: I am a mother now!
As the psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Stern explains in his books “The Birth of a Mother” and “The Motherhood Constellation,” giving birth to a new identity can be as demanding as giving birth to a baby. Dr. Stern explains that becoming a mother is a major identity shift. Well, I couldn’t agree more! Part of what magnified my own changing role and identity shift was living in a new place and not having parents and in-laws on hand during those first few weeks.
Living away from Lebanon (the place I had called home all my life), having our son arrive 2 weeks before his due date, and a sheer lack of luck made it hard for our parents to be with us right away . So, we were new parents in our own survival mode, trying to figure out what should come first: the diaper change or the feeding. And then came the existential questions: Who are we? What are we doing? Is he fine? Is he well fed? Is he happy? And the golden question: Are we good parents?
At the beginning, I was apprehensive after every weekend because it meant my husband would be going back to work and I would soon be back on survival mode alone with our little baby. I slowly came to realize that I was scared of the responsibility of my own son! I found myself not taking advantage of the blessing of time with my son and the opportunity for unconditional love imitating that of God, our heavenly father.
It was over time that I realized that nothing really died that day at the hospital, but rather I was given an opportunity to be reborn and to actively participate in God's creation. I was blessed enough to become a mother! And I love it! It's true that becoming a parent is basically synonymous with taking your very own heart out of your body and placing it there for the rest of your life, but most of the time giving is better than receiving and that's been my experience of parenthood - that losing my life, giving myself, is actually gaining something.“Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” (Luke 17:33)
This parenthood has been about purpose driven sacrifice that requires daily decisions, not just a one time choice. My everyday life is honestly not sunshine and rainbows; who are we kidding, there are days where I find myself cooking dinner using one hand and holding my son in the other. There are days I'm wishing that his nap would last just 15 minutes longer so I can finish the freelance project I'm working on, due in under an hour. But what matters most amidst all these things is that I'm not afraid of being a mother. On the contrary, I'm grateful that I can work from home, be with my son all day, see him grow and develop, laugh at his giggles, and cheer his accomplishments big and small (from holding his own bottle to sitting up unsupported). The blessings are in the details.
In most situations in life, there's no one size fits all; there's no perfect standardized template of a mother. Instead, perfect parenthood for me has been that which is ok with being imperfect and that which responds to the specific call and the much needed grace the Lord offers for every situation. At the end, yes the months and years pass by so quickly though the days might sometimes feel long, but what gives me peace is knowing that His grace is sufficient and His love is unconditional.
By Daisy Codouni
For more about Daisy see her bio in the "About Us" section