The Best Things are the Hard Things

The best things are the hard things…Or at least they usually are and they most definitely are when it comes to motherhood.

Y’all, motherhood is Hard. In bold. With a capital H. There have been moments where I’ve thought, guiltily I might add, “Why/How do people do this?”

And then of course my little girl smiles at me and I immediately remember why. This is why people do this.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. People are not kidding when they tell you how hard it is and they’re also not kidding when they tell you its worth it.

I think, for a long time, I equated something being hard with something being awful but I’ve reconsidered my stance. Hard things sometimes feel awful in the moment, but often they wind up being the best things.

I was listening to a podcast the other day comparing motherhood to running a marathon. Training for a marathon is no doubt, hard. It’s also not something I even remotely want to do, but that doesn’t mean I can’t understand the analogy. Marathon runners don’t wake up one day and run 26.2 miles. They train and strain and sweat and endure. I bet it’s grueling. I imagine they wake up early to practice, rain or shine or hail or snow. They watch what they eat. They make sacrifices. They get shin splints and sprained ankles. I imagine they sometimes feel like giving up and wonder, “why/how do people do this?”

But, then I also imagine when racing day arrives. Sure, there’s adrenaline and nerves probably (there would be for me, for sure), but I imagine as they run they may feel what people call the “runner’s high”, an explosion of endorphins. The euphoria they feel (totally not what I feel when I run, but I’m not a marathon runner). And, then, as they cross that finish line, maybe they have their best time, maybe they don’t but I imagine the sense of accomplishment they must feel. What a feat! What an incredible achievement. I’m sure it’s a major boost to the self-esteem. I’m sure they’re in amazing physical shape. I’m sure they think, “This is why people do this.”

Hard, and simultaneously maybe the best thing they’ve ever done.

Something they’ll never forget. Something they can hold on to. Something they can always feel proud of.

Well, newsflash: bringing a child into the world is not easy. Pregnancy can be rough. Labor and delivery can be excruciating and difficult. Breastfeeding doesn’t come easy. Lack of sleep is torturous. The family pets don’t always immediately love this screaming, swaddled bundle you’ve just brought home. Throw in some postpartum depression or anxiety all while learning to take care of a tiny little person, whom you’ve just met, and it’s very easy to think, “how/why do people do this?”

That’s just the newborn phase, the fourth trimester.

Motherhood is hard. You’re learning, they’re learning. You’ve changed. Life’s changed. Forever. The magnitude of that reality is difficult to wrap your mind around.

But, the love. Whether it’s there from the get-go, or whether it grows over time (my experience was a little bit of both), it will absolutely sweep you off of your feet.

When your baby smiles at you or grabs your finger with their entire tiny hand or when they fall asleep on your chest without a care in the world. Every little milestone. Their personality emerging. Their innocent eyes, full of trust and wonder. Their excitement over the seemingly smallest of things.

The fierceness of that love, you’ll feel that too. The instinctual protection. The desire to shield them from pain. Wanting to savor every moment with them because my goodness, they’re getting so big, while at the same time looking forward to who they will become.

It’s a packaged deal, motherhood. The euphoric moment of the “runner’s high love for your child” that you feel intermixed with the shin splints of sleepless nights and poopy diapers and boring children’s songs and the absolute lack of free time (which is the thing I miss the most). You can’t have one without the other.

Motherhood is one of those things. The hardest and the best thing. It will stretch you. You will have moments where you think, “why/how do people do this?” and you will have moments where you think, “I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

You can absolutely feel both at the same time.

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