Today I was talking to a friend of mine who is pregnant for the first time. She was sharing her excitement with me, her plans, fears and doubts. I couldn’t help the sadness I felt listening to her, knowing those doubts will only increase. I wanted to save her from it, to give her the grace she won’t give herself and I wanted her to know she is not alone. It got me to thinking about my journey into motherhood and how I survived my own uncertainties.
Doubt is the evil twin sister to motherhood. I find she sneaks into life when I’m doing my very best and deceives me. She was born along side my first child when he arrived still and silent. She quietly taunted me; “It’s Your fault, you don’t deserve him, you did this”.
She came again when I carried his healthy brother and sister; “They will not make it, you don’t deserve them, you did this”. And when the babies arrived, she only got louder and the hushed interjections turned into screams.
In those early post partum days when you cannot think past emotions and exhaustion, she was there questioning everything I did. Dr. Google was her backup, supporting her every claim. When my son wouldn’t eat or sleep, she was there to tell me what a bad job I was doing as his mother. When my 3 year old wouldn’t potty train or melted down publicly and nothing we did worked, she was there to hash out plans with my husband and I. Loud and accusatory and mean. She was there.
And she is here still. She can only be silenced with prayer. Prayer and cheerleaders. Those loving, encouraging cheerleaders I find in my tribe. If doubt is motherhood’s evil twin, then she is outnumbered by the many cousins in my sisterhood. A sisterhood that fills my cup with love, kindness and gentleness. Those voices that quiet the devil of doubt with grace, when I can’t be gentle with myself.