There are endless benefits to being a mother. No matter the dose you’ve been given, motherhood will result in a long series of moments that will bring you excessive amounts of joy. Your baby will look at you with eyes that say you are the most beautiful woman in the world. Your toddler will lay a big wet kiss on your lips, and you will realize this is the person that you’ve waited for all your life, when you didn’t even know you’d been waiting. The words “I love you” will leave your child’s innocent lips and silence all the other noise around you.
A simple hug with little arms circled around your neck will make you long for nothing else. The laughter from a child will fill a room so full that you’ll think it might explode, along with your heart. You will experience immeasurable peace as you silently watch the rise and fall of a sleeping child’s chest, your heart swelling with love.
Motherhood heals places in your soul that you didn’t know were broken and it fills places in your heart that you didn’t know were empty.
But despite even the most wonderful of benefits, motherhood may also cause some serious side effects.
Exhaustion. Motherhood will cause you to lose countless nights of sleep. You will often be too tired to shower or even get dressed. You will spend your days managing children who refuse to adhere to the schedules you set. The piles of laundry and dirt on the floors with multiply, while the food in the pantry and money in the bank account disappear before your eyes. Your hands won’t be able to keep up with all the tasks needing attention, and just the thought of your to-do list will make you collapse.
A weakened immune system. Motherhood will cause your immune system to weaken due to your children contaminating the home with germs, parasites, and bacteria. Children regularly fail to wash their hands, use tissues, or cover their mouths when they cough. They sneeze on you, puke on you, and wipe boogers on you. You will become a victim of their bad habits and germs, as you find it impossible to avoid illness.
Worry. Motherhood will cause you to worry excessively, especially about your abilities as a mother. You will constantly question your mothering skills, and worry that you are not properly providing for your children in any capacity. The constant worry about their physical, emotional, and spiritual health will often make it difficult for you to function at all.
Stress. Motherhood will cause you to be excessively stressed, as you will be responsible for taking on more roles than that of just mother. You will become a chef, teacher, nurse, housecleaner, and chauffeur. You will take on the role of a security guard and HAZMAT worker. You will plan, schedule, and budget. You will be expected to carry out each of these roles, and more, all while caring for children who demand your constant attention. It’s a lot for one person to take on and these responsibilities may overwhelm you.
Mood swings. You may experience mood swings due to the unpredictability of motherhood. You may laugh, cry, and scream all within a 30 second time period. Children say the funniest things and are always good for a laugh. But they might also tell you they hate you while scribbling on the walls with crayons, just to spite you. Being a mother may shatter the sense of control that you once had, and while you try to accept this fact, it may be difficult to regulate your moods.
Loneliness. You may experience loneliness even though you will rarely have a moment alone. It will be difficult to connect with both old friends and new friends as your days will be packed with commitments to your children. You will miss your husband even when he’s standing right in front of you. Your role responsibilities outlined above will leave very little time for anyone else and adult interaction will become sparse.
There may be times when the side effects of motherhood seem to outweigh the benefits. You may question why you even accepted the dose you were offered, and you may wonder if it’s worth it.
When this happens, remember the benefits. The hugs and kisses. Looking into the eyes of a child whose life is complete simply because of you.
And then give yourself a generous dose of Jesus, and allow him to heal and restore your mind, body, and soul. With Him, you will find strength, courage and rest. He will help you to persevere through even the worst side effects and remind you why you were given the gift of motherhood in the first place.