When my first child Maija was born and I was home with her pretty much full time, I felt like with this blessing of a beautiful baby girl also came a new kind of challenge I'd never experienced before. I felt like I would never have any freedom ever again and that my whole existence revolved around feedings and diaper changes. It's that fog that a mother goes through with every new baby, but with the first it's the scariest because you don't know yet that at some point you will get more than 2 hours of sleep at a time.
It was during this newborn fog that I complained to my mother about my feelings of isolation and lack of freedom. My mother said a very wise thing to me. She told me that there are times and seasons for everything and the day would come when my children would be older, and I'd have the time and freedom that I missed so much. That thought has gotten me through many a difficult day of crying children, constant messes, and unending diaper changes.
One of the things that I gave up in order to focus on having, adopting and raising babies was my career as a teacher and future professor. I was a PhD student in Education when Maija was born and after a year of struggling to continue the program (and after being told by one of my professors that I had no business having babies while I was getting a PhD...story for another day), I finally decided to quit the program. Although there were a lot of things that led me to quit, the primary reason was my desire to have children and raise them myself. Several friends and family members tried to convince me to continue, but once I prayed about it, I knew it was the right decision for me. Although it was a painful experience, it ended up being a blessing for our whole family. I know now that if I had stayed in the program we would never have had Rebekah because of the pressures to not have children while in school.
Have I ever regretted my decision? No. Have I given up on being an educator and getting my PhD someday? No. Because I know that there are times and seasons for everything. Now is my time to raise my four little children and focus on being a mother. The day will come when I will have the time and freedom to continue school if I so choose. And, interestingly I have been slowly and almost imperceptibly moving into a new season with my children now that my baby is almost 18 months and we have no plans for any more babies (see my previous post here for more on that.). For the first time in six years I am teaching again as a substitute teacher, and I'm loving it. I'm able to pick and choose when and how much I work, and I can still be home most of the time with the kids. I feel blessed to be a mother and blessed to be a teacher again. I can see now that my mother was exactly right. Nothing ever stays the same, and we don't have to be or do all things at once. As women, we can have it all, but it doesn't have to be all right now!!!