Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

Yes, I read those prenatal books. A whole stack of them. Some were hand-me-downs from friends and others I checked out of the library. I read the websites, too—the ones that compared my developing baby to the size of a blueberry or a plumquat each week. They told me what to expect as a first-time mom.

Although I read and reread about the first signs of labor, I somehow neglected to read any of the chapters or articles that told me what to expect if I needed a C-section. Call it optimism or naiveté, I didn’t expect an emergency C-section. My mom never had one, so why should I?

It wasn’t a shocker that I was six days past my due date. What caught me by surprise was that after repeated, confident assurances from my OB/GYN that my son was head down, I saw him sitting upright in an ultrasound. I didn’t expect him to be sitting in the Frank breech position or for the amniotic fluid he was swimming in to be low.

After my son’s birth, I didn’t exactly assume breastfeeding would be a breeze, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be so painful and difficult. I didn’t expect to need a lactation consultant or that my son would struggle to gain weight or that after two months, he would finally be diagnosed as tongue-tied and need to have his frenulum clipped. I didn’t know what a frenulum was let alone expect that.

I didn’t expect to need to supplement breastmilk with bottle feedings. I didn’t expect feeding my son to take up so much time. I didn’t expect to see bottles piling up in my kitchen sink.

I didn’t expect to be so completely clueless. A bit bedraggled perhaps, but not so weak and tired and helpless. I didn’t expect that it would take my body so long to heal or so many months before I could exercise comfortably and start to lose my baby weight.

I didn’t expect that any of my five children would have serious medical conditions, but some of them do. I didn’t expect to miscarry any of my babies, but I have. I didn’t expect to be stretched so thin or to grieve so hard, but I am and I do.

I didn’t expect that motherhood would be a piece of cake or a walk in the park, but I also didn’t know that it would be by faith. That it would mean walking forward when I couldn’t see where I was going and didn’t know what I was doing or what would happen next. That it would mean loosening my tight grip on my children and trusting God to care for them in ways that were way beyond my capability.

Those books and websites didn’t tell me about the nights when my newborn would cry inconsolably and when I’d done everything else I knew to do, I’d kneel by the side of my bed and pray for help, wisdom, insight and that my baby would . . . simply . . . stop . . . crying.

Those books and websites didn’t tell me that a doctor would diagnose my children with a rare genetic disease of which I’d never heard the name and that I would pray again for help and wisdom and insight and that I would . . . simply . . . stop . . . crying.

So many hopes and expectations grew inside of me when I felt those first belly kicks and ballet dances inside my womb. Some I could voice and some I couldn’t. As my children grow, those hopes and expectations multiply. Some are met, but many aren’t.

Motherhood isn’t what I expected; it’s so much more.

Motherhood isn’t about having a natural childbirth or a C-section, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, a baby with reflux or a baby who sleeps through the night. It’s not about which preschool I pick or whether I homeschool or send my child to public or private school. And it’s certainly never been about me having my act together or how my children compare with my friend’s.

The motherhood I’ve discovered is by faith, with hope and full of love. Yes, full of love. Love so deep that it hurts, and love so strong that it binds, and love that makes ordinary moments the ones I want to remember the most. My love for my children is fuller, richer, deeper and wider than I ever imagined, and my life is fuller, richer, deeper and wider than I dreamed.

This isn’t what I expected, but it’s what I think I really wanted, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

You may also like:

God is in the Midst of Messy Motherhood

Becoming a Mother Restored My Faith

Motherhood is Beautiful Chaos

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Katie Faris

Katie Faris is married to Scott, and her greatest works in progress are their five children ages 2 to 13. She is the author of Loving My Children: Embracing Biblical Motherhood. You can read more of Katie’s words on her blog.

Can I Still Trust Jesus after Losing My Child?

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Sad woman with hands on face

Everyone knows there is a time to be born and a time to die. We expect both of those unavoidable events in our lives, but we don’t expect them to come just 1342 days apart. For my baby daughter, cancer decided that the number of her days would be so many fewer than the hopeful expectation my heart held as her mama. I had dreams that began the moment the two pink lines faintly appeared on the early morning pregnancy test. I had hopes that grew with every sneak peek provided during my many routine ultrasounds. I had formed a...

Keep Reading

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading

Mad Martha, Mary, Mom, and Me

In: Faith, Living
Woman wrapped in a blanket standing by water

As a brand-new, born-again, un-churched Christian fresh in my new faith with zero knowledge of the Bible, I am steaming, hissing mad when I first read these words from Luke 10:38-42: “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Pray away My Anxiety But I Can Trust God to Hold Me through It

In: Faith, Living
Woman with flowers in field

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t afraid. I was scared of people, of speaking, and even of being looked at. As I got older, I worried about everything. I was aware of the physical impact that stress and worry have on our bodies and our mental health, but I couldn’t break the cycle. I declined invitations and stuck with what I knew. Then we had a child who knew no fear. The person I needed to protect and nurture was vulnerable. There was danger in everything. It got worse. He grew older and more independent. He became a...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Don’t Need More Things, They Need More You

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young girl smiling together at home

He reached for my hand and then looked up. His sweet smile and lingering gaze flooded my weary heart with much-needed peace. “Thank you for taking me to the library, Mommy! It’s like we’re on a date! I like it when it’s just the two of us.” We entered the library, hand in hand, and headed toward the LEGO table. As I began gathering books nearby, I was surprised to feel my son’s arms around me. He gave me a quick squeeze and a kiss with an “I love you, Mommy” before returning to his LEGO—three separate times. My typically...

Keep Reading

Mom, Will You Pray With Me?

In: Faith, Motherhood
Little girl praying, profile shot

“Will you pray with me?” This is a question I hear daily from my 9-year-old. Her worried heart at times grips her, making it difficult for her to fall asleep or nervous to try something new. Her first instinct is to pray with Mom. Perhaps this is because of how many times her Dad and I have told her that God is with her, that she is never alone, and that she can always come to Him in prayer and He will answer. Perhaps it is because she has seen her Dad and I lean on the Lord in times...

Keep Reading

My Aunt Is the Woman I Want to Become

In: Faith, Living
Woman with older woman smiling

It’s something she may not hear enough, but my aunt is truly amazing. Anyone who knows her recognizes her as one-of-a-kind in the best way possible. It’s not just her playful jokes that bring a smile to my face, her soul is genuinely the sweetest I know. I hope she knows that I see her, appreciate her, and acknowledge all the effort she puts in every day, wholeheartedly giving of herself to everyone around her. When I look back on my childhood, I see my aunt as a really important part of it. We have shared so much time together,...

Keep Reading

A Big Family Can Mean Big Feelings

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Family with many kids holding hands on beach

I’m a mother of six. Some are biological, and some are adopted. I homeschool most of them. I’m a “trauma momma” with my own mental health struggles. My husband and I together are raising children who have their own mental illnesses and special needs. Not all of them, but many of them. I battle thoughts of anxiety and OCD daily. I exercise, eat decently, take meds and supplements, yet I still have to go to battle. The new year has started slow and steady. Our younger kids who are going to public school are doing great in their classes and...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Never Stops, and Neither Does My God

In: Faith, Motherhood
Daughter kisses mother on cheek

I’m standing in the shower rinsing the conditioner out of my hair with a toddler babbling at my feet, running through this week’s dinner menu in my head. “Hmm, this meal would be better suited for this day, so what should we do instead?” or “Maybe we should save that for next week since it’s easy and we will be busy with baseball starting back up. I can work something in that may take more effort in its place.” Being a wife and mother, running a household, it’s about the small moments like this. There’s something about it that is...

Keep Reading

So God Made a Sunday School Teacher

In: Faith, Living
Woman sitting at table surrounded by kids in Sunday school class, color photo

God looked around at all He had created, and He knew He would need someone to teach His children. So God made a Sunday school teacher. God knew He needed someone with a heart and desire to teach children God’s word. God knew the children would act up and made Sunday school teachers with patience and grace to guide them when they step out of line in class. He also made Sunday school teachers with a touch of discretion to know when the stories of a child may be real or imagined. God knew this person would need to be...

Keep Reading