“I feel invisible,” I thought as yet another person stared at my pregnant belly instead of my face. Comments from passers-by in Walmart went something like, “You look like you’re ready to pop!” Church friends asked, “You’re still pregnant?” And little kids thought he had a free pass to rub my belly.

Thoughts of feeling like an incubator instead of a person frequently filled my head at nine months pregnant, and I’m sure I’m not the only woman who has felt this way.

I look back and smile. Because it was only the beginning.

When motherhood begins, life is not about you anymore. It never really was, but you catch my drift. Everything you do B.C. (before children) is focused on your goals, passions, and dreams. Then suddenly, everything shifts to taking care of a tiny human and meeting their every need.

Parenthood gives us a big slice of humble pie (sometimes much-needed). And it is rewarding to put another’s needs before your own. There’s nothing we, as moms, would rather do.

But.

It’s also completely normal to feel a little invisible and unappreciated at times.

When you lived life among society, in school, or in the workplace, you had the gratification of accolades for a job well done. People used to notice you and give you compliments on your nicely completed tasks.

Now, as a mom your pats-on-the-back come in the form of late night feeding snuggles, kisses on the cheek, and that little voice saying, “One more book please, Mommy?”

Rest assured—your little one notices everything you do. But the outside world probably doesn’t.

The world doesn’t see the stacks of dishes scrubbed, the laundry folded, the toilets cleaned, the lullabies sung and the snacks prepared. It doesn’t notice how you try to emulate the Proverbs 31 woman as you work hard to care for your family.

While living this seemingly quiet life, it’s easy to feel like you aren’t making an impact on the world.

Last week, I heard a quote from the BBC series “Middlemarch” by George Eliot that left me speechless. 

The quote is speaking of the main character Dorothea, who is kind and unassuming in all her ways. She longs to do a “great good” in the world but ends up living a quiet life. The book says she made no great name for herself.

Take a moment and read (then re-read) the following quote. I hope it will change your perspective like it did mine: 

“…the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.” – George Eliot, Middlemarch

Did you catch that? Most good things in life happen because of people who received no accolades or fanfare. Circumstances in this world are better because of the many faithful who did the right thing, day in and day out. No one visits their graves, but their mark on the world forever remains.

Thank you, mama, for making this world a good place to be.

Because you washed those dishes and laundry, your child felt cared for and safe.

Because you prepared nutritious meals, your child grew strong.

Because you sang songs and read stories, your child’s mind opened up to a new world of ideas and imagination.

The impact on a child who feels loved and safe in this world cannot be measured.

Every little thing you do matters, mama. Even the seemingly unimportant ones.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog

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Mary Harp

Mary Harp is the creator of Healthy Christian Home blog, which helps families nourish themselves physically and spiritually. A minister's wife and former missionary to Scotland, she is passionate about God's Word and how He provides for our daily needs with healthy food! In her free time, you can find her with a cup of hot tea and a stack of books -- or watching a new BBC series. Connect with Mary on FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest