Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

We were on our very first walk around the neighborhood when I was first asked the question that would follow me around forever. Our newborn son was barely a week old, and we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather that day. We were only going around the block, and I remember loading up the bottom of the stroller with diapers and supplies just in case. The overpacked stroller gave me away as a brand-new mom, I am sure of that.

She crossed the street toward us hoping to get a glimpse of the new baby in the neighborhood. She gushed over his little nose and chubby cheeks as I smiled proudly. Then the question came, “When is the next one?”

RELATED: Before You Ask When I’m Having Another Baby, Consider This

I remember thinking how crazy this question was, I mean his umbilical stump hadn’t even fallen off yet, and I was still recovering from a 25-hour long labor. I laughed and shrugged as we said our goodbyes.

Little did I know that question would be asked on repeat like Baby Shark on a toddler’s playlist.

The tone, however, began to change the older my son got. Now the question was met with concerned glares and judgment. I noticed that the taller my child became the question transformed from, “When is the next one?” to “Do you JUST have one?” or “Is he your ONLY one?” or even simply “JUST him?”

Most of the time, I answer the questions superficially because I am usually asked these questions when I am trying to get out of Target quickly before I get sucked into the vortex known as the Hearth & Hand section yet again. Half of the time, my yes is sufficient and the conversation ends, but every once in a while, I get the follow-up responses of, “That’s a shame.” “Don’t you want to give him a brother?” “Only children have a hard time in life.” And once, “Only children are weird.”

You see there is nothing superficial about the truth behind my yes.

It has layers that would cause discomfort if I were to choose to drop the truth bomb on a person as they stood in line waiting to pay for kitty litter and TV dinners. So, I smile. I even smiled, through gritted teeth, when a friend told me, “You are not a REAL mom until you have your second.”

RELATED: God Chose Me to Raise an Only Child

I smile, but the truth is my son is more than JUST an only child. He is an answered prayer after devastating losses. He is the younger sibling of two babies in Heaven, whom he often talks about. He makes friends wherever we go. He is wise beyond his years from spending so much time at the grownup table. He is compassionate and absolutely hysterical. He is not JUST an only child.

I smile because I am a mother of three, even if you only see one. I stay up late and wake up early, I hold a bucket to catch vomit in the middle of the night, I make mistakes, I say I love you.

I am just as much of a mother as the next.

While having one child was not our plan, we have learned to embrace the positives. It is easier to travel, easier to find a babysitter for date nights, less money to save for college, we have more free time and more time to give him. Of course, with all positives there comes challenges, too.

RELATED: Is Having An Only Child Such a Sin?

During the pandemic as we all self-quarantined, we witnessed absolute strength in our son as he fought loneliness. While his days had always been surrounded by other children, despite not having siblings, he was now secluded. There were no afterschool activities, recess, or sports practices to attend anymore. He felt that and it worried us. Luckily, we live in a world with WiFi and FaceTime, but it is not the same. Prior to the pandemic, my husband and I would joke that it was as if we had our own quirky third wheel friend, like Cameron from Ferris Buller, who sits in between us on the couch during movie night stealing all our popcorn.

Our “only children” are more than “just” their birth order, and we are very much real mothers.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Christina  Zambrano

Christina Zambrano is a wife, mother, nurse turned administrative manager for a mental health practice, and writer. She is passionate about sharing her struggles with mental health, addictions in hopes to help others feel less alone. Jesus and therapy is how she made it this far. Her writing has been published on Her View From Home, Girl Defined, and more.

Losing My Narcissistic Mother Is Complicated

In: Grief, Loss
Depressed woman sitting on kitchen floor silhouette

It’s so utterly destructive. It’ll knock the wind—no the very oxygen—out of your sails. It’s nauseating. Conflicting. Terrifying. And so very, very confusing. I did not know what to do with the information. The way I received this information made it more painful and confusing. I was angry.  My mom and I have never had a good relationship. She had her demons to fight, but by the time I was born, she must’ve been done fighting them. She showed one picture to the outside world, a perfect and happy family. But behind closed doors, it was just like the negatives...

Keep Reading

I Am the Griever

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Mother kissing child's forehead

As I write this, my mother-in-law is in the ICU. We don’t expect her to leave.  She’s too young. Sixty-four. We got the call on Saturday.  “Get here this week,” they said. So we did. With a newborn, a 3-year-old, a 5-year-old, and a soon-to-be 16-year-old. We managed ICU visits with my in-laws and juggled childcare so we could all take turns seeing the matriarch. For the last time? Maybe.  The logistics are all-consuming and don’t leave a lot of space for anything else. Also, I hate logistics. My son asks questions nobody knows how to answer: Will I die...

Keep Reading

To the Friend Who Just Lost a Parent: It’s Going to Hurt and You’re Going to Grow

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss
Sad woman hands over face

Oh, the inevitable, as we age into our mid to late 30s and beyond. The natural series of life states that losing a parent will become more commonplace as we, ourselves, continue to age, and I am beginning to see it among my circle of friends. More and more parents passing, and oh, my heart. My whole heart aches and fills with pain for my friends, having experienced this myself three years ago.  It’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt more than you could expect. The leader of your pack, the glue, the one you turn to when you...

Keep Reading

Your Brother Is With Jesus Now

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Brother and sister in yellow outfits smiling on park bench

“Thao is with Jesus now,” we told her, barely choking out the whisper. Jesus. This invisible being we sing about. Jesus. The baby in the manger? Jesus. How can we explain Jesus and death and loss and grief to a 3-year-old? And now, how can we not? We live it, breathe it, and dwell in loss since the death of her brother, our son, Thao. Here we are living a life we never wanted or dreamed of. Here we are navigating loss and death in a way our Creator never intended. What words can I use to describe death to...

Keep Reading

Don’t Delete the Picture You Think You Look Bad In

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Woman holding phone with picture of her and daughter, color photo

Don’t delete the picture—the one you look bad in. I said it. You heard me. Don’t delete the picture, that picture—you know the one, the one with the double chin or the bad angle. The picture that is not so flattering. The picture that accentuates your forehead lines or the one taken next to your skinny best friend. We are all so hard on ourselves. Many of us are striving for a better complexion or a thinner physique. Sometimes scrutinizing ourselves and zooming in on a picture—seeing things the world does not see. Don’t delete the picture. RELATED: Take the...

Keep Reading

Things that Hurt and Things that Help after Someone You Love Has a Miscarriage

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
young woman with arms crossed across stomach

I am sadly no stranger to pregnancy loss. Out of seven pregnancies, I have been blessed with one beautiful boy on earth, one miracle currently growing inside of me, and five precious angels in Heaven. As a result, I have plenty of experience in dealing with the aftermath of miscarriage. During this period of intense grief and loss, I have had many well-meaning people tell me things they believed would make me feel better, but in reality, caused me pain. Additionally, I have had close friends pull away during this period of time, and later tell me it was because...

Keep Reading

Even When You Can’t Find Joy, Jesus Is There

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Sad woman through pane of rain covered glass

The international church service was vibrant with voices lifted up in songs of praise. Many clapped their hands and some even danced before God. But I wanted to be invisible. Joy felt like a land depicted in a fairy tale. I had returned from the hospital the day before—a surgery to remove the baby who had died in my womb. Watching this church buzz with happiness unearthed my fragileness. I slouched in my chair and closed my eyes. Tears trickled down my freckled face. My mind knew God was in control, but my heart ached as yet another thing I...

Keep Reading

He Mends Our Broken Hearts

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Praying hands of woman with bracelets

Rays of soft sunlight streamed through the curtain onto the hospital bed. I stepped to the edge of the bed, taking a moment to soak in his face before gently holding his hand. Eighty-nine years is a rich, full life, and each passing day revealed more convincingly it was time for him to go. Grief and relief shared the space in my heart as I carried the weight of understanding each visit held the opportunity to be my last.  When he felt my hand, his eyes opened, and he gifted me a smile. Pop Pop always had a smile for...

Keep Reading

This Is As Close to Heaven As I Can Get

In: Grief, Loss
Sunrise over the ocean, color photo

I have sat here a million times over my life—on good days, on bad days, with friends, with family. I have celebrated my highest points and cried here at my lowest. I am drawn here, pulled in a way. When I have not been here in some time, the sea calls my soul home. My soul is at peace here. It has always been. Maybe it is the tranquility of the waves, or the sun shining on my face. Maybe it is the solitude I find here. I love her (the sea) in all seasons, when she is calm, when...

Keep Reading

10 Things Bereaved Parents Want You to Know about Child Loss

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Sad couple hug in hallway

My first baby died. After a perfect full-term pregnancy, she was stillborn. That was 10 years ago. Ten years I’ve spent wondering who she would have been. Ten years I’ve spent missing someone I hoped to know but never got the chance to. In those ten years, I’ve learned so much about grief, love, and life.  Grief is love. When they laid my stillborn daughter’s cold and lifeless body in my arms, my world was broken into before this nightmare began and after, where I was forever cursed to live with it. I thought I would never be the same...

Keep Reading