Maybe it’s because I’m 36 weeks pregnant, but I’ve been thinking a lot about pain lately. Pain management, the different kinds of pain, the purpose and result of pain- all of it. There is something sobering, frightening even, about the last weeks of a pregnancy. Both times, I’ve described these final moments as the “time bomb phase” of my pregnancy. I know there is an end- that pain is coming, I just don’t know how or when it will happen. I also know there is a beautiful, life-changing reward for that pain, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Pain, whether physical, spiritual, or emotional, is a funny thing. We are hardwired, it seems, to avoid it at all costs. As a culture, we are taught that it is our own happiness, first and foremost, that matters. And isn’t pain the enemy of happiness?

So I avoid the hard conversation with a friend out of fear that I will be uncomfortable. I let an issue go unresolved in my marriage because facing it will hurt. I ignore the still, small voice telling me to let go of a harmful habit in my life because growing isn’t easy. I know this running isn’t really in my best interest, but I am also excellent at tricking myself. For a little while.

At the end of all my running though, pain, like so many things in life, is unavoidable. Hard times will come, difficult choices have to be made, and eventually, labor pains will start.

But what if we learned to view pain through a lens other than fear? What if we believed the hard questions and painful moments had a purpose in our lives- that they were driving us toward something better? Would that change how we faced our pain? I believe it would.

When I was in labor the first time, I was shocked by how bad the pain actually was. I felt a little bit betrayed, honestly, because even after all my research and mental pep talks, I still didn’t expect it to be that bad. And now that I’m about to do it all over again, the fear sneaks in. I know, in the rational part of my mind, that fear won’t change anything- labor happens and it hurts. But sometimes the rational part of my mind (smaller than I care to admit at times, especially at nine months pregnant) gets trumped by the what-if’s. “What if” turns to worry, worry turns to fear, and fear turns to panic. If I let it. The same is true for any painful situation- labor just happens to be foremost on my mind.

However, I think there is a better situation than fearing the pain. This time around, I’m choosing a different approach. I’m choosing to embrace the pain (as paradoxical as that feels). No, I don’t believe pain is the enemy of happiness. I believe that sometimes, pain- coupled with hope and the belief that it serves a greater purpose- leads us to our greatest happiness.

Knowing that my body is doing exactly what it should be doing will get me through the pain. At the end of it all, the most precious, heart-melting, beautiful little bundle will be placed on my chest, and then- only after the pain- will it all be worth it.

Feature Photo Found at JamesAnn Photography

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 now!

Order Now

Olivia Youngs

Olivia Youngs is the voice behind Simply Liv, a lifestyle blog committed to inspiring others to live simple and authentic lives, where she writes about everything from motherhood and marriage to simple DIY’s for your home. She is a 22-year-old wife and mama living in North Platte, NE. When not blogging she can most likely be found drinking too much coffee, eating ice cream or planning their next vacation. You can follow along with her at http://simplylivblog.com/

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading

Daughter of Mine, Do Not Let the World Extinguish Your Fire

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter, color photo

Daughter of mine, I see the fire behind your eyes. Do not let it die. Daughter of mine who runs wildly and loves freely and whose anger is always whipping silently just under the surface like a pilot light, ready to ignite with one tiny spark. Do not let it die. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine Daughter of mine, one day you will become a woman, and the world will try to steal you and mold you and tell you who to become. Do not let it. It will try to fit you in...

Keep Reading

God Chose Me to Be the Mother of a Wild One

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman holding child on the beach, black-and-white photo

It was just another typical fall morning. There was a time change so you were a little extra sleepy (also known as grouchy) but nothing too out of the ordinary. In a split second, that all changed, and the reality of what it is like to live with an unbelievably relentless little human set in like never before. I sat on your bedroom floor, laundry scattered all around, and literally watched my tears fall to the ground. I was on my knees. Physically on my knees just begging you to stop or begging God to give me patience. I don’t...

Keep Reading

I’m Raising a Fearless Daughter

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl on playground

Imagine you are at the playground with your kid(s), and you look over to see someone else’s kid launching themselves off the tallest tower on the entire playground. You feel your heart stop for a second, you suck in a sharp breath. You think to yourself, or maybe you even say it out loud, “Oh my gosh!” That kid—the one who is always finding the most dangerous way to do literally everything? That’s my kid. Truthfully, that’s both my kids, my youngest just isn’t tall enough to join in on the real danger yet. RELATED: Raising a Wild Child Is...

Keep Reading