So God Made a Mother is Here! 🎉

Ok, before you get into an uproar, hear me out. 

My special girl McLaine is 6 1/2. Sometimes I think back to who I was before she came into my life and I realize I’ve really let myself go since then. In fact, compared to who I was at that time, I don’t even recognize myself now! Having a special needs child is totally life-changing and, well, some things just have to fall by the wayside.

Following is a “top five” list of what I’ve let go:

 1) Selfishness

Before I had my daughter it was all about me. Deep down I’ve always had a caring heart, but I mostly lived a life of putting myself first. My initial thought was nearly always “How will this affect me?” Now, I would do absolutely anything at just about any personal cost if it would benefit my girl. A mother’s love knows no bounds and when you have a child who needs lots of extra care, there’s just no room for selfishness. 

2) Elitism 

I am a competitive person by nature, and being the best used to be inordinately important to me. Not only did I have this expectation for myself, but it also carried over into how I viewed other people. A perfect example of this is the value I formerly placed on intellect. If someone couldn’t keep up with me intellectually, I was likely to become frustrated with them. To me, being “smart” was a measurement of how “worth my time” someone was. Now, I know the real measure of a person is in the kindness and love they show to others. 

3) Perfectionism/Appearances

The old me REALLY loved for people to think she had it all together. Admittedly, this is something I still struggle with some. I suppose once a perfectionist, always a perfectionist, but I truly have begun letting go of perfection in many ways. My sweet girl’s school pictures came back recently and I couldn’t help but notice that she chewed her hair right beforehand and it was all wet on the bottom. She also refuses to smile for pictures. The old me would have never bought this picture because it isn’t “perfect,” but the new me has purchased several prints and can’t wait to show it to everyone who will look. Now, I find beauty in the imperfect.

I know I'm biased, but isn't she beautiful?
I know I’m biased, but isn’t she beautiful?

4) Impatience

Admittedly, I am a “right now” kind of person. In the past, being made to wait for someone I felt was being slow released a sort of rage in me. Waiting is tough for me still, but not nearly as excruciating as it once was. I waited until 18 months to see my daughter sit up on her own, 2 years old to see her crawl, and six years old to see her take her first steps. Can I tell you how worth the wait it was? Through that process I learned that something long-anticipated can bring multiplied joy. 

5) A Narrow World/Societal View

I grew up in a pretty homogeneous area and in an era before inclusion was a thing. Diversity, to me, just meant people with different skin colors. My take on the world came from an incredibly minuscule vantage point. Being mom to McLaine has opened my eyes to the world of disability. I’ve met tons of people with whom I’d otherwise have nothing in common if our children didn’t have special needs. This caused me to become more interested in understanding people from different backgrounds than my own. My eyes are now opened to take in far more of the world than I even knew existed before.

So, you see, over the past few years I’ve definitely let myself go, but I can tell you one thing for sure-

I’m glad I let go of the old me and I don’t miss her one bit.

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

Lauren Cootes

A mostly stay-at-home mom to a spunky six year old diva with an unknown genetic syndrome and a four year old, wild tornado of a boy, Lauren is passionate about faith, family, food, fitness, social media and all things special needs. She prides herself on being awkwardly honest, is a lover of people and immensely enjoys their stories. Facebook: Instagram:

I Buried My Heart with My Baby but God Brought Me Back to Life

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman in a sweater standing outside looking at sunset

Recently, my world felt as if it were crashing around me. I was so angry I think my rage could have burned a small village. Unfortunately, that rage was directed at God though I knew that wasn’t what I needed to be directing toward Him. He owed me nothing then, and He owes me nothing now; however, my heart was shattered, and for a while, it seemed as if my faith was crumbling with it. I stopped going to church. I stopped praying. I stopped all positive feelings and allowed myself to succumb to the pain and the anger. When...

Keep Reading

Dear New Mom, God Is Only a Whisper Away

In: Baby, Faith, Motherhood
New mother holding baby on couch, eyes closed

While we were waiting to adopt, I would wake up in the middle of the night panicky. My mind would wander to the thought of suddenly having a baby. With groggy eyes and a cobwebbed mind, I would ask myself, “Could I get up right now to go soothe a crying baby?” And then the insecurities would flood me as I thought through the difficulty of dragging myself out of bed to give milk to a fussy newborn. I didn’t know if I could.  With each application sent to agencies and social workers, the possibility of adopting a baby became more...

Keep Reading

Look beyond the Labels for What You Don’t See

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three kids sitting on parents' laps smiling

I’ve always said that labeling someone with high- or low-functioning autism, or any disability for that matter, isn’t ever truly accurate. You may see an extremely smart girl who seems “normal” but you don’t see everything. You don’t see how the noises hurt her ears. You don’t see how the bright lights hurt her eyes. You don’t see how hard she struggles to fit in. You don’t see how she struggles to understand the social cues. You don’t see how seriously she takes what you say even if you’re joking. You don’t see the struggles when she’s having an overwhelming...

Keep Reading

And We Rocked

In: Motherhood
Black and white photo of a baby sleeping

My belly had grown and stretched to make room for you. I simply couldn’t wait to see your little face. I sat in your nursery, which was nearly complete, and whispered all the thoughts, fears, and feelings that filled my mind. You kicked in response as if to remind me we were in this together. And we rocked. Everyone told me that babies sleep a lot. But not you. It was as if you didn’t want to miss one moment of this big, beautiful life. I was to my bones tired. You refused to sleep. We continued this merry-go-round where...

Keep Reading

Did I Make Caring for You My Idol?

In: Motherhood
Little boy sitting in lawn chair, color photo

When my disabled son, Lucas, was an adorable little boy, I thought (and declared loudly!) that as long as I was alive and well, I would care for him. I was his mother and no one could ever provide for him as I would. And I completely believed this up until about five years ago. It started with puberty as Lucas blossomed into manhood, shedding his adorableness, and my mental and physical health deteriorated as he grew larger and stronger and became aggressive at times. I whispered to my husband, late at night with tears streaming down my face after...

Keep Reading

When You Look Back on These Pictures, I Hope You Feel My Love

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four kids playing in snow, color photo

I document your life in pictures. I do it for you. I do it for me. I do it because I want you to know I lived every memory. And loved every moment. When you go back through the thousands of moments, I hope it sparks something deep inside of you. Something that perhaps your heart and mind had forgotten until that moment. And I hope that it makes you smile.  I hope the memories flood and you remember how much each moment was cherished.  I hope each giggle and secret that was shared with your sisters at that moment sparks...

Keep Reading

The Hardest Teens Sometimes Make the Best Adults

In: Motherhood, Teen
Collage of mom with teens, color photo

Hi, friends. Former middle school and high school teacher here, checking in. Can I let you in on a little something I learned as a secondary teacher? Here it is . . . sometimes the kids who really struggle as teens turn out to be the most amazing adults. Yep. Really. I’ve seen it so many times I felt compelled to share. One student I knew was constantly in trouble and getting me in trouble because I always stuck up for him. (And I don’t regret it.) He played jokes on teachers, gave substitutes a run for their money, left...

Keep Reading

For the Parents of the Kids Who Don’t Fit the Mold

In: Kids, Motherhood
mom hugging her daughter

This one is for the parents of the kids who don’t fit the mold. I see you holding your kid together with nothing but love and a prayer as they cry or feel defeated and you wish the world would see your kid like you do. I see you wiping away their tears after they were yet again passed over for all the awards and accolades. There is no award for showing up for school despite crippling anxiety or remembering to write down assignments for the first year ever. So they had to sit clapping again for friends whose accomplishments...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, You Gave Me Purpose

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, color photo

Dear daughter, Before God knit you in my womb, I was wandering around aimlessly, searching for a purpose. I had changed my mind several times about what I wanted to do with my life. I felt so much pressure to figure out what I truly wanted. I rushed into career ideas, only to realize I wanted absolutely nothing to do with any of them. I started grad school, only to quit in three weeks. I was crushed and defeated. I begged God to show me His plan, to give me a purpose. I begged Him to give me something I...

Keep Reading

Let Your Kids See You Try and Fail

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter sitting on floor knitting together

Let your kids see you try and fail at something. That’s what I did today!  My daughter wanted to take a knitting class together. I said sure, naively thinking the skill would come pretty naturally. I’m usually good at things like this.  Guess what? It didn’t. Although she picked it up easily and was basically a knitting pro within five minutes, the teacher kept correcting me, saying, “No, UNDER! You need to go UNDER, not OVER.” She was kind enough, but it just wasn’t clicking. I started to get frustrated with myself. I normally take things like this in stride...

Keep Reading