3:57 PM

Yesterday I read the following post in a facebook group:

I'm currently 34 weeks pregnant and expecting my first. As the time gets closer, I thought I'd be getting more excited but have found that I'm hearing non-stop comments that are negative or unhappy about what to expect. Things like, 'just you wait until [insert here]' or 'Make sure you do this and this because you'll never get to again!' or even just people's venting about their own children. ...I know children aren't always sunshine and rainbows (I worked in Childcare and nannied since I was fourteen. I've seen the best and worst of kids) but it's left me having nightmares, abnormal thoughts and worries, and losing my excitement for what has been such a miraculous time in my husband and I's life. What have you found has worked for you in keeping that joy and excitement? What have been some of your favourite, most positive, and happiest moments with your children?

This post has been in the back of my mind ever since I read it for a couple reasons. The main one being: three-years ago I could have almost written it myself.

I've told the story a million times before. I was pregnant with Lydia. Uncomfortable. Unhappy. Unexcited. Quite honestly, I was dreading the day that Lydia would be born and I would assume the role of "mother." 

"Motherhood is hard" was the go-to phrase I heard over and over and over and over again during her pregnancy. I heard it so often, in fact, that not only did I grow to completely RESENT the phrase, there was a period during which I cried to Stephen almost DAILY (have you noticed I tend to cry a lot when I'm pregnant?) BEGGING him to explain WHY people intentionally have children. At all. Ever. Period.

"I don't get it!" I would say. "People seem to be endlessly bothered by their children and frequently feel the need to complain about how 'hard' it is....but yet they continue to have more children?! WHY." 

Maybe Stephen didn't know the answer to the question, or maybe he knew I wasn't in the mindset to hear the answer, but thankfully for both of us it didn't take long after Lydia was born for me to learn to answer for myself: JOY. 

In the temple we are taught to "have joy in our posterity." I don't think that phrase ever registered before Lydia was born, or at least I never gave it much thought, but over the years it has become one of my favorite parts of the endowment. The reason God wants us to have kids is because they bring joy. 

And so, to answer this random stranger on the internet's request for some "positive, happy moments with my children," here are a few ways Lydia and Elliott brought me joy (so far) today:

Lydia's appearance this morning: crazy curls escaped from her braids, wearing backwards Elmo pajama pants with her belly sticking out of the two-sizes too small pajama shirt she was wearing.

Elliott's grin and wave when I got him out of his crib.

Lydia's brainstorm on what to do while waiting for her pancakes to cool down, "Oh! We should say a prayer!" 

Elliott's excitement over seeing the box of Honey Nut Cheerios being pulled out of the pantry.

Lydia licking the leftover syrup off of her plate.

Elliott's shy smile when I caught him trying to climb out of his high chair. 

Lydia putting a square-shaped hot pad over her feet and jumping across the living room floor with it like a gunnysack in a relay-race. (Should I mention that she was 100% naked otherwise? 😂) 

Each time Lydia started a sentence with, "When I'm bigger bigger..."

Watching Elliott nuzzle into his pillow with one arm around his stuffed dog and the other thumb in his mouth, situating himself for his morning nap. 

When Lydia requested I help her put a sleeping-eye-mask over her face.

Overhearing Lydia giggle with her friends.

Elliott's babble to himself as he patiently waited for me to get him after his morning nap.

Lydia telling me, "Mom! I'm making a PIE! It's just pretend." 

Elliott's delighted squeal when Lydia handed him the yellow balloon. 

Lydia walking over to the olive-wood Jesus carving on the bookshelf, pinching his nose and saying "HONK!"

Elliott crawling over and giving me a raspberry on my leg and then looking up at me and giggling. 

BabyBoy getting the hiccups multiple times a day just like his big brother.

Lydia handing me the balloon and saying, "Happy Birthday! Let's have some cake!"

Elliott humming while he ate his cheesy bread for lunch. 

Lydia taking a bite out of her graham cracker and saying, "Look Mom! It's a dress!" 

Elliott putting his head on my shoulder and arm around my neck and pulling me in for a hug.

Lydia telling me, "Maybe we should save the new sippy cup you got for the new baby."

Elliott picking up a plastic fork from the kitchen floor and proceeding to comb my hair with it. 😂

Being the bottom of "body-slam" pile-up with all (three) kiddos on top of me on the couch. 

Lydia (to me from upstairs): "MOM! ELLIOTT IS CRYING BECAUSE HE IS TRYIN' TO POOP!!!!"

Kissing Elliott's soft, chubby cheeks. 

When Lydia exclaimed, "Elliott! The balloon is so happy to see you!" after he woke up from his afternoon nap. 

Edit: I'm updating this to add one more from this evening.

Stephen and Lydia were going to walk to the park and Elliott and I were going to stay home. Right as Stephen and Lyds started walking away Elliott started crying. 
Me:"It's like he knows!"
Lydia: "What?! He has a cold nose?! We need to get him a jacket!"


Some might say that my definition of "joy" is too broad, but I feel certain that I have experienced more joy in the three years since becoming a mom than I have during any other time in my life. And guess what - my kids still cry and throw tantrums and do all the things that normal, developing children should do.  

So please, next time you're talking to an expectant mother remember this: Most people are already (painfully) aware that "motherhood is hard." Perhaps a lot more of our time and energy could (and should) be spent expressing "motherhood is joy." 

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  1. I have to say, it knid of breaks my heart that when conversing with someone who says motherhood is hard - its not met with sympathy and compassion. As someone who got debiliating depression and suicidal tendencies due to going through child birth, and has a child with a disability - my experience has bedn very hard. Not because I love my children any less than you do, or notice their sweet spirits any less. But simply because I have some real mountains I’m climbing right now. I wish that every mother, no matter how hard or easy their path is, was just met with a whole lot of understanding and compassion.

  2. I love this. Sometimes I have felt like I shouldn't take joy in my child because "the other shoe will drop someday" and I may miss something that I was "supposed" to do because I was just relaxing and enjoying. Thank you for writing this Hannah!