Motherhood Doesn’t Get Easier, You Get Stronger


I remember this certain evening like it was yesterday. I was sitting on the couch, 10 days postpartum, holding our first born son. My husband had went out to run an errand and when he walked in the door, tears began to stream down my face. “Where have you been?” “Why did you have to do that right now?” It was 2 days before Valentine’s Day and he left the house thinking about me. He joined me on the couch in an attempt to listen to anything he might help with, all the while sorting through my tears and heavy sniffles. 

“I just don’t think I can love you AND love him.” It felt impossible to do both. My heart just wasn’t there yet and I tried to explain the dilemma. 
My husband made a perfectly timed joke. I wish I could remember his exact phrase and it likely wouldn’t even be funny today, but at the time it was just what I needed. My laughter quickly melted any hardness towards him. We sat on the couch holding our little baby, simultaneously trying to process the life-changing experience of giving birth, bringing home a new life and adjusting to all of it with a zillion hormones {courtesy of me}. 
Just before we had left the birthing center, I told my sweet nurse “I really don’t think I could ever do that again.” She laughed and responded, “It’s likely you will forget most of it and most Moms find they are eventually ready again.” 22 months later, I was back in the same birthing center on Christmas Eve holding our second born boy. Labor and delivery hadn’t changed much, but I had. I snuggled my new baby, toddler and husband with an overflowing love for all of them. 
“Day 4” postpartum has become a tiny marriage marker for hubby and I. We reflect on the different “Day 4″s with each of our five babies. Although the physiological circumstances on this day have not changed much, we have both changed as individuals. As my midwife told me, your hormones adjusting on or around that day are similar to coming off of 300 birth control pills. The first time I experienced this, I wasn’t sure I would ever have a baby again. 
In my mind, motherhood is similar to Day 4 postpartum. Both motherhood and Day 4 postpartum expose every single one of my vulnerable areas. I am physically exhausted. I am emotionally drained. My mind is mush and I am prone to believe every lie in the book. However, with each new life I have born into this world, I have learned when and where my weaknesses become strengths. As I have learned to overcome these weaknesses on the fourth day of pregnancy, I have also learned to overcome the many that motherhood has revealed. 
With the second baby, I planned to not be anywhere except my bed with the baby around Day 4. I knew on that day my hormones would dramatically shift and that I needed to be somewhere that didn’t cause extra stress on my mind or body. I still cried, but at least I knew why I was crying. Motherhood wasn’t getting easier, but I was growing in wisdom and maturity. 
On my third baby, I thought I might try a different approach and be outside or doing something we loved together. It worked well, but I thought there still might be better. I cried because I had tried too hard, I was even more tired, and I wasn’t bonding well with my new baby. Motherhood wasn’t getting easier, but I was growing in understanding my own physical stamina and ability to endure. 
The fourth round, it was pretty close to perfect. I had figured out home was best, just baby and I were best and that my body needed extra love. I knew how to be physically, mentally and emotionally proactive to make Day 4 easier. Motherhood wasn’t getting easier, but my communication to everyone around me was getting clearer. I was getting better at saying “NO” to a lot of really good things and saying “YES” to the best things. 
By the fifth baby, I had made the fourth day almost a celebration. As my tears would come, I would redirect them to prayers. When postpartum depression started to knock on my door, I would write a list of gratefulness, force myself out of bed and call on my hubby for something good to eat. I faced that day with a renewed mindset. A mindset that said “You are stronger than these hormones doing all sorts of crazy talk in your head.” Motherhood still wasn’t getting easier, but my coping skills were getting sharper and sharper. 
(Note: I am not saying you need five babies to realize your own strength in motherhood…I’m often a slow learner 🙂
Motherhood likely won’t change much. The stinky and dirty diapers will be replaced with stinky and dirty football clothes. The food on the floor will mutate into countless meals because there are never enough leftovers. The late night feeding will have become a late night teen needing advice and wisdom. The sleepless nights with a sick baby will still surface when your oldest is off to college and you wake up wondering what he is up to. 
When we have the mindset that motherhood will never get easier, we stand ready to overcome these exposed weaknesses. Learning about these weaknesses forces us to grow stronger. Like anything worth while, motherhood is hard work and the mental, emotional and physical muscles of motherhood need daily exercise. Instead of succumbing to the pressures that we are are faced with, we can slowly learn to rise with beauty and gracefully navigate the next challenge. 
One of my main tips for motherhood is to watch and listen to wise woman who are past your season. The greatest thing I see in them is that they have never stopped working out their weaknesses. They work just as hard while raising older ones as they did when their kids were babies.
These are the strong Moms, the ones who aren’t looking for the next break, but instead look for the next way to grow and bless one of their kids. These are the Moms that motivate me to be stronger. Not because I will ever overcome all that is motherhood, but rather I will let motherhood and my five little blessings refine me. 
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Johnna King moved to Waco in January of 2017. She met her husband in college and after 9 years in the Marine Corps, they prayed for place to settle down and raise their family. She is the Domestic Engineer of Team King which currently consists of eight littles. Her oldest is 11, then 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 2 & 16 months . She is due with their 9th in the summer of 2022. Motherhood is one of Johnna's many passions. She equally enjoys growing in obedience to Jesus, homeschooling the kids, running/weight lifting, photography, interior design, holistic living and writing. There is usually a half-read book on her nightstand. She runs their family blog You can always find Johnna looking for new places to eat, planning a date night or taking another picture.