I want to share a bit about fear and being a mom. Motherhood is a daunting thing... sometimes bringing me alive and sometimes holding me back, it took a hold of who I was and permeated every facet of my being, creating someone who looks the same but sees the world entirely different. Makes so many things a million times better, makes many things a million times harder, it carries with it a ton of new joys, laughs, and discoveries, while also giving innumerable fears, frustrations, and compromises. I once heard a celebrity mom say, "I never knew what fear really was until I became a mother." I would say that has held true for my experience with becoming a mom as well. Fear is a funny thing. It can sneak into your heart with no warning and render you helpless, it can also push you to change and find courageousness that you never knew you possessed. You can find yourself avoiding things because of fear, or you can find yourself doing things you never thought you would try.
Motherhood has brought fear into my life in a way I never experienced before baby. Fear of failing, fear of something happening to my child, fear of something happening to myself or my husband, fear of making a mistake that would permanently change something for my son's life, fear of being judged by other parents, fear of it all going by too fast. There are fears in raising a child that I never thought about before he arrived, but it has also been those same fears that have pushed me to do better, to try new things for my son, to make changes in myself that will make me a better mom, to be safer in my lifestyle choices, to hug and kiss him more and take a million pictures and write down his stories so I can remember all of it.
I am sharing this now, because I recently had a major mommy freak out period. I think these phases are normal as a parent. Something triggers a part inside me that sets off a myriad of thoughts and fears for my son, and I have to work through the emotional baggage and pray my way back to a place of balance. About 2 months ago, I found myself confronted with several tragic child deaths within my social network circle. It was the weirdest couple of weeks. People kept sending me messages asking to pray for different families having a crisis that ended up resulting in the unthinkable... a young child passing away. It blew my world apart. I had never really thought about how incredibly fragile young life is, and how devastating it becomes for the families involved. I found myself holding my son at night while he fell asleep, silently wiping tears from my eyes as I battled to NOT think about the possibility that my son could have an accident or get sick and die, and as much and I tried to NOT think about the fact that I couldn't protect him at all times, that was the reality. Something might happen to him or me or someone else that we love and I have no control over that. What I did have control over was myself and the way I handled the scary things that come along in life.
I needed to pull myself out of the depressed funk, to face my fear of losing my son, to let go and accept that every day I have with my family is a blessing and to rejoice in that gift and not morn an unknown day when things could change. So I started working on this painting.
Its sort of my own twist on the iconic Madonna and child paintings. It gave me a place to rest my fears, it gave me time to process, pray, and let go, and it brought me joy as I discovered bits of myself and my son inside the paint. She's holding him while he sleeps, and she's smiling, because even though she cannot know what tomorrow will bring for him, she can give him all the love she has in that precious moment. I hope you like her. She is mostly acrylic paint, and her skirt is vintage child wrapping papers layered under tissue paper and vintage dress patterns.
I hope this story gives you hope and isn't too much of a downer. Its been on my heart for a while ever since I went through that tough couple of weeks, and I am so blessed to have art making help fade my sorrows away and bring joy to my heart. (and if you ever have freak out periods like mine, and feel like sharing, please do :) it always brings hope to know that you are not alone) Be blessed my friends!