The Beautiful Ache of Motherhood

If there is one thing I have learned over the past six years as a mother, it is this:

Motherhood is exquisitely, breathtakingly beautiful.

But it is also overwhelmingly painful.

My heart opened up in ways that I never thought possible the moment that I first laid eyes on my daughter, a squalling bundle of baby limbs on my chest that caused my breath to catch in a way that feels like it will never fully recover. I remember thinking, “Oh, it’s you!” because I felt instinctively that she was someone my heart had always known and would always recognize.

So while becoming a mother has literally transformed my life with its love, it has also brought an unexpected ache. 

Image via j&j brusie photography

When I log on to my computer in the morning and see the heartbreak of a mother, her son taken too soon, my heart aches with her pain.


When I sneak in at night just to watch my children’s chests rise and fall in the peace of sleep, my eyes fill with tears with the wish that I could keep them this safe forever. 

When I look down at the little hand locked in mine, a perfect trust in me, I want to weep for the knowledge that someday, they will see my imperfections. 

When I feel arms wrapped tight around my neck, I pray the fervent prayer of mothers everywhere that their love will never leave me. 

When a gentle flutter becomes a kick that keeps me up at night, I rub my belly and wonder how I will safeguard the precious soul entrusted to me against the world outside. Can I do enough? Will I be enough?

Nothing has spliced me open like the rawness of motherhood; a love so fierce I know I would die for it; a heart so big it hurts to carry; a knowledge so immense in realizing that in doing my job well, these little beings who make up my days will venture into the world…without me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful–so very thankful–for all that motherhood has brought into my life. The soon-to-be four little people who brighten my days and draw on my walls; the smiles and laughter that fill my home; the flowers picked too soon that litter my desk.

But what I really want this Mother’s Day might be too much to ask for. 

Because who can tell me how it’s possible to live with a heart that loves and breaks at the same time?

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