My world has shrunk. My days revolve around her tiny cries and constant need for food and attention. We sleep a little, eat and then repeat. I would not have it any other way.
The first time I gave birth and a helpless being was laid in my arms, I was young myself, just out of college. I was full of dreams and degrees, plans and anxieties. I stepped from days filled with classes and crowds, straight into a quiet house and motherhood miles away from anyone I knew. Newly married, I followed my husband as he joined the military. I had nowhere to be; nothing to do and I found it hard to slow down.
So I spun around the house manufacturing projects and to-do lists and feeling oh, so small. Worthless, really. I spent four years earning a college degree, but now I was making baby food for one child and then another, instead of earning a paycheck or accolades. I loved my children, I valued them, but I didn’t know if my role as a mother meant anything.
Until I lost one.
Born quiet and still on his due date, I lost my son, Joshua during birth after nine months of carrying him inside of me. That loss brought me to a standstill. It showed me how very small everything was – with the exception of holding my babies. I wanted to do something big and important with my life. I had bowed down and been broken before the idol of magnitude, but in those moments holding his tiny, cold body I knew the enormity of each day of mothering. I went home from the hospital weeping, but grateful to hold small hands and revel in each moment I was entrusted to guide their hearts.
My orbit steadied and shrank even as I grieved. There were two more losses, both early miscarriages and a healthy pregnancy.
Now our fourth child, our first daughter has been born, and I know just to sit with her. I know the enormity of every seemingly small moment. I know not to look to the idols, but they try to find their way into my heart again and again – ever so often in new ways.
My focus is on motherhood; I know its value. But maybe if I buy the perfect bonnet and curate my Instagram feed just so, the climbing numbers will assure me that I am in fact a good mother. Maybe it’s not enough to simply share my story of loss and hope with the mothers God brings across my path or my blog. Maybe if I had more followers then everything I have lived through would hold more meaning. Maybe these moments with my daughter laying on my chest will mean the world sweeps right past me in its quest for more, for bigger, for better.
Maybe. But if that is the case, then let the world sweep right on past in all of its magnitude. I will be right here worshiping in the small breaths my daughter puffs against my cheek, in her tiny fingers and toes, in every midnight feeding and groggy morning. This is where I will worship and pray for the strength and wisdom to lead my children one ordinary day at a time – in the little, unacknowledged and unannounced holy moments.
Sharon McKeeman’s story is one of great loss and unexpected joy. She experienced a full-term still birth, a mid-term pregnancy loss and an early miscarriage. These precious children are named Joshua, Beacon and Blessing, and one day she knows she will meet them in heaven.