What Motherhood Has Taught Me

Since it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow, it got me thinking.  Got me thinking how I love these words: momma, mommy, mom.
When I hear them directed at me, it means I’m significant.  It means that there is someone (X 4), who look to me for nurturing, love, knowledge.
This is power.  I had no idea how much power I’d have as a mother.  Responsibility, yes, I was aware of that.  But did I know that my choice to love, to nurture, to feed, to play, to laugh, to smile, could yield such a marvelous, quiet, & life changing power?
Photo by Red Bean Photography


I’ve spent a good chunk of the last decade figuring out what it means to be a mother.

I don’t think my experience is very typical of most.  I had my first child in my early twenties & 3 more children quickly followed.

I was not one of those that dreamed of being a young mom.  Or wished for oodles of babies.

As a teenager, I had ambitious dreams for my twenties:  college, master’s degree, lots of travel.  I wanted to create & carve out a fulfilling, rich life filled with interesting people, places & things.  Sure motherhood was in there somewhere, I’m sure.  But it was most likely a side project.

Fortuitously, my ambitious path converged with my dashing future husband.  We married, & soon realized what we wanted more than anything was to create a family.  We wanted a boat load of kids.  We had a vision of laughter, love, & lots of it.

We knew it wouldn’t be easy.  And it wasn’t.

He still had 3 years of undergraduate school.  His career choice wasn’t certain.  We didn’t have a lot of money.  But we did it anyway.  We made those kids.  And boy, was it hard work.

Pregnancy, each one, taught me humility.

I had no idea how it would try my endurance.  I’d like to say I succeeded at rolling with the punches, but many days I was a bawling mess.  Nauseated.  Tired.

And I was one of those that does have out of control cravings will pregnancy.  I didn’t want to even look at anything green.  If it was healthy, I most likely could NOT stomach it.  The weight gain (I gained 40-50 pounds each pregnancy).  The disruption to intimacy with my husband.  For the record, it is not the same when you’re nauseated, 8 months pregnant, & 40 pounds heavier.  Pregnancy was most certainly a sacrifice.

The beauty of true sacrifice though, is that it is giving something up for something greater.

Yes, my body was not mine for 9 months, along with so many other things, but out of it came a perfect human being.  One that was a little me, a little Joseph.  A person that was dependent on my strength, my grace, my good will, to get through their early years of life.

And with each child I was amazed at how my heart grew.

The people, the places, the degrees.

What are those compared to my son’s beautiful green eyes & the way my daughter snuggles into my chest or watching my children accomplish a great task, like riding a bike for the first time?

If I could go back & talk with my teenage self, I’d say:

“Just you wait girl.  You won’t believe how much you’re gonna love these 3 words:  ‘I love you momma.'”

Submitted to Mom’s Best Network.  


  1. Anna
    on May 15, 2012 at 6:54 pm said:

    Hi there, I just have to say, you're really inspiring!I'm new to your blog, and I really love to read about the every day life of a young, vegan mom.I myself never planned on having kids, but got pregnant unplanned at 16. And it turns out, I love being a mom! (Although I wouldn't recommend getting children that young. ;)) As I'm a single mom and I'm currently studying, I won't have more children any time soon, but I hope, maybe one day, that will change.Well, that's it – hope to read more soon!(And sorry for language mistakes, I'm from Germany and my English is not that good.)

  2. Janae Wise
    on May 15, 2012 at 1:05 am said:

    Dlacai06: Hmmm…soy creamer, So Delicious ice cream or So Decedant ice cream, stevia in the raw or Truvia, and for milk I love almond or So Delicious coconut milk. I'm glad you catch on to my sense of humor. Sometimes I worry people won't "get it," but I do have one, or at least I try :).Glad you found Forks Over Knives. It's been a life changer for many people.

  3. dlacai06
    on May 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm said:

    I love your sense of humor, your family is beautiful. I stumbled across your blog after watching "Forks over Knives" documentary. I do not eat meat really, especially after watching that..but its the dairy I that I am having trouble letting go of. Mainly, cream in my coffee and ice cream. I do not drink milk…any suggestions? And I love sugar, like you use to!!

  4. Janae Wise
    on May 14, 2012 at 10:15 pm said:

    Allison: I believe one of God's greatest blessings to me is my ability to forget pain & suffering. This is why I'm able to do pregnancy all over again 🙂

  5. Allison Holden
    on May 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm said:

    Thank you for this; I couldn't have said it better. I am encouraged that you went through pregnancy 4 times when it sounds like your pregnancies are so difficult like mine have been. I am working up the courage for a third….

  6. Janae Wise
    on May 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm said:

    Melissa: Thank you for the compliment. I too, love how kids get so excited just by you entering the room or giving them attention & love. Yesterday, at the dinner table Joseph asked the kids what their favorite thing about me was, and Hyrum said: "When she hugs & kisses me." It was beyond sweet. Atwood Family of 5: Love your enthusiasm–"I'd do it less than a heartbeat" You're awesome.Lfwfv: It's true. You get what you dwell on. If it's all drudgery & obligation, then that's what you're experience will be. Especially since becoming a mom, I've realized my overall attitude about life will trickle down to my children, so I make sure I'm always on my best behavior & try to be optimistic about all that we get to do as a family rather than what we HAVE to do.I can TOTALLY relate to the roller coaster ride you're experiencing. I honestly think that we have more acute cravings when we get pregnant at a lower body fat %. Our bodies are smart & are telling us to store up & prepare for famine because we've got to feed ourselves & a growing fetus! Hope you're not too hard on yourself & give into those cravings without any guilt. Just try to listen to what your body is telling you to eat (even if it doesn't make sense!). You're making a beautiful, perfect baby right now. That's a miracle in & of itself. Alysa: Thank you, hope you had a great day as well :)!

  7. Alysa
    on May 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm said:

    this was a lovely post. happy mothers' day, janae!

  8. Anonymous
    on May 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm said:

    What a beautiful post. I love hearing moms who say they enjoy being a mother. So many moms spend most of the time complaining and it is discouraging. I am sure it will be so hard when my own "peanut" is born, but I am also so excited for the joy that being a parent also brings. Thank you for so vividly sharing the joy of family life on your blog.Pregnancy is crazy. I can't believe how out of control i feel sometimes. Overall, i've been able to eat very healthy, but i still fight cravings for jelly beans sometimes (never even liked the things in normal life!), as well as fresh-baked whole wheat bread which i can't eat because of my gluten intolerance. I also feel my stomach muscles stretching apart painfully, see my belly bulging more everyday, and feel fatigue and hunger that is other-worldly sometimes. I think it might be God's way of preparing me to let go of some of the control i usually try to have in my life, and to realize that things won't always be so easy to have "my way". Definitely an interesting process….Have a great mother's day!lfwfv

  9. Atwood-Family of FIVE
    on May 13, 2012 at 6:39 pm said:

    I totally agree with you! I, opposite of you, always wanted kids, early, and lots of them, but like you I had no idea how much I'd love it! And I also agree on the pregnancy thing. I really don't like pregnancy, I hate giving up my body for 9 months, but every single time, it's worth it and I'd do it again in less than a heartbeat. We mothers are truly, truly blessed.

  10. Melissa
    on May 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm said:

    This was a great post, I love it when I hear an excited "Mama!" when I walk into the room. Also, I enjoyed getting the walk through on your house, it looks great! And I agree that you have a specific and beautiful sense of style and a house with loads of character.

  11. Janae Wise
    on May 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm said:

    Dreena: Oh, I love that little exchange between you & your "baby." I totally know what you mean. Sometimes they say the most precious things, & you just want them to say it over & over because you know that before long they won't be saying things like that anymore. So glad you had the blessing of one more beautiful daughter to add to your family. Happy Mother's to you, too. I hope you can take the day to relax & enjoy the family you've helped to create :)!

  12. Dreena
    on May 13, 2012 at 3:22 am said:

    Janae, this is a beautiful post. I love those words too. Yesterday when it was our wee girl's bday, I kept saying "hi birthday girl", and she would reply "hi birthday momma". And I kept saying it to her b/c I wanted to hear her say it over and over… since it was a birthday gift indeed to have her join our lives, and our two older girls as well. I love that photo of you, and think it should be framed in the room with any degree to "be proud of". Happy Mother's Day to you… xo