Motherhood Mondays: the gift that "grace" is.

**Bits of my weekend is on a bit of a hiatus. Stay tuned - it'll come back one of these days**

Tomorrow (, I guess as it IS 1:?? AM) Zaqarah Grace Gahagan will turn 3 years old. I remember, like it was yesterday, double and triple checking that pregnancy test.  Surely I wasn't pregnant!! Elasia was still nursing all. the. time.  What's a "period" anyway?!  But after the second test I swallowed the fact - we were having ANOTHER baby.

I felt like I was drowning in the crushing expectations of motherhood already, barely catching my breath in the mornings to charge head-long into days of the tedious demands of mothering 8 month old. I didn't think I was doing anything right. Anything. And here I was, going to have another one.  Most of what I was feeling (which now I know was Postpartum Depression) was chemical. Things went wacky in my brain and cause me to distort reality.

Reality: I was a pretty good first-time mom. I was tenacious with breastfeeding, even though I had to really work on that latch and Elasia had reflux. I was meticulous at filtering through all the propaganda information out there and deciding what would benefit our little family. I wasn't a germ-o-phobe, but kept things relatively clean and safe. Elasia seemed like she had the potential to be a happy person despite the eternal bouts of colic.

But I didn't see this. I would whisper prayers through tears during late night feedings, "Oh God help. Oh God help."  Nothing theologically complicated, just the plea of a young mom whose mind had turned on her. 

Adam, who was struggling with his own expectations of what parenthood would be like versus our reality, was really amazing during this time. But that's a whole other post in itself. He saw my deer-in-the-headlights look when we talked about this second pregnancy and did what any dreamily hot church-going guy would do. He prayed. And a few days later he came to me a said something like, "Babe, I know it seems like life is crazy, but I feel like this baby is a gift. Not generically, but specifically. I feel like this baby is a reward. God sees all the details of our lives here in NYC and is telling us He's proud of us." 



I chose to believe that. We searched and searched for the perfect name and when we found out, around 27 weeks or so, that it was a girl, we knew she would be called Zaqarah Grace - which means "God's Gracious Reward."

On August 24, 2007 - from that first breath at 9:40 PM on a Friday night, she was (and continues to be) exactly that. Now, I know there are actually medical explanations for this and here's my I'm-not-a-doctor-but-googled-it-enough-to-say-it-with-authority explanation: The post-partum hormones I experienced after Qara actually kicked my brain back in gear rather than compounding my PPD.  I felt like I snapped out of it. I had "space" for Elasia's tantrums (as she was 17 months old then) while nursing a newborn with one hand and sweeping the floors with the other.  I still (even now) have days when I feel like a thick dark fog is threatening to swallow me, but they are so few and far between compared to what I thought was normal motherhood before Qara came.
I feel able to truly enjoy the complex creature that Elasia is. I look at her and see a phenomenal world-changing girl who kids will read about in their history books one day...probably. Instead of seeing a tornado of chaos I (usually) see two sisters enjoying each other and discovering the world together.

Besides the science, I can't help but see Divine fingerprints in this. It's like He heard my midnight cries and saw all those tears and gave me a life-saver: A baby who would nurse/gain weight just fine. Who would grow to be a toddler with PERFECT comedic timing and lots of hugs to spare. Who liked to smush her face on my cheek just because.  Who had an infectious belly-laugh and a spritely little nature.

Who would cause me to have a heart attack at LEAST once a week because of her fearlessness at the playground. Who might not revolutionize nations in the same way her sister would, but will, nonetheless, with her own uniquely endearing charm.

I was given "grace" in the form of an unexpected baby.

Dictionary definition says it so well - each definition seems so specific to what her birth brought into my life:
grace (grs)
1. Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.
2. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement.
3. A sense of fitness or propriety.
4. a. A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill.
b. Mercy; clemency.
5. A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence.
6. A temporary immunity or exemption; a reprieve.
7. a. Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people.
b. The state of being protected or sanctified by the favor of God.
c. An excellence or power granted by God

I'm going to enjoy celebrating her tomorrow and watching her round little face light up when she opens her presents. But I'm also going to try to remember the gift I was given called "grace".  I don't have to drown in this thing called "motherhood".

If only I could remember that every day...

Happy Birthday, My little Mugga-Moo.


melissalutton said...


This is such a profound and encouraging blog, even to an unmarried girl (for 1 month and 30 days!!!) like me!! I cried reading your article. Even though I haven't had children, I can relate to this posting, as there are times in life where LIFE messes with your brain and makes you wonder what is reality and what is not!!

Prayer does change things, and thank God for a strong support system (Adam) to lead you on in times that seem unbearable!

I love you guys so much, love looking at y'all's pics and seeing y'all grow together as a family, and I miss y'all!! One day, I hope to reconnect with y'all in person!! That would be such a blessing to me!! =)

Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your "GRACE"!!!!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Zaqarah Grace Gahagan!!!!!!!


Lacy said...

such a wonderful post! encouraging to me and lessons my fears of having another baby! I'm not pregnant, but I have been so apprehensive about when to get pregnant again! Reminds me to completely trust the Lord with it all! HE surely knows what's best!!

Unknown said...

You're such an amazing MOM............Thank you Lord for Evita. I'm once again reminded of that wonderful grace and mercy you have for us. That same graces and mercy that comes along with peace, love and patience. Thank you Lord again for the Gahagan Family…………As I'm in tears right now I want to wish your baby girl the best birthday ever!!! xoxo

Beth said...

Such a beautiful, beautiful post, Evita. I love how God so graced your lives with little Grace. Such a perfect name.

The way you see the world is so captivating . . . and I love the way you share your deep, profound and contagious insight into motherhood with us.

Oh, and those little girls are absolutely beautiful!

Crystal Keilers, that's me. said...

I stumbled upon your blog and I'm so glad I did =). Pregnancy has been such a learning curve for me and I expect motherhood to be no different. Your transparency is refreshing and I know where to come if I struggle with postpartum (which is more common than most women realize).