Lisa Leonard Designs

when matthias was born

April 19th | family, thoughts

since mother’s day is approaching i’ve been reflecting on being a mom. last week i shared about david’s birth.

today i’ll share our journey with matthias’ birth and first year.

just 10 months after david was born we got pregnant again. we felt ready. 10 months of grieving, adjusting, making it work and falling in love with david felt more like 10 years. i think time moves slower when you’re in crisis.

we were considered a high-risk pregnancy because of david’s disability, but everything went incredibly well. we got pregnant easily. all the tests came back normal. all the ultrasounds looked perfect. even his delivery was easy. and when he was born it was like relief swept over my whole being. we had a healthy baby. we were so thankful!

if david’s birth story is about watching hope grow, matthias’ birth story is about finding peace and healing.

we brought our healthy baby boy home from the hospital and introduced him to david. and david wanted nothing to do with his new brother. he didn’t want to touch him or even look at him. and then the relief was gone and the guilt took over.

do i love matthias more than david?

will i have enough time to give david the attention he needs?

will matthias resent having a brother with a disability?

questions questions questions. and more guilt. how did this new baby fit into our family? everything was all out of whack again and i was devastated.

slowly we got to know matthias and fell in love. slowly we started to develop new routines. and slowly i began to feel that i could love each of my boys for who they were and stop comparing them.

i started to realize that the guilt was eating me from the inside out and it wasn’t doing anyone any good.  it wasn’t wrong to be grateful that matthias didn’t have a disability. i realized having a healthy child freed me to enjoy david and his developmental stages while enjoying matthias’ more typical growth and learning.

i am so thankful we had matthias when we did. he brings so much joy, imagination and kindness to our family. he is full of love and self-confidence. the boys love each other and make each other’s lives better.

matthias, your life has brought joy and healing to my heart. i love you.

friends, if you have children, did anything about motherhood surprise you? did you have any unexpected emotions?

{scroll down for our free lovebird wall hanging special. valid april 19th only!}

45 Responses

  1. Amy K. says:

    so much about motherhood surprised me. i thought i’d be completely fulfilled by having a child, but it just made me realize how much more i need to be fulfilled by the Lord. i didn’t realize how crazy your emotions get afterwards and how you’d end up crying over a sandwich or something. BUT i also didn’t realize how much i’d love him either. and that God could grow me in so many ways.

    thanks for always sharing your heart. you’re one of my favorites!

  2. Robbin says:

    The emotions I had when we had to let them go…Liz to Gregg as a wife and Danielle just to go out on her own to a place she’d never been (other than a visit or two). I enjoy my time on my own, but I miss the girls running around, bringing their friends around, doing things together. We still see each other, but it takes effort. With their busy schedules, it’s hard to pinpoint a time to get together, but we have been able to do it and the job I have now gives me a little more flexibility. But to say good-bye, knowing I wouldn’t see them everyday again, or in my town again, was hard. I thought I was prepared, but you aren’t. When we left Danielle in OR, before I even got to the car, I was crying. I love my girls so much. But I know God loves them more than I do and He has them covered. Love that!

  3. tiffany day says:

    Hi Lisa,

    I think I {heart} you more and more everytime I read here! I would love to have coffee with you sometime!

    So much about motherhood did and did NOT surprise me! The absolute unconditional and enormous love I felt from day one – surprised me – then when #2 came along when #1 was only 15 months old – I was surprised how God made me capable to fully and completely love this new baby just as much. My feelings of being overwhelmed surprised me; overwhelmed with how much there was to do and to keep a good balance. Now almost 12 years later – I am still amazed at the feelings I get from being a mother – I love it more than anything!

    My kids have made me a better person; they push me; challenge me and love me unconditionally – all the things I hope I am able to be to them. I am so blessed – beyond what I ever thought possible!

    xoxoTiffany

  4. Sherri says:

    I have to say that so much surprised me about motherhood – I didn’t realize how much I could love them, how every emotion they feel affects me, how completely different they are and how they don’t respond to the same rewards/discipline … everything changed … everything.

    I love this post, thank you Lisa!

  5. Kelli says:

    With my first, I was surprised at how much my little world was ROCKED. And I don’t mean in an awesome way. After planning my pregnancy, nesting, and being so overjoyed my entire pregnancy, I didn’t expect to feel so scared and overwhelmed and…incapable! Thankfully, time helped me to let go of my “old” life and embrace the new. And now we have two girls. My youngest’s birth was so different, and it just sort of set the tone of things to come: peace and surrender. I can’t imagine my life without my sweet little Annabelle & Clementine.
    xo

  6. amy says:

    my daughter is 7 and i’m still surprised by motherhood every single day! when she was little it was all about the emotions, the changing (just when ya think you’ve got something figured out!), the worrying, all of it! now it’s more the funny things that come out of her mouth that surprise me! she is one unique individual and i just feel really grateful to have not only the pleasure of knowing her but of getting to see her grow every single day. blessed indeed.

    from longtime reader and first time commenter,
    amy :-)

  7. Prudence says:

    the love suprised me, how much I would love them, all 5. and then the teenage years hit and the pain hit, the raw, real pain of a real broken heart, when your teen makes wrong choices, but even in that pain, the funny thing is that love grows. Being a mom is crazy!

  8. Jen says:

    Such a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing. Lisa, I do know this is a bit much to ask…but do you think you and your hubby will try for another baby? I apologize if you’ve already answered this. I haven’t been able to keep up with your blog as much as I did in the past. :(

    • Lisa Leonard says:

      hi jen! i actually have never answered this question on the blog. i don’t think we are going to have any more kiddos of our own. i think our family might be complete–unless God has different ideas!

  9. deezie says:

    Hi Lisa
    How I love your blog, you are one of the ones I check every single day. I love everything about what you write, do, etc. You are like Sunshine!!!
    Love your story about your boys.
    What I didn’t expect when I had my first girl was I think what everyone said already here and that is the (love) not expecting to love someone so much. I always thought I loved my husband more than anything, which of course I still do :) but when I held my little girl who came to us one month to soon so she was so tiny. I melted. I never thought I could love another child like that and then I had my little Belle, who of course I love just like my Abby. They are so precious to me. I love everything about having children. We are all so lucky and blessed as Mothers
    Happy Day Lisa
    deezie

  10. Lisa says:

    So many things about motherhood have surprised me. Now, as my only child approaches 13, I continue to be surprised by the love, patience, energy, and teaching that takes place between us. I’ve enjoyed every stage of her life, but am thoroughly enjoying the pre-teen years.

  11. Gussy Sews says:

    these posts are so precious, i love knowing a little more about your family.

    ♥.

  12. EricaG says:

    I was surprised by my “mama bear” instinct. I have always been mild and quiet, but the need to protect and advocate for my children has brought out a strength and a level of conviction that I didn’t know I had!

  13. Danielle says:

    I was most surprised by the amount of love I felt for my child(ren), I knew I would love them but never did I get how intense that love would be. And then the clencher came when I was completely and utterly humbled by the knowledge and fact that my love for my child was just a fraction of how much our Heavenly Father loves us. It was an eye opening moment for me when I was able to understand what it was to love as a parent and to appreciate even more the sacrifice God gave us by giving us His Son.

  14. christie oconnor says:

    You are so honest Lisa. I just love reading your blog and seeing your cute little family.
    Motherhood has been one surprise after another. 5 years of infertility I finally had my first in April of 06. Just 3 months later and a big surprise…i was pregnant again. I felt so incredibly guilty and sad! for my firstborn. But that was over as soon as he was born. My boys are the best of friends and I am so overjoyed to have them close together!

  15. Carly says:

    Having a baby with a heart defect, who has had two surgeries, has brought on guilt… mostly around procedures, blood draws, surgeries, hospitalizations, etc. Your sharing of John 9, which I have probably read a lot before my son was born but not after, has brought so much healing to my heart.

  16. Lea Culp says:

    Oh, I’m just now realizing that David was your first child. What a step of faith to choose to have another child so quickly. You are such an inspiration and I am blessed each time I stop by your blog. Easter blessings to you and your precious family!

  17. Marilyn says:

    Twenty-eight years ago, we delivered a baby boy at 28 weeks. He weighed 1 lb. 13 ozs. After three miscarriages, we decided he would be enough. It has not been easy, but it has been wonderful in a different sort of way. Our son, who is in a wheelchair, graduated college and is a substitute teacher at our local high schools and a school for troubled youth. He is an inspiration to everyone he meets. Would I change things if I could? Probably…but then look what the world would miss?

  18. Tammy says:

    Our boys are 18 months apart, and Henry (older) is the same way with Oliver our 4 month old. He could care less most of the time. He does show his concern when Oliver isn’t around, like pointing at his cart seat base in the car and asking where he is. But he is just barely starting to warm up to him. He gave him his first (gentle) high five today, which just warmed my heart! But your feelings totally describe mine. Sometimes I even find myself holding back affection from Oliver in front of Henry because I feel bad, as if it takes away something from Henry. But my husband keeps reminding me, the more love for everyone the better!

    I was surprised by how much I worry, ALL THE TIME! Trying to get a grip on that. :)

    • Lisa Leonard says:

      tammy, thanks for sharing your heart. it isn’t easy–and it’s so imperfect! but i agree, the more love the better! and brothers–what a gift! sending hugs. xo

  19. Elizabeth says:

    LOVE! LOVE everything!

  20. jennifer says:

    I was blessed to adopt a little girl from China at 15 months old, then give birth to a little boy 8 months later. I was amazed by the love that grew so strong in my heart for each child. I am so thankful to have experienced both adoption and child birth. What a gift from God! I was surprised by how tired a mother can get and by how little I got done when when they were very little! I was also rather shocked at how long it took me to get ready to go anywhere.

  21. Hi Lisa! I LOVE your work…so timeless & beautiful. I just entered the giveaway you’re sponsoring on the Be Different, Act Normal blog. Fingers crossed I win! :)

    Jessica D.
    info(at)funkyfinds(dot)com

  22. Kari says:

    Hello there!

    I’m just stopping by via {{LMM}} and I had a few things to say….

    a.) You are amazingly talented.
    b.) I want to own every necklace that you’ve made…seriously, I’m not even exaggerating.
    c.) I loved this post. I’m about 37 weeks pregnant with my first baby. :)

  23. Jonique says:

    I love you stuff!
    Totally going on my wish lists!!

    Joni

    Stopping by from LMM

  24. Robin says:

    Oh how I can relate to your feelings! Except it took us 10 YEARS to get the courage to have another child after loosing two or our triplets, and then living with our “special” little girl. We wanted our daughter to adore her new baby brother, but her feelings were completely opposite. We had so much guilt over so many things, but now I wouldn’t change things for the world.

  25. Mina says:

    I’m with Sherry. I thought I knew my capacity to love another person, but I was completely blown away by the love I feel for my children. It’s so pure, so deep, almost frightening if I think too much! I believe that every mom questions whether she can love a new baby as much as she loves her first child(ren). You just had a little twist on that theory, and as with most of us, I’m certain that you found that Matthias simply opened your heart a little more and maybe in different ways. Happy Easter & an early Happy Mother’s Day!

  26. Sarah says:

    Lisa –

    I’ve been somewhat of a silent follower for awhile because I just adore your designs. So sweet and they represent such great sentiment for our loved ones. Stopping by yet again, this time courteousy of LMM.

  27. melissa says:

    lisa – this hit a chord with me. we have 3 boys. my first are twin boys, born 10 weeks premature. it is impossible not to compare them, and they are so, so different! t, came first, have really no medical issues and came home after a relatively easy 6 week nicu stay. l, had many medical issues, stayed in the nicu for 13 weeks and was on oxygen at home for his first year. they are now nearly 5 and l loves learning, is reading and comprehending math, etc, while t is much less interested in those things. so silly, but after almost 5 years, we still have to force ourselves to look at them as individuals and not get stressed that one is “behind” the other. i think it forces us to be better, more observant parents. my third was born full term and what a relief that was!
    anyway, hope you have a happy mother’s day!!

  28. David says:

    I really enjoy the way that you convey your story about your family. I am always intrigued by the diversity of family dynamics. With Mother’s Day (quickly) approaching, I wanted to tell you how your story reflected on my experiences as a child. It’s funny, but I believe that we each get a handful of memories from the very early years of our lives. Most turn into something more like glimpses as I get a little older, but I have vivid, tangible memories of my mom – and her unfailing effort to make sure that I felt loved. Equally as vivid are my memories of her sharing that same love with my dad and my brothers. I feel confident, from what I read here, that your children are building those same memories and 30+ years from now will share them with others.

  29. Jeremy says:

    I was surprised at how much more emotional I became after having our first child. Heartwarming TV, movies, and music get to me now. Ever try explaining to a 3 year old why you are crying in the middle of a movie theater watching the end of Toy Story 3? One of my favorite movies is “My Life” with Michael Keaton. But, now I know there is now way I could make it through is out being one huge train wreck of a tear snot factory.
    Children are a blessing, and everyone tells you beforehand that they will change your life. I never understood what that meant until becoming a parent.

  30. Paige says:

    Wow, Lisa. I am on the road to motherhood (baby due in 5 weeks) and I just find your stories about your boys so incredibly sweet and inspiring. You are a great Mom and your boys are too cute!

  31. Laura says:

    As a deaf mom of two hearing children, I have always been proud of them. I could relate to your emotions very well because my younger son is disability; autism. This emotion did not impact me until he was nearly three years old. While I had so many emotions, I gulped food with my guilt until I finally gave up. I had to take a time to look at myself to analyze on what s good with each child I have. So, I have been there just like you went through and end up with lots of laughter and love.

    Dylan, my older son, was born a few days before Valentine’s Day. There was a reason why he arrived in this world. He is an awesome role model for all of us, especially for his younger brother, Ryan. He has taught him great and helped us a lot.

    As for my younger son with autism, Ryan was born on Mother’s Day. (May 10th is a Mother’s Day from Mexico annually.) He brought us so many joyous for all of us. Being born on Mother’s Day helped me to forget the whole problems I have had and moved on.

    I never thought God would given us a valid reason to have these two boys to arrive the world on specific day for specific reasons. They are my gifts, just like yours.

  32. Lisa, both of the boys are so beautiful, and I know they each bring their own, unique brand of goodness and joy to your lives. What blessings!

  33. Charla says:

    I, too, have a child with special needs (autism.) Before becoming a mommy I often felt sorry for people who have special needs kids. Now, I look at the special needs community with completely different eyes and truly love the differences that are in each person. God made us all unique and the reasons become more obvious to me all the time!

  34. Cynthia says:

    The biggest surprise about motherhood to me was how fiercely I would want to protect my son from everything. Also, how you can love someone so much that you would do anything for them!

  35. We had our twins 3 months early, weighing 2lbs 8oz and 2lbs 1oz, both just a bit over the size of a ruler! I never knew the feeling of wanting to protect them and make them feel safe would take over as fast as it did. I wanted them to know that I was there to help protect them and make them feel “all better”, even if I could only do it with my voice (since I couldn’t hold them in the beginning). Now they are a year, crawling around, and I get to love on them and show them how much mommy will make boo-boos “all better”! As the oval wall hanging I have from LLD states .. “Miracles Live Here”!

  36. Heather says:

    When I was little I pictured myself playing barbies with my daughter or going out for manicures and brunch. Now as an adult and a mom to 4 boys I don’t do barbies, manicures or brunch. I do trucks, super heroes and dirt. I never pictured myself as a mom to boys, but God did. I am so surprised at how much I love it. I love playing with boy toys and shooting pretend guns and digging in the dirt. I’ve even been known to hold a rollie pollie or lady bug on occasion. I’m a girlie girl and I just never thought I could be a mom to boys. I’m so thankful that God knew differently and blessed me with 4 wonderful and wild boys.

  37. Lisa says:

    I can totally relate. I have a girl, 4, and a boy, 2, born nearly 2 years apart. The first year of girl’s life I thought I couldn’t possibly love anohter child as I love this one. When she was 13 months old I decided yes I can. After boy was born and was up every night screaming all night, I was exhausted and wanted to sleep all day but had a 2 y.o. that needed me I thought, what have we done? I have no energy for my daughter and I spent the first couple months planting her in front of the TV! Thankfully we came out of the newborn coma and I couldn’t imagine life without each of these two extremely different individuals!

  38. Sarah-Anne says:

    wow. thanks for sharing, lisa. :)

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