I believe that marriage and motherhood is all about sacrifice. It may not sound pleasant — and oftentimes it isn’t — but it is absolutely necessary. When you love someone, you give of yourself. That’s what God did. He sacrificed His Son, because He loves us (John 3:16). Jesus sacrificed his life to free us from the burden of sin (Ephesians 1:7). As mothers, we sacrifice our bodies, our time, our sleep. As wives, we sacrifice many of those same things and more in order to make our spouses happy. That’s what I’ve learned. It doesn’t mean that you can’t also be happy. You should be. If you married the right person, this too should be their philosophy. If you’re both sacrificing for each other and aiming to make each other happy, then no one’s left out.
I’ve been married for nearly 3 years and when I met my husband I considered myself a baby Christian. You know…I went to church whenever I felt like it and was baptized as a child, but as an adult I only had a surface relationship with Jesus. Our relationship was just as flaky as all of the men I was meeting on Tinder at the time, except I was the flake and Jesus was the patient, loving one, waiting for me to get on some act right, commit and stop playing games. That changed when I met my husband. Ironically, I met him through the same site, but his profile was unlike any other I’d seen before. Usually, men either have nothing in their bio or something witty, weird or X-rated, but his was simple. He only had one word in his bio: “Jesus.” Yep. Ya girl is weird too, so I swiped right. Now we’re two babies in, homeowners and working everyday to please God, but that has not come without its challenges. One of those challenges includes becoming parents.
When it comes to motherhood, it’s not been an easy transition. I had no clue the physical and emotional tolls that would come with it. Both deliveries were a C-section. The first was an emergency C-section and the second was planned. I commend the mothers who choose to give birth naturally with no pain medication. That was not my experience, but having a C-section the first time around was one of the toughest things I have ever experienced. Firstly, there is a level of guilt you feel not delivering your baby the traditional way. Though painful, I wanted to give birth vaginally (but I wasn’t saying no to drugs). It seemed like a woman’s rite of passage and if you didn’t give birth naturally, you failed. Those feelings changed once I made it home and had to recover from the surgery while caring for a newborn with very little help. The pain from the C-section made the simplest things extremely difficult. Getting out of bed, painful. Getting into bed, painful. Walking, laughing, coughing… all came with pain. Because of that experience, I now have no doubt in my mind that I went through labor. It may have been post baby, but labor nonetheless.
Next came the emotional stress. At nearly every post-baby appointment, they ask, “How are you?” My usual response was, “I’m tired, but ok,” which was a lie. I was crying for no reason, paranoid about the well being of my baby, and I was trying to breastfeed but not making enough milk. As a result, my son wasn’t gaining weight. I wasn’t tired, I was EXHAUSTED. My thoughts were sometimes dark and everywhere. Not to mention, I was still a wife and felt like I needed to be present with my husband and take care of our home while he worked. I’m no medical professional, but I am pretty sure I suffered from postpartum depression.
I remember telling my husband this during an argument. I expected him to feel sorry for me and console me, but…nope. He didn’t pity me or try to make me feel better about myself in that moment, which surprised me. He is the best person at making me feel beautiful, encouraged and worthy, but instead, he told me that those thoughts were not from God and that they didn’t please Him. He was right. Those thoughts were not from God, they were from the devil and the devil’s mission is to steal, kill and destroy everything God has for you (John 10:10). If that means throwing some dark thoughts and images into your mind or planting a bad seed somewhere in your life, he will do it. I had to pray and focus on the good things (Philippians 4:8); the things God says I am. His Word says I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), I am the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), I am healed (Isaiah 53:5), I am loved (Ephesians 2:4), and that I can do all things through Christ, including getting out of this bed (Philippians 4:13). I would literally say God’s words to myself and out loud to get me through (Proverbs 18:21). It wasn’t easy, it didn’t happen overnight but it worked.
I am convinced that through my husband and marriage, God saved my life. Beyond my struggle with postpartum depression, God has delivered me from a heap of things and taught me that motherhood and marriage is not about me. It should always be about Him. Putting God first before my children and before my husband is a sacrifice I make because I love Jesus. But guess who did it first? We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Devona Yawson is a wife, mom of two boys and an aspiring entrepreneur. She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Devona formerly worked as a TV news producer in Kansas City, Mo and Wichita, Kan., where she earned a regional Emmy nomination. She is currently a stay-at-home mom with a two-year-old son and a newborn. "Jesus made me, Kansas City raised me."
You can connect with Devona at Yawson Portraits, Mommy Mingle or on Instagram.