Mothergood Feature: Carrie O’Loughlin
I am a wife, a former 1st grade teacher, and a mother. You can read about how we adopted our daughter here.
I am a full-time mom right now, and I absolutely love it. I cannot imagine it any other way. My husband and I are both in our mid 40’s, which has afforded us the luxury of being more financially stable. I feel blessed to be at home with her. My husband also works from home, so he gets the chance see our daughter mid-day and watches her briefly while I take a shower or go to the bathroom—things I do not take for granted anymore.
I love watching our daughter grow, discover new things, and share in her joy. I love being present for the small and big milestones—from holding her head up, to eating solid food, to taking her first steps. I love how every day is different, new, and exciting to be a part of. To be honest, the only thing I would change would be my age. I imagine that if I was younger, it would be a little easier to manage with the lack of sleep and to keep up with her physically.
What do I find most fulfilling and challenging about motherhood?
Being a mom is the most amazing and rewarding experience I have ever experienced. I love seeing the face of God in my little one and trying my best to love her unconditionally. I love knowing that I have a significant role in raising her to be, hopefully, a strong Christian woman. I love how unique and special she is and love watching her grow and discover new things. I love learning from her how to be childlike, trusting, and vulnerable. I love watching her laugh hard and smile from ear to ear! I love how she smells when she get out of the bath, and holds my finger when I give her a bottle. The list is endless!
Being a mom is also a very challenging experience. Becoming a mother in my 40’s, after having been independent and able to freely come and go as I please, to now having limited time to myself, has been a tough transition. The introverted part of me needs some down time. It is really hard to get that alone time, plus go on date nights to keep our marriage strong, and a happy little one. (I’m getting better at balancing all these things, so it is a work in progress).
At the same time, I crave community. I am making an effort to make connections with other moms with little ones. Just to sit and listen to other moms share ideas or concerns and know that I am not the only one experiencing my joys and struggles is wonderful. I also just started meeting with a “mentor mom.” She has more “mom” experience than I do, and she calms my fears and shares her wisdom.
I was told by some wise women that even moms who adopt get the “baby blues.” I was so relieved to hear that and felt supported and encouraged, as a I feel like I had that as well for a period of time. I was not the only one who experienced this and learned that it is ok to ask for what I need and to take care of myself.
How have I incorporated motherhood into my identity without losing my individuality?
I am still working on incorporating motherhood into my identity. I recently made self-care a priority, and I can clearly see that doing so has made me both a better wife and mother. By making some time to do the things that I love, I have regained that sense of self after many months. After taking some steps toward this goal, I have already seen a difference in my energy level, joy, and zest for life.
I am hopeful that I can keep a good balance as mommy, wife, and individual. It is a steep learning curve, and I like learning how others manage this. I would love to learn from all you moms out there, how you make it work!
What advice would I give women who are considering/desiring motherhood, especially those on the the road to adoption?
If you are just starting to discern adoption, I would say, do not be afraid! Let yourself feel the fears, listen to them, and take them seriously. But, do not let them get in the way of your calling. Know that your love will run even deeper than your fears. I would also suggest investigating several options out there: check into the County, religious charities, private agencies etc., and discern which one fits best for you and your husband.
If you are already on your way and waiting for that precious baby to adopt, I would say to be patient and trust the perfect child is there for you. After we had the “disruption” (disruption of not adopting a baby that we thought we were going to adopt) I was so sad and disappointed. I really questioned if I could go through it again. Now after adopting Mary Hannah, I have no doubt she is the one chosen for us! She is the greatest blessing and joy in our lives and we cannot imagine life without her.