4/27/15

Motherhood Spotlight: Stephanie Ellersick

Hi! My name is Stephanie and I'm writing from sunny Arizona! I have an identical twin sister and we've known Heather since High School, but we especially loved watching her as a cheerleader at BYU. I'm honored to do a guest post for her! 

I'm married to a handsome, curly-haired husband named Ryan and we have two darling kids, Jack & Julia. I love sweet treats and listening to Coldplay! And, two of my favorite things to do in my spare time are graphic design for my etsy shop, Juji Loo Prints, and painting furniture!



I was recently talking to a co-worker of my husband's and he asked me if I liked being home all day with my kids. The way he said it made me feel like being a stay at home mom was something to be embarrassed about, although I don't think he meant it that way. My own insecurities about my purpose as a mom began to nag me when he asked that poignant question. I don't earn a significant amount of money for my family, I don't hold a prestigious title by the world's standards, and my days are extremely monotonous. However, I responded to him that I love being a stay at home mom...and, I meant it (most of the time)! My own ups and downs in my life as a mom have helped me realize that motherhood should be both endured and enjoyed, depending on the day.

ENDURING
I have struggled with infertility since June 2013. My oldest two children came so easily to me. They're only 18 months apart and the challenges of a close age gap were real and are still etched into my memory! But, as they began to be more independent, I could feel the pull on my heart to try for one more baby. June 2013 brought the 2nd miscarriage of my life (I experienced one other before my son was born). We had just moved to Arizona and my mom had gone back home so I was left to deal with it on my own. But, wonderful women from my church stepped in and helped me through that time. 

I was cleared to get pregnant soon after. We got pregnant again just a few months later in October 2013. After seeing a heartbeat at the first appointment, I again began to bleed and knew that I was losing that pregnancy. It required a d&c and I was devastated! I couldn't believe that I had just experienced 2 miscarriages in a row! I didn't know very many women who had gone through that and so I felt alone and confused. I frequently asked, "why me?". But, my husband said something after we prayed together one night that struck a chord with me. The thought that came to him was that while I was enduring the trial of infertility, I could also use that extra time to bond with Jack & Julia. I felt renewed purpose in being their mom and focusing on the present. 

As 2014 ensued, I found myself still saddened at each negative pregnancy test, but my focus had shifted. Instead of using all of my time and energy to think about getting pregnant, I tried to look for ways to be a more cheerful mom to the kids that I did have. I quickly learned that after I had grieved the losses (or at least let the hormonal roller coaster subside), I was capable of being a happy and involved mom! 

August 2014 approached with another positive pregnancy test. I began to bleed shortly after and felt extremely numb to the fact that I would likely lose another pregnancy. I didn't know this was possible. A week after being tested and finding rising hcg levels, I felt sharp, shooting pain on my left side and knew that something was wrong. The next day, my doctor took me into surgery where she found an ectopic pregnancy that she had to remove. It seems contradictory to say, but in a moment of such sadness in my life, I have never felt so much love from my family and friends. 

Those seasons of my life had happy moments, but some days were truly a test of endurance. It is now April 2015 and my two years of trying for a baby have yielded me nothing as far as a cute, little human goes. But, I look back and realize how much my ups and downs have helped me see what a blessing motherhood is. It is truly a gift from God!



ENJOYING
One of my favorite children's songs is called "My Mother Dear". The lyrics are:  

Like sunshine in the morning that wakens day from night,
Like flowers in the springtime so colorful and bright,
Like happy songs of bluebirds that fill the air with cheer,
A person bright and lovely is my mother dear.

I am just a normal mom, but like my favorite children's song, I want my children to consider me bright & lovely. I don't do crafts very often with my kids, I don't jump in the pool and throw them around, and I don't usually push them on the swings. I've learned that we all have different skills and talents with our children. So, rather than focus on what everyone else is doing, I like to enjoy my own unique mother-children bonding moments.

One small thing my kids really enjoy, that makes me feel like a successful mom, is to turn on music and twirl them around the living room. It only ever lasts 5 minutes, but they love it and so do I! But, if twirling your kids around the living room isn't your thing, find your own memory making moment! Another quirky thing that I do with my kids is to watch cooking shows like Barefoot Contessa. They love watching as much as I do! Then, when I get a sweet tooth and want to make a batch of cookies, I will lay all of the ingredients out on the counter and pretend we are on a cooking show. Let's be honest, I use this as a cover to bond with my kids, but I really just like to pretend I'm on a cooking show! ;) 

I've noticed that my kids don't really care what the activity is as long as I look like I'm having fun. Since observing that, I've come to the conclusion that enjoying motherhood isn't about what you do, it's how you do it. My goal is to "do" motherhood a little bit brighter and a little lovelier! 

Enjoy this printable from my shop to print and give to your mother for Mother's Day or display in your own home!