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Dream vs. reality

Updated: May 9, 2023


Part 1 in a blog series by Journey Church member, Shealyn Holbrook

Becoming a mom is not always what we imagine. From rough pregnancies to unexpected deliveries, motherhood is full of surprises. This honest and inspiring blog post reminds us to appreciate the struggle and to remember that the love we feel for our children is worth it all.

What I thought becoming a mom would be like….. versus real mom life.

My whole life all I wanted was to be a mom. A stay-at-home wife and mom more specifically. Cooking, baking, cleaning, keeping the house and yard, playing, and snuggling babies, that was my dream. I started babysitting at age 12, which can I sidestep for a second and say how wild that is! There is zero chance I would trust any 12-year-old with my children! Hahaha Anyway… babysitting was my favorite “hobby”. I was 8 when my youngest brother was born and I wanted him to be my baby… ok you get the point I think.

Fast forward a few years when I began dating, after high school mostly, I was never a casual dater. I was on a mission to find a husband that could give me those babies! That’s just the truth. It’s funny now, but I would definitely go back and tell myself to chill a bit and be patient, perhaps enjoy being single a little more and stop always looking for the future.

Fast forward more… married and pregnant with number one! I had this perfect picture in my mind of what being pregnant would be like. Cute baby bump, glowing skin, simply happy and joyful all the time.

Another HAHAHA. I was blessed with “morning” aka all-day sickness until 17 weeks. Had a bit of a grace period and around 28 weeks the exhaustion and uncomfortable large hit, until he was born at 38 weeks. My perfect vision did not include poor sleep, solid weight gain, terrible skin, worst gas, back pain, lightning crotch, and zero desire for intimacy… to name a few. Nevertheless, we made it through and I was just thrilled to welcome my first baby boy via NATURAL childbirth.

Another HAHAHA. My water broke lightly at 1230AM, we made our way to the hospital where they confirmed, yes you are here to stay. I had very mild contractions that would soon stop completely. We tried all the things to get them going again, but nothing worked. At 4 PM that evening, I was put on Pitocin and if I may be so bold, the drug from Satan himself. But it did the trick and I started having extremely intense contractions for the next 7ish hours. At that time nurses did THE check and determined I was still only dilated to a 3. ONLY 3? How is that even possible? I didn’t know how much longer I could control myself through the pain still having so far to go. When my water broke fully they checked once more and I heard the nurse say “ Yeah that’s not a head.” I immediately broke down. Flood gates were open wide and I no longer control anything. They told me I was going to be wheeled back for an emergency c-section. Did I mention I planned out a perfect natural vaginal birth? This was not real life. My baby was breech and in zero way headed out of the birth canal so it had to be done. I was terrified, heartbroken, and a complete wreck. I am sure the entire hospital heard my sobbing, but I didn’t even care.

Baby boy born safe and sound via caesarian. It was an unexpected, long, painful, difficult recovery, but it really didn’t matter as much as the fact that I was a MOM!! To a perfect, sweet baby boy. Nothing can prepare you for the level of love you feel for that tiny little human. It was overwhelming. So overwhelming I cried, A LOT, in the beginning. I hardly slept while we were in the hospital because of that intense love which also brought some immediate postpartum anxiety. Every little sound he made I had to look. Constantly checking to make sure he was breathing.. I am sure a very common thing for a

brand new mom, but looking back the anxiety was definitely worse than I knew. I now had this tiny bundle one hundred percent dependent on me for life and nothing else mattered but keeping him safe.

When you imagine your future you hardly think about all the little details that actually make up real life. You think about the cute baby bump, the nice hair, the cute outfits, the newborn snuggles, and smiles. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but it leads to a very eye-opening experience as well. I would say I am a very easygoing person, but there are circumstances where I could be more open-minded, trusting, and go with the flow for sure. Motherhood has shown me that. I would not go back and change anything about my first experience. Not the rough pregnancy or unexpected delivery. The sleepless nights, and sore breasts when you are trying to figure out nursing. The anxiety and overwhelming love that is truly all-consuming.

It’s hard. Mom life is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It’s also the absolute best.

One of the greatest things you can learn to do is to appreciate the struggle. The tears and the exhaustion are tiny pieces of the big puzzle. Being a mom is messy and unpredictable. Every day is a new opportunity to mess things up, but also to learn and grow and continue becoming the best version of yourself. Not only for you but for your baby and family too.

When I had my first son, I didn’t know Jesus as I do now, but I can look back at the entire experience and thank Him for it all. He was leading me and holding me through the easy and hard, despite my level of faith. Everything that doesn’t go your way is an opportunity to lean into Him a little bit more. To let go of the control you think you have and put it in His hands where it belongs. No one loves you more and no one wants to see you succeed in all things, more than our amazing Father.

I thought becoming a mom would be this natural, beautiful, easy-going process just like in the movies. What it turned out to be, is so much better. I have been tested, pushed, and crushed while also being lifted and stretched in the best possible ways. God has used motherhood to bring me closer to Him and I have loved the journey of getting to know Him for the first time in my life.

What are you experiencing in your life that isn’t going according to plan? If you leaned into Jesus a little more and gave Him more of your trust, do you think things would start working themselves out for the better? The way God truly intended?

I'd love to hear your thoughts, questions, and experiences! Drop us a comment or email us directly at


Did you know that the Journey Church is an online church for people everywhere? We create some pretty awesome documentary-style videos to bring the Bible to life. Traveling throughout North America, we connect the lessons from the Bible with the great people and places we encounter along the way. Then, as people connect with us in person or online, we invite them to step in and get to know each other. Those relationships are the foundation of what become some wonderful discipleship-focused friendships. We walk along side people to help them grow as Jesus followers and encourage them to gather with a small group of their friends and family to do the same.

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Carley LeMonds
Carley LeMonds
Feb 20, 2023

SO proud of you Shea!! So blessed to have you as a friend and love seeing you grow and walk through life. Cannot wait to read more of your posts!

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