For the first 35 years of my life, writing was my greatest love. My identity was neatly, proudly wrapped around being a member of the Fourth Estate. Journalism took me from Chicago to Washington, D.C., and back, and I loved nothing more than stacking my plate high with stories. The more of my hair that was on fire, the better. I covered everything from abortion, education in Spain, and the Sept. 11 attacks, to women’s issues in the workplace and cultural proficiency among America’s new teachers.
When I became pregnant at 34, I was convinced I’d just add the child to my busy work schedule—“I’ll fit the baby in” were my exact words—because nothing could be more compelling than my career. And the child wasn’t going to define me.
Shortly after my son was born, the story took a sharp turn. I suffered a severe tear during his birth, my vital organs stopped working a few days later, landing me in the ER, and a lot of emotional and physical duress followed. Doctors initially thought I had postpartum anxiety and/or post-traumatic stress, but there was another caveat that took nine months for them to discover: residual antibodies from the pregnancy were destroying my thyroid gland, and I had developed a condition known as Hashimoto’s disease. It’s basically an autoimmune disorder in which the thyroid gland stops working.
During that time, when I felt as if I’d been tossed into an unending dark-and-stormy night, I heard God’s voice more clearly than ever. My son’s life would be the best story I could ever hope to tell, I decided, and took a hiatus from my work. God had made a clarion call to redirect my approach to life. As C.S. Lewis said, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Using my pain to draw me closer to Christ, God showered me with grace. And he saved me from the wretched abyss of despair.
As I returned to writing about a year later, my love for it was newly strong. A vast crop of stories was before me—particularly those of women who’ve done battle at the doorway of motherhood, and ultimately triumphed. Above all, the fire in my belly was burning to use my journalism skills to honor God, and the good work he’s doing in me.
Mama Writes, then, represents my endeavor to begin to answer God’s call. It’s an effort to illuminate issues that crop up in three of life’s most exciting arenas: motherhood, careers, and faith. I hope you’ll join me on the path to exploring them, and share your thoughts along the way.