Being a mother is recognizing strengths you didn’t know you had, and conquering fears, you didn’t know you could.

Let’s be real: everyone always talks about the joys of motherhood…how wonderful our kids are, how proud of them we are, how beautiful they are, how they made the Honor Roll at school.

But what gets swept under the rug is all the times they break us or test our limits, or assess our strengths. Strength during motherhood comes in all forms, starting from the very moment they enter this world.

The strength and pain we endure to create them and give them life is unimaginable, yet women do it every single day; day after day and some of us even choose to do it multiple times. Because the love we have for our children blinds the pain we go through on the day we bring them into this world and every day after that.

We cry ourselves to sleep from pure exhaustion when they are babies that won’t sleep through the night; or we run to our closets or our warm bathtubs to weep into our knees, to somehow find the strength to go on another day loving them, feeding them, and nurturing them when they have told us we are dumb and don’t know what we are talking about.

But when the day arrives that the forces of strength and fears collide to create that “Perfect Storm” of dread; the day when your child tells you something so hurtful or painful, that it takes every ounce of strength in your soul to respond properly; yet your worst nightmare has just been realized. Somehow you still have to figure out how to keep breathing, how to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

You know they aren’t old enough or mature enough to make this decision, yet the courts say they are, so, unfortunately, you have to go along with it. But still, just 24 hours ago, they were asking you for help on an English project, and how to ask their girlfriend to Homecoming. They still need their Mommy so much, yet they tell you they want to go live with their other parent fulltime, and you are just supposed to accept that decision.

Or your child could have come to you in confidence and finally mustered up the strength and truth to admit their sexual preference. Or they have finally come forward to tell you about an error they made, and I mean a huge error, one that is illegal or life-changing.

It goes back to that “Mom Super Power,” digging deep for that strength to continue to love them, and support them, and accept them for who they are, even though you may disagree with their choices or actions right down to your very core. But that is the strength of a mother, and every fear realized. The strength that God made you a woman, and the fear of knowing it was inevitable.

But you just have to remember to keep breathing, keep putting one foot in front of the other, and focus on the here and now; not the past, not the future. And always remember that being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had; while dealing with fears, you didn’t know existed.