Living to the Fullest While Waiting for Children
A Letter from Hannah Russell
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Hello sweet sisters,
Have you ever felt like you were made for something? Created and designed specifically for a reason? Most of my life I have felt that my purpose here on earth was to to be a wife and a mother, to love on and care for my babies. The Lord gave me these desires for a reason and they are strong.
I met my now husband in the third grade and we went on our first date when we were fifteen. During our dating years we were patient and knew how we wanted to wait and prepare for being husband and wife. Logan and I entered into our marriage open and excited about the possibility of welcoming a baby into our lives. I will never forget standing on the altar with my almost husband saying our vows. It is so vivid in my mind when we were asked "Are you prepared to accept children lovingly from God and to bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?”, while I softly said “I am”, Logan proudly stated “absolutely!” My heart fell in love with him once again.
"I will never forget standing on the altar with my almost-husband saying our vows. It is so vivid in my mind when we were asked 'Are you prepared to accept children lovingly from God and to bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?', while I softly said “I am", Logan proudly stated 'absolutely!'"
A mothers heart with no children. Oh how I long for the day. As the months passed and our desires only grew stronger I started to feel lost. I thought this was my purpose? I thought I had everything figured out in this part of my life. Going through college I really only looked at school as something I needed to get through to marry my best friend at the end. I cared about looking for jobs and have been searching for that perfect career, but have fallen short in finding that solution to my plan. At the end of the day that all didn’t matter to me as much though because hey, I was going to be a mom and that was my purpose. I quickly realized how I have gone through so many stages of my life waiting for that next step, the next moment that I really wanted, where I truly thought I should be. I hardly got involved in areas of my life that were great opportunities to meet new people, focus on the now and live in the moment. Yeah, sure I felt present, but was I really? I was meant to be a mother and a wife I told myself, but I was only twenty and not yet married, so I would just get through. Try to enjoy what my life looked like then, but not fully invest. I was preparing my heart for marriage and motherhood, but missed out on caring for what my heart needed then. Openness and acceptance on school not going the way I planned or not getting engaged as soon as I thought. This is where I needed healing and attention. Instead, I brushed my anxieties and worries away because those moments didn’t matter because they were not the big picture, my main purpose.
"I quickly realized how I have gone through so many stages of my life waiting for that next step, the next moment that I really wanted, where I truly thought I should be."
But whoever said you have one purpose? Who told me that we are all put here to fulfill our purpose, then return back home to our Creator? I got this idea in my head at such a young age that I was meant for motherhood. I know I am called to be a wife and a mother. I know this is my vocation. I have had such a draw to children and mothers hearts for all my life. But this is all “my plan." Yes, I am being open and honest to what my Father is leading me towards. I have prayed to feel confident in my choices and asked for guidance in this calling. But how do I feel like I am failing this big purpose of mine by not being able to conceive a child yet? Why am I missing all of the moments to connect with other women in their struggles and desires? How am I making date nights with my husband turn into tears at the end of the night because I am really longing to be at home giving our child a bath? These times of sadness and heartache matter. They are real. But these are also times of learning, joy and alone time. Yes, I feel I have a purpose here on earth, but does this have to be one thing? Can I have purpose in being a newlywed enjoying the time I have with my husband? Can I have purpose in being a good friend and sister, spending time with those who bring me joy? Being in this moment, now. Having intentional relationships and deep conversations instead of superficial interactions because those just yield signs to what I am waiting for. These are the lessons I am learning. These are how I am finding my purpose in being a married woman with no children yet.
"Being in this moment, now. Having intentional relationships and deep conversations instead of superficial interactions because those just yield signs to what I am waiting for. These are the lessons I am learning."
During this time of waiting I have been reminded to be gentle on myself, I don’t need to be a mom to have a mother's heart. I have purpose in being tender and loving to my husband, my friends and my family. Sharing that true, deep, caring smile and friendly conversation to the stranger at the post office is my purpose. Hugging and kissing on my nieces and nephew is my purpose. My mother's heart is real. I feel it. But it is not only meant for my children.
What is your purpose? Do you even feel you have one? You may have thought you were meant to go to that school, have that career, marry that guy, buy that house, but in the end it wasn’t where the good Lord was leading you. Be gentle on yourself dear sister. You have purpose here.
For all I know I could be pregnant next month and would be so excited to share the good news with you. It would be easy for me to feel silly about writing this and how I should have just suffered through it alone and not made a big fuss, but that is not the truth. The enemy wants us to feel isolated in our battles, to tell yourself you are silly and small, what you are going through wont matter or affect others. But I know my God never wants us to feel alone, community and companionship are gifts that we can choose to accept.
If I cannot share with you my struggles, how can I share with you my joy? No one's life is all that they want it to be or what it appears to be. Whatever pain you are going through I hope you know that you are worth being listened to, loved on and cared for.
Prayers for you all dear, sweet sisters.
In Christ's love,
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hello! I am Hannah Russell, 26 years old, from Bulverde, Texas. I am a pre-school teacher to 11 huggable two year olds. I have been married for a year and a half to my high school sweetheart. I have a children's clothing and decor shop called Russell Sprouts Kids, full of ethical and fair trade goodness. My biggest hobby is traveling or working on our tiny house when home. I love to design and decorate spaces and dream to make this a bigger part of my life someday. I always overthink what I say. I am most comfortable with a child in my arms. I have a major sweet tooth. My parents both come from big catholic families and we are all very close. I am an extroverted introvert. I have not taken the Enneagram Test yet.
What does your vocation look like on a day-to-day basis?
My vocation on a day-to-day basis looks like always giving my husband a kiss and blessing from bed as he leaves while it is still dark outside. Tag teaming chores... he cooks and vacuums/swiffers, and I do dishes and laundry. We spend time praying for each other and together.
Tell us about Russell Sprout Kids! How has this played a role in your life as you wait for a child?
Russell Sprouts Kids! A dream I chased after! Owning a children's clothing and decor shop has come with a roller coaster of emotions as I wait for a child of my own. There are days that I spend all my time brainstorming new ideas and looking at baby clothes, while other days I take a break from it all. The best part about RSK that keeps me going is getting to work with my friends and family and their children. I love having a job where I can spend time with the kiddos I love most and witness the amazing mothers my friends have become.
Are there any spiritual resources that have helped you along this journey?
About two years ago I made the decision if I was going to spend time on social media I was really going to sensor who/what I am following. I wanted to learn, connect and engage. Through this I have found many places on the internet that have been a spiritual resource for me during my time as an engaged woman, a newlywed and as I wait for motherhood. Mass and adoration have helped me along this journey. As well as family and friends openly praying for my husband and I. We have been able to have so many real and honest conversations opening up about our journey that has allowed us to connect and lead us to beautiful communities.
How can we, as millennial Catholic women, be more sensitive to and supportive of those who haven’t been able to have children yet?
First off, I want women with children to know what an inspiration they are. The millennial Catholic mothers I am surrounded by are a huge part of what makes my desire to have children so strong. I am in awe of the beauty of motherhood. Seeing women have such a gentle and strong love while caring for their children draws me to my vocation even more. I think it is so important for women to understand that we are all suffering. My heart hurts when I have had the conversations with my sisters who have conceived about them feeling guilty for sharing their own struggles with me. We cannot compare our crosses, yet accept and support one another through them. If I can't be there for these women how do I expect them to journey along with me? I love advice, but as with any pain, it is not always what someone wants or needs to hear. I am a fixer and when I see someone hurting all I want is to make it better. So much of this is out of our control and I have learned through my own experience how just walking side by side with someone during their pain can be the biggest blessing. It is okay to simply just be there and acknowledge their suffering. We don't always have to know the answer or what to say.
"I have learned through my own experience how just walking side by side with someone during their pain can be the biggest blessing. It is okay to simply just be there and acknowledge their suffering. We don't always have to know the answer or what to say."
Where can we keep up with you?
I mostly use instagram. My personal account is @_hannruss and my shop is @russellsproutskids (Website russellsproutskids.com).
Fill in the blank
My favorite liturgical holiday is…
the season of Advent.
A saint I identify with the most is…
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla (Though I have been really relating to Hannah from scripture lately)
My favorite quote is…
"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing to find the place where all beauty came from" C.S. Lewis
I feel most at peace when…
I am outside in the evening enjoying the sunset with loved ones.
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