Chrisney Ball never thought she would be a mom.
Diagnosed with endometriosis, a condition that causes the lining of the uterus to appear outside of the uterus, doctors told her couldn’t have children.
Today, Ball is a mother of two beautiful daughters, a stepchild and a biological daughter she conceived — just shy of her 36th birthday — after undergoing surgery to remove scar tissue.
After the shock of becoming pregnant wore off, the nerves quickly set in.
“My biggest thing was, ‘Was I gonna mess up?’” Ball said. “Oh my goodness, I was about to be fully responsible for another person.”
Ball says one of the most important parenting lessons she learned was to trust her intuition rather than relying on the varying opinions of others.
“Listen to your instincts. You can take ideas from everyone else, but listen to what you feel is right for your child,” Ball said. “A lot of people, like my father for example, did not have a father growing up. He knew what he did not want, but he didn’t have that example of what he wanted. If you see someone raising their child in the same light that you would like to, go to them and ask them questions.”
Ball feels there are unique challenges that come with raising girls.
“You know, being a female, we are emotionally driven creatures, and it’s so nerve-wracking because we want to push them to do the right thing, but you know they have to learn their lessons,” Ball said.
She believes instilling self-confidence is key to successful parenting.
“I want them to feel confident. To see something hard in front of them and wind up conquering it,” Ball said. “You are capable of more things. The most rewarding part would be to see them be successful, and to see their light shine in their own way.”
Diana Bishop poses with two of her adopted children, Rapheal Mathew and Jailyn Mathew. (Photo/Keshia McEntire)
Family by more than blood
Diana Bishop is a mother of six — three biological and three adopted children.
Bishop’s adoption story started with her becoming a foster mother and eventually choosing to adopt three children that she took in as infants.
“I decided that since I had them at such a young age I didn’t want somebody else to mess it up,” Bishop laughed.
As a mother and grandmother, she has learned a lot about parenting over the years. One of the hardest lessons to grasp was that a she needed to take time for herself rather than solely focusing on the needs of her children.
“Take very good care of yourself first,” Bishop said. “If you take good care of yourself and be good to yourself you will be able to take good care of your child. You may need someone to keep the baby so you can have 30 minutes to yourself to visit the grocery store. Don’t be ashamed to ask somebody to help you.”
Bishop said the most challenging aspect of being a mother was watching her children grow up. She had to trust that she raised them the right way and that they are capable of taking it from there.
“I had to have faith in God because ultimately, I took them to church and taught them the Bible. I taught them that if God is on your side, you couldn’t lose,” Bishop said. “Secondly, I taught them lessons I learned late in life. To be honest, true to yourself and to learn how to save money.”
She believes it is a parent’s responsibility to ensure a child grows up in a supportive environment, and has witnessed too many parents cursing at their children or calling them out of their name.
“These young mothers call their children everything but a child of God,” Bishop said. “It causes low self-esteem. A mother should build up self-esteem. They need to grow up and know that their name is what is put on the birth certificate. Remember you are not alone. Always let your child know that they are loved, fearfully and wonderfully made, that they are somebody and they can achieve anything.”
Spencer and Stephanie Moss pose with daughters Chloe, 9, and Ava, 5.
Letting go of control
Stephanie Moss is a mother of two girls, ages 9 and 5. She says one of the most difficult aspects of motherhood was letting go of her preconceived notions and expectations.
“It’s coming to grips with that it is not going to be perfect,” Moss said. “Are they eating the right things? Are you eating the right things while pregnant? You have to realize not everything will be perfect, and that’s OK.”
After having her first daughter, she assumed her second would be a rerun of the same show. She thought her girls would have similar interests and values, but realized she needed to give them room to develop their own identities.
“They are not the same person, no two children are alike, and they are not you,” Moss said. “Just because your parents did it doesn’t mean it will work for your children. Just because it worked for one child does not mean it will work for the other child. You have to let them be individuals and parent to that, versus how you want to do it.”
For example, Moss felt her oldest daughter was exceptionally talented in dance and ballet, but her daughter told her she wanted to try something new.
“She wanted to do another activity, and letting her choose something else was difficult because I saw her potential,” Moss said. “She chose tennis, and is doing well with that now.”
Moss says the most useful advice she could offer new moms is that it is important to let go of what you want and ask God for wisdom.
“You can get your opinions from everyone else, and they could be great parents and role models, but keep God first and ask for that guidance,” Moss said. “He will open your eyes to see your child and what their purpose is. That has made the process a whole lot easier.”
Contact reporter Keshia McEntire at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Keshiamc12.
Danny and Chrisney Ball with children Daisjah, 13, and Derryn, 3 months.