The beautiful Emily Bury, mother of Clara (5), Elias (3), and Walter (1) and Laurisa Ballew, mother to Emmaus (5), Shiloh (3), and Lennon (1).
Emily says that being a wife and mother was her dream career since she was a little girl. In her mind it looked like sunny picnics and well behaved laughing children but has undoubtedly been the hardest and most rewarding job she's ever done. "There are days when I feel like my tiny people are ruining my dream. I have to step back and remind myself that no one has a picture perfect life. That true beauty is found in the mess. It's in the grit that we find how truly strong we are and how deeply we can love".
Emily struggled with an eating disorder for much of her early life that reached it's peak at 17. Her doctor told her that she may be unable to ever have children if she continued down the path she was on, which was a crushing blow. While she has continued to struggle she credits her faith, parents, best friend (Laurisa) and now husband for championing her recovery. Having children has been one of the biggest catalysts in Emily learning to love her body. When she starts to feel inadequate and despise the way her body is built she looks at her beautiful children and is amazed that her body was able to accommodate life.
"During my first pregnancy I finally felt at home in my body. I felt beautiful as my belly bulged and my body got bigger to accommodate life. Now when I look at my extra skin and the way things sag and are softer than before I see evidence of life, of self sacrifice, and the beauty and redemption that comes with healing."
Laurisa says that motherhood is something she thought would feel natural and comfortable to her. However, her journey has been anything but. It has been hard yet she has grained strength. In having a child with special needs and medical complexities she has had to grieve what she thought her life would look like in order to step into the life she has. Through her daughter Emmaus, Laurisa says that she learned to slow down and experience joy in ways she never had before. It has been hard work but such a gift. Having two healthy girls after Emmaus has brought redemption and healing and friendship among siblings she was uncertain she would see.
Having a medically complex child has changed Laurisa's friendships and she feels lucky to have great friends, like Emily, who have stuck with her through the the difficult times. The pair have known each other since the first grade and have been through so much together. They stood by each others side as they married and started their families together. They dreamed of their girls being best friends and Emily was there when everything changed. Laurisa learned that her baby had tumors in her heart and possibly had Tuberous Sclerosis and her baby's future was unclear. Laurisa's daughter Emmaus has a rare, randomly occurring form of Tuberous Sclerosis, Autism and developmental delays, along with epilepsy and though their course of motherhood, friendship, and future has shifted they are grateful to have been together through it all.
"This journey into mother has not been what either of us expected. It has been full of more pain and abundant joy than I ever could have possibly imagined. This is our story as mothers, we have been beautifully broken and remade. This is not the story we thought we would be telling, but it is beautiful and real and full of so much good."