Starting a nonprofit to deliver water and AIDS services to more than 1 million people in Africa was the hardest thing I’d ever done. At 22, I co-founded Blood:Water with the band Jars of Clay. Over the past decade, I’ve spent my days on tour buses and airplanes traveling across US cities and African villages, mobilizing people and resources one person and one dollar at a time. That's all while going through the emotional roller coaster of running a global missions organization: feeling overwhelmed and hopeful and desperate and grateful over and over again.

Then, 16 months ago, I had my first baby. As a new mom, I am starting to suspect that motherhood is much harder. Parenthood, especially in these early months, is all-consuming beyond the demanding work of mission and activism—work that, by the way, hasn’t faded away. I now find myself, like so many moms, balancing the two.

I was not prepared for the pumpings between meetings and in taxi cabs and the back of airplanes, for washing parts, storing milk, and carrying coolers and ice packs. I was overwhelmed by waking every three hours to feed the baby, coordinating logistics and supplies with nannies and babysitters, and negotiating calendars with my husband’s equally demanding work schedule. There were times I showed up in the office with fevers and chills, trying to act like everything was okay. I was dumbfounded—and still am—by how difficult it is to get it all done.

I knew it would be hard. I didn’t know it would be this hard.

I was two months pregnant when I picked up Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, and I applauded her battle cry for women to keep advancing in the workplace despite the real or perceived limitations of family ...

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