Ten years ago yesterday, my husband and I went to our 37-week check up to find out that we were going to the hospital to be induced due to pre-eclampsia. I was huge and swollen but felt fine. I wouldn’t be going back to class, though. (I was still in college at the time.)
Ten years ago this evening, around 7:45 to be more accurate, our baby girl was born in the hospital, and I morphed from a pregnant mama into a mom — drugged, clueless, bewildered. I had just done the hardest thing ever, experienced the greatest pain ever, was in the hospital for the first time in my life as a bed-ridden patient, and now I was responsible for a baby I couldn’t even see or care for properly. It may be easy to understand now why I work closely with pregnant mamas and support other mothers.
I teach Bradley classes to help all who want to be healthy and know about the process, all who don’t want to walk into their birthing situations not knowing what’s going on. I serve as a doula selfishly because it is a window into a sacrament of life, in my opinion, but I also sacrifice my time to help others have a more calm, peaceful, empowered birth. I hope to advocate for mothers, to help them when they feel they need it. In my ten years as a mother, I have learned these things can make all the difference. All these things help mothers in their role, in their lives.
Being pregnant and mothering is not always easy. It’s hard, frustrating and exhillarating all in a day, with windows of peace of calm (and not always just when the kids are sleeping, though that helps). Time is our best teacher. We cannot always go up to a woman and tell her the things that will make her “job” as mother easier. I don’t know that I would have listened and heeded such advice. Many of us have to experience it for ourselves, learn in our own time.
So on this, my daughter’s tenth birthday, I also celebrate the anniversary of my motherhood and revel in all the lessons I’ve learned along the way, a few of which I share on this blog, most of which I’ve either internalized or will experience again and again until at last I truly learn what it is I need to know. I’ll always be learning. Whether we have one child or four (or heaven help you if you have more!), we will never fully know or understand everything.
As I kiss the kids good-night I always wish them peace and love and hope that when it’s their turn to be parents, they will know more than I. We do the best we can with what we have, which may sound cliche, but it’s true.
We didn’t plan the timing of our first child, whose birth was also induced, but maybe that’s what I needed to become the mother I am. Maybe I needed the divine intervention because Lord knows if I knew what I would be getting into, I may not have been humble enough to choose this route!
Blessings and gratitude to my eldest child and to all us mothers who should celebrate our motherhood daily if for nothing else than for the fact that we are doing our best. The rest is out of our hands. Here’s to the decades to come.