Peeing on a stick, your belly growing round, kicking, pushing a baby out, gazing into your baby’s eyes, feeding for the first time, then your baby has a cold and starts teething. That’s when you realize that it’s all you. You aren’t handing over this kid in 1.5 hours and sleeping in your own bed with $20 in your hand. This kid is yours and you are in charge 100%.
Part of motherhood is being vulnerable. It’s being open to having a baby with a hacking cough and having one yourself. It’s being open to changing diapers a million times a day and having your boob being attacked all through the night. It’s having a four foot (or longer) line of dishes that need to be washed, in addition to a five foot tall laundry pile needing to be folded (or even washed).
I definitely thought I’d be able to be done with postpartum healing by now. I don’t know how or why I thought that this would happen, but that’s what I thought and hoped. I imagined myself running 4 miles every day by January and it’s currently a struggle even walking.
Last Friday in school I burst into tears in front of my classmates. I could not stop. It was not cute crying. I realized that I am still holding some trauma from my tearing and stitch job (not because the midwife’s abilities were inadequate, but because of the energy of visitors).
Ethan and I have been discussing where we want to go with our future. Should Ethan stay on track for graduating next April, stay and work on a minor till the next December, or take a job that will increase our financial stability but force him to slow down on school even more.
Trying to find time to connect with Ethan while Hugh is teething and sick, trying to get all my school assignments done (and done well), keeping the house clean, trying to maintain relationships with siblings, staying on top of church responsibilities, etc. Then I realize that this isn’t even the hardest of hard lives and I feel like a wimp. I feel emotionally and physically raw right now. It’s hard to embrace. Being vulnerable can sometimes mean being frustrated, annoyed, overwhelmed, stressed, depressed, anxious, tired, lonely, angry, or negative.
Last week I watched “The Power of Vulnerability” and the gentle words hit me hard. I realized that because I am allowing myself to be open to this life, to be open to motherhood and everything that accompanies it, I am letting myself accept joy.
Having Hugh here, right now. He’s amazing. I love watching him figure out how to grab his toes, learning how to hook his finger around his big toe, always learning. He learns about how the water feels when he splashes and how it feels to grab Ethan’s face. Each day he wakes up and learns as much as he can. He’s feasting on the world, stuffing himself with information. It’s so beautiful to watch and be a part of. I am so grateful that I am given this opportunity to witness this exploration.
Being a mother is being vulnerable. It’s opening yourself to moments where you want to cry and even throw things (pillows, not plates). It’s being open to seeing the raw pieces of yourself and your partner. Frustration, annoyance, boredom, exhaustion.
Being open to motherhood is being open to your baby as you carry him in your heart, figuring out ways to make the best decisions for him and the future. It’s being open to love, forgiveness, gentleness, creativity, and joy. We can only understand the joy when we feel sorrow.
By opening ourselves to motherhood, we are opening up to joy. All the pieces of motherhood create a complete puzzle of happiness.