The Impossibility of Motherhood

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving; 

– Kahlil Gibran “On Love”

 

Uncoincidentally, the impossibility of motherhood first became apparent to me while giving birth. 

I’ve thought about writing down my birth story many times but in reality, I don’t remember much. I can’t tell you what a contraction feels like (but I do know that they suck). I do know that I swayed, I screamed, I wept, I sang, I moaned, I pushed, I puked, I prayed, I meditated, I sweat, I shook, I begged, I pleaded, and most importantly, I gave up, again and again and again. It took my 5 person support team’s unyielding  encouragement to remind me countless times that I was actually doing it–I was giving birth to my son. Despite all of this, I still repeated multiple times, “I’m sorry. I tried.” 

Fifteen hours later, with one last scream and push from the depths of my soul – he was born. 

I pushed an 8 lb 12 oz human, that my body built from scratch,  from inside of me into the world. Without even an ibuprofen (despite my requests)! Oh and this is something that women just do

Ok so then (it get’s better), after using every ounce of physical, emotional and spiritual strength that I had to somehow get this not so tiny human out of me, I am then required to immediately begin to care for it at all times. ALL TIMES. My incredible birth team had worked their butts off to help us achieve the home birth we wanted so after making sure that the color had returned to my cheeks (special thanks to the world’s best almond butter and honey toast), and that our tiny human was safe, healthy and latching–they all went home to their own tiny humans. 

My partner, the love of my life, and co-parent to our freshly born son, had just spent every moment of the last day (well ok, more like the entire pregnancy) physically and emotionally supporting me. So as one does after a marathon like that, he fell asleep.

And then there was just me and this guy:

 

Ethan Leonidas Robert, just born

Ethan Leonidas Robert, just born

 

This perfect little creature with big observant eyes, looking up at me as both experience an, “OK… now what?” moment.

If I could talk to myself in that moment from where I sit now I would tell her:

This will be hard. This will be harder than what you both just went through. You just accomplished the impossible and yet now is when the real work begins. Prepare to dig deeper into every aspect of yourself. Prepare to grow in ways you never dreamed possible. You will do what you just did, the impossible, every single day from now on. You will meet all of the places of yourself that you wish didn’t exist while simultaneously stepping into the You that you always wanted to be. You will become a version of yourself that is capable of far more than you could ever have fathomed. You will show yourself who you really are. 

So, give up. Give up right now and every day. Surrender to the unknown. Attaching to anything only creates suffering. Let go. Completely let go. Because in reality, this process, just like birth, is going to break you open. It is literally moving through you. And yes, it will hurt as you expand, but this hurt serves a purpose. You will forget the growing pains. You will instead remember the moments of inconceivable bliss, like holding Ethan for the very first time. So please, please let go. Let go and find the joy in this awe inspiring journey. Witness the birth of yourself into a mother, of your relationship into a family, and of your baby into a man. 

Give yourself the gift of getting to experience the sheer force and fullness of the magnitude of this Love.

But since I can’t go back and talk to former myself, I will instead stay here in the present moment, continuing to do the impossible, while probably repeating many more, “I’m sorry. I tried’s.”