As my twin’s sixth birthday approaches I find myself thinking a lot about the weeks before I gave birth for the first time.
I had transitioned my way through a 4 week stint of bed rest that began with being upset that I couldn’t do anything that I felt capable of doing. Fortunately the company I worked for was wonderful and allowed me to work from home in bed with a computer and a telephone. After a week or so I eventually ditched the computer as I couldn’t manage comfortably anymore with my growing body while lying in bed. I moved on to books, magazines, movies and then mainly to thinking about the growing number of general aches and pains from lying in bed with 13 lbs of baby inside me. Finally feeling defeated, I just stared at my gigantic belly. When it came down to it, I was terrified. I only made it to one childbirth education class before I was put on bedrest and the more time I had to let it sink in that I had two babies inside of me the more frightened I became because I knew one way or another they must come out. I had support, but I don’t remember anything quelling my fears until one day I received a phone call from a friend’s mother. Her call was short and sweet and she wished me well on my upcoming bundles of joy. Perhaps she sensed the fear, or the uncertainty in my voice. Or perhaps when she asked “how are you doing” she didn’t expect the truth. As I relayed my fears to her she gave the best answer she could have given me at that moment, “When I had my babies, it was the most amazing experience of my life.” Amazing…such a perfect word to describe something that could be filled with so many emotions and physical feelings that could range from amazingly wonderful to amazingly painful, scary, beautiful, etc. but ultimately the word evokes awe and happiness. Amazing…it could be nothing but that.
And when shortly after our talk my water broke, those words ran through my head. When the doctor confirmed that it was ok to go ahead and do a vaginal delivery, the word ‘amazing’ continued to stay at the forefront of my mind. And when the time came that I was ready to push the line, “it was the most amazing experience of my life” was there motivating me through. It was indeed the most amazing experience of my life. The declaration that was so kindly and most likely unintentionally passed along to me held importance, meaning and much purpose.
And only after giving birth did my family recall that I gave birth to my twins on the same day that my great grandmother had given birth to her twins 81 yrs prior. This moved me to my core. I have a lone picture of her in my possession as she is grips her twins tightly and strength radiates through the glare in her eyes and the protruding veins in her hands. You can’t deny the look of pride in her eyes.
During my own sleepless nights and the crazy days with twins, feeding, changing, crying and repeat a new affirmation took hold, “If she can do it, I can do it” I often thought of her as my twins would be whaling, tired or sick. She did not have a Target a mile away to grab Tylenol. She did not have a hospital grade Medela pump, nor the luxury of the air purifier making the perfect white noise to sooth them to sleep so, “If she can do it, I can do it.”
The idea that almost 6 years later I would be supporting moms who perhaps had similar fears or insecurities as my own with the hopes to make them feel more at ease and empowered is something I am extremely grateful for and do not take lightly and often think of the subtle but powerful ways I have been inspired through motherhood and know that those little things have helped propel me into helping moms today.
We never know when a ray of inspiration may come streaming into our life whether it is with a your neighbor down the street, a doula, friend’s mom, a childbirth educator or perhaps the woman with the same number of children in her grocery cart that gives you the perfect look of solidarity and understanding in the exact moment you need it. The point rather is that inspiration, motivation and understanding is all around us, if you allow yourself to let it in. It is easy to retreat inward during a time of uncertainty and unknowns but in this great journey called parenthood take a deep breath open your heart and mind, know you are doing a good job and allow yourself to be inspired, you deserve it.
What has motivated or inspired you through your pregnancy/childbirth/postpartum?