Sweat glistening on skin; christening the brow like a crown. Thrills of anticipation coursing in the veins. Tears. Moans. A full and anxious heart. Fears building and riding over them like ocean swells. Hands gripping tight while the body surrenders to the waves of pain. Swaying back and forth for relief and always breathing, breathing, breathing.
I've only had the opportunity to experience this once (so far) in my life. I watched my son slip from my body as I was birthed into motherhood. I was never the same. It was weird and hard and bloody and the first time I'd ever experienced complete bliss for the first time.
He’s nearly two now. I’ve since had time to gain perspective on the subject of birth. I realize now that God fashioned it to be an incredible metaphor for motherhood.
Allow me to explain.
In my family, we’ve known every way a baby can be ‘birthed’ into a home (Adoption Birth. Cesarean Birth. Foster Care Birth. Vaginal Birth. And even the tragic births of those sweet babies who never got to take a breath earth-side). Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the event that caused our babies to be placed in our hearts, the metaphor remains the same. And I believe realizing this can unite and strengthen us.
You see, some of us were told we could never have children of our own after trying every painful, expensive procedure available. Some of us waited long, aching years to bring them home. Some of us waited nine precious months. Some of us fought hard to bring them to a better life than the one they we’re originally born into. Some of us only got to hold them for a short while and then let them go, while learning we could always love them forever.
At one time, we were all pregnant—waiting for our babies. At one time, we all experienced birth—bravely facing the necessary pain to bring them home.
Think back to the first lines you read at the beginning of this essay. Can we not agree that the scene described applies to every kind of mother there is? I believe the pregnancy (waiting to be a mother) and birth (becoming a mother) are a foretelling of what’s to come in our journey motherhood.
Once the battle, the waiting, is over. Once that baby is wholly yours. You find yourself on a journey unlike any other. There are glory times when you’re immersed in warm, healing bliss. There are dark times when you just want to sleep and not be needed so much. And sometimes you experience it all within a span of one day. Such is motherhood.
Today, if you find yourself reading these words in the messy, wonderful, exhausting trenches of motherhood. Think back to that moment when you were allowed to breathe in relief realizing that the 'pregnancy' and 'birth' had culminated in this baby being truly yours. Think back to when you we’re waiting and waiting and waiting. Think back to when ‘the birth’ happened. Think back to right before you thought you couldn’t do it any longer, right when it was all too much to bear. It was over. You suddenly realized that the thing you said you couldn’t do, you did do it.
I wish I could cup each of your faces and speak truth over you. You don’t have to feel prepared. You already are. You don’t have to fear. You’re braver than you know. You don’t have to feel like you aren’t strong enough. In a thousand ways, you already are.
If you have faced the long season of waiting and conquered the beautiful becoming of birth, then I hope you know you are already equipped to face any difficultly motherhood places in your hands today.
You don’t have to wonder if you can do this. You already have.
Written by Breanne