The Moment Motherhood Made Me Stronger
Greetings from the new house! And about ten thousand still-unopened boxes!
*insert screaming face emoji*
Before I get into today’s topic, may I just say, Holy crap, moving with three young children (two of whom were sick at various points over the past week) is its own special brand of hell, and I’m not sure I’ll ever reach my baseline of relaxation again, let alone ever be able to smell cardboard without immediately dry heaving.
I spoke this past Friday at the Mother of All Baby Showersin Orlando, which was the most delightful escape from said Moving Hell, where I spent a few blissful hours away from the sea of boxes that is our new home, and was surrounded by all sorts of adorable pregnant moms-to-be, their excited partners and even the occasional adorable gummy-smiling, front-packed infant. (Side note: I am always and forever That Lady who approaches strangers babies and immediately gets all, “Oh my gosh, look at those chubby little feet! And squishy thighs!!” I am begging forgiveness preemtively, if you ever run into me IRL.)
Guys, it was such an honor to be able to speak to a room full of such excited women. There is no kind of pure, serene joy like the kind found on the faces of pregnant women. Gah! I kinda miss that!
So the theme of my speech was “Things I Wish I Had Known Before Becoming a Mom,” and I hit on points from getting pregnant all the way through the first year. Things like the fits of rage I experienced trying to become pregnant and not being able to (a topic for another post); and the time when I was ultrasound-picture shamed (apparently my uterus on Facebook offended some people); and I even touched on the now-infamous third child Birth Story. No, I will not let my husband ever live that down, now that you ask.
And I also mentioned briefly a moment in my first labor, when I had our son, that still stands out to this day as one of my proudest moments as a mom.
I’ve talked about our emergency C-section before, and how it was a tough experience for me in my early days as a mom, but then I came to appreciate all the tiny, ridiculously potent lessons embedded in it.
This moment is something that no one from the outside would ever have noticed. No chance. But it was a tangible moment of growth, and I look back on it even to this day when life throws me curveballs and all I want to do is kick and scream.
Long story short time: I had been in labor for 30 hours, had been pushing for almost two hours, and our son’s heart rate was not good. He was stuck. To this day the kid can dig his heels in.
And that’s when our doctor told me we were going to have an emergency c-section. I wanted to cry. No, make that I wanted to scream. I wanted to fight, to beg for just ten more minutes of pushing. To tell her that she had no idea how strong I could be, if she would just let me. Let me get my own baby out. This is a cop-out, I was screaming inside.
And then I did something that I haven’t been historically known to do: I took a deep breath and shut the hell up.
It was that simple, but God, it was also that hard.
I’m not one who’s altogether happy to cede control. I don’t like being told I can’t do something, or I shouldn’t. But I knew in that moment that I mattered less than the health and safety of our baby. So I did what anyone in my shoes would–should–do, and I stood down
Of course it seems like a much smaller deal in retrospect, but it was anything but easy in that moment. Anyone who’s been told that they can’t fight for something that they wanted, or whose big plans have been dashed, knows that feeling well.
And it’s that very lesson that I take through other parts of my life, even to this day.
Sometimes, you’ve just got to stop pushing. In this case it was literal; often times and in other cases it’s not.
Taking a different path doesn’t mean you’re not a fighter. It doesn’t mean you’re not tough. It means you’re human, and as invincible as we all like to think we are, sometimes other forces and other people know best. And that’s where faith–and in this case, good doctors–come in.
Taking a different path doesn’t mean you’re not a fighter. It doesn’t mean you’re not tough.
So this week, let’s breathe in the freedom that that truth gives us. That sometimes the “easy way out” is anything but.
And in those moments where you’re forced to step back and slow down, take a deep breath and find your peace.
I promise you, there’s a lesson in there somewhere.
Sonni Abatta is a mom of three and an Orlando lifestyle and mom blogger. She hates writing about herself in third person. Reach out to chat or collaborate!Motherhood.