Climbing Mount Everest

"I think that parenting young children (and old ones too) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they’ve heard there’s magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb is an impressive accomplishment. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it’s hard there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they cried most of the way up.
And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers, “Are you enjoying yourself?! If not, you should be! One day you’ll be sorry you didn’t!” those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.
My point is this: I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn’t enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn’t in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn’t MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I’d wake up and the kids would be gone and I’d be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.
But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. 
And here’s what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:
“It’s helluva hard isn’t it? You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. Carry on, warrior. Six hours ’til bedtime.”
And hopefully every once in awhile I’ll add, “let me pick up that grocery bill for ya sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up. I’ll have them bring your groceries out.”
- Glennon Doyle Melton

Under a Button Nose

Motherhood is... 


Joy in my step and a drag of my right foot from the pain child bearing and child wearing has caused. 


It's presents put in my hand daily - trinkets found along the path we walk together: a bottle cap, a leaf, a stone, another cigarette butt. Some are new and some are old, rusted, falling apart to the point where I can hardly tell what they are - but to her, they are treasures. 


It's letting the dog be your best vacuum. 


It's a table unwiped and a bright red diaper rash covered in clay, coconut oil, lavender and tea tree. 


It's sand moving from her hand to her mouth and me jumping to my feet, limping until they wake up, to stop her.


It's exhaustion - not days of it, but a year of it - eyelids sweating from the work to stay open and when it’s finally time to rest, too much excitement about resting to be able to. 


It's oatmeal crusted on silken soft cheeks, pages of books glued together with dried rice and a million started, yet unfinished conversations. 


It's white noise - everywhere - even in the spaces where silence used to exist. Even at 3am, 4am, 5am and 6. 


It sounds like “no” and “bye bye”, “app-pee” and “wow”. 


It’s fingers pointing to streetlights trying to say “moon” and its a small body, shaking in it’s entirety, at the sound of an airplane flying too low. A tongue fully revealed in the wide open cry, red gums, bleeding fingers, cute toes, and thin hair curled around tiny ears, perfectly packaged under a button nose.
 

I’m floating, alone, ears below the water line
Here my heart sounds like the heartbeat of the earth
Breath lifts, then lowers
Even my mouth is under.

I like it this way.

Bubbles circle where water reveals my body to the air
just like lingerie with holes in all the right places.

I like it this way, too.

I open my mouth and water pours in
I let it fill as much as I can, without swallowing
Breath lifts, then lowers.
Even my eyes are under.

I want more.

I’m floating, only my nose above the water line but,
I get so comfortable a little water silks in there too. 
I let it.

Suspended between breaths -
All encompassing and totally freeing.
Weightless, thoughtless, nothingness -
I remember the first vessel I came here by,

And I think, ‘is this, my little merchild, the reason you cry? Is this my baby, a place you miss?’ 

Inhabited

I had loved before, but never, ever like this.

Heart of my heart and bone of my bone.

Life sustained through the strength of my own body; my insides - inhabited -then outsides - a mouth on my breast, arms tired from holding and hands happily, tenderly stroking.

It turns out it's not playing or pretending that makes me feel like an animal - it's love.

We are, Our Mothers

What if I told you that I let her cry so I could write this.

What if I told you it wasn’t my first time.

What if I told you, I found failure in my nurturing, because I couldn't withstand the crying.

 

The quickening of my penmanship is the quickening of my heart.

It's also the volume of her cry.

 

And I wonder, which of these things will touch her,

or hit her,

because something will,

at some point,

into thinking I'm a bad mother.

 

And I write this because society needs to hear,

and I need to hear,

again,

that there is no perfect mother.

 

At some point, somewhere,

we need to stop blaming the Mothers.

Because,

we are, our Mothers.

Mothermorphosis

"You’re different!”

“Completely.”

And what I didn’t say out loud is this:

I’m shocked that that shocks you. And I’m not… because I was you. I also had no idea.

I took Motherhood and Mothers for granted. I never understood the amount of work, the hardship, the isolation and the love. I never thought the transformation would be this deep, but when you’re torn open and slapped in the face with a love that’s bigger than you ever thought possible, something is bound to happen. It’s like a slap in the face you give yourself when you’re feeling pretty sleepy and you’re trying to wake up. First a light tap-tap-taping and then it starts to sting and then, only then, do you begin to awaken. It's startling. And hard. Waking up is hard.

But it hurts so good.

1 year ago today I laboured and pushed and bled. I swore, I cried and I breathed. 1 year ago I was birthed a different person. My body shook and the downward force rocked me so hard it felt as if my pelvis was splitting in two. And in a way, it was. I became two.

For awhile I wanted to hold onto what I knew; what I had learned to be true before.

But it was no longer my truth.

I had lists of things I would and wouldn’t do.

I had plans.

I had a vision of myself that I had to let die - a vision of how life would be. In the dying and decay of my previous self, I was born a Mother.

My hair fell out. Not all of it, no, but all the blonde has gone. Motherhood wants me as a brunette. 
Motherhood has me heavier.
Motherhood has me spacier.
Motherhood often has me void of conversation and choosing to be home.

My clothes are different because they have to be. I stand in front of my closet trying to understand how to dress someone I don’t totally know; “Who am I anyways?"

But I’m feeling whole and this wholeness came thru the breaking of birth. The rupture opened the rapture.

So yea... I’m different. I’ve been born again because now, I’ve witnessed real-life magic and now, I see that I AM MAGIC.

Motherhood Is A Quixotic Beast

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"Motherhood is a quixotic beast. She calls to us through starry nights, pulsing through our dreams, infusing our daylight with the whispers of the souls dancing near us. She carves room for burgeoning bodies built of the four elements, and a fifth, slows down our pace with her weight, and then bursts the river dam when we least expect it. She has her own timing, not measured by the hands of the clock. Once we birth our hearts onto floors fluorescent or worn, wooden or wet, we are never the same. We burn brightly with the iridescence of her grace. We are the happiest we’ve ever been, and the saddest we’ve ever been, for in our giving we have lost. In our receiving we are overwhelmed with joy, and with duty, and with life. Who am I now? We ask ourselves the same questions, over and over. How do I relate with the world now that all my tidy squares are tipped up? We look at our lovers differently, and they see us differently too.

This is okay, in fact – it is glorious. You just brought life to this planet. You are a miracle. As the babies grow and our days come to a close, we find ourselves yearning. That sweet yearning for long hours unrushed, for connection to the lover whose hands you held in bed, in the car, at the cinema. We yearn for the things we once had, tender lovemaking, candlelit dinners and wine. And yet, here is the opening. Here is the door. When your rugged heart feels tender and worn, please remember you don’t have to finish the dishes, or fold another towel. What we need to remember, is ourselves: our needs, our desires, our wants. Even when you don’t know what they are, when you can’t remember where to begin to reclaim yourself, start with something.

Light a candle; hold a crystal under the stars in your fist. You are an earthly being sewn into the tapestry of this dimension by your senses. Touch, smell, taste, sound and sight. We are intrinsic to the experiences we participate in, absolutely part of the poetry. I know your bruised body aches, your face is tired and your feet feel like lead – not too poetic at times. I also know that you feel bitter and resentful; you slam words that aren’t yours into the face of your beloved. This is not you. You feel disconnected. You must reboot the circuit; rewire the fuse. We need not do this alone, mamas. You need not pack your bags and leave town.

It takes work – hard work – but what could be more rewarding? You can do this. Drop in. Arrive. Stay. See your beloved as the God/Goddess/galaxy they embody.

Your soap worn hands, your farmer’s market fingers, your body flowering babies, your windswept hair: You are a door. Your beloved is a door. Your pregnancy and birth and baby are a door. This is what we are here for, to go through these passages, journeying to the other side. Who we are becoming is a magnificent process, a storytelling, a verb. You won’t be complete until the last door opens. The story from now is as yet unwritten. Keep writing." 
-Sophie Ward

She calls to us through starry nights, pulsing through our dreams, infusing our daylight with the whispers of the souls dancing near us. She carves room for burgeoning bodies built of the four elements, and a fifth, slows down our pace with her weight, and then bursts the river dam when we least expect it. She has her own timing, not measured by the hands of the clock. Once we birth our hearts onto floors fluorescent or worn, wooden or wet, we are never the same. We burn brightly with the iridescence of her grace. We are the happiest we’ve ever been, and the saddest we’ve ever been, for in our giving we have lost. In our receiving we are overwhelmed with joy, and with duty, and with life. Who am I now? We ask ourselves the same questions, over and over. How do I relate with the world now that all my tidy squares are tipped up? We look at our lovers differently, and they see us differently too.

This is okay, in fact – it is glorious. You just brought life to this planet. You are a miracle. As the babies grow and our days come to a close, we find ourselves yearning. That sweet yearning for long hours unrushed, for connection to the lover whose hands you held in bed, in the car, at the cinema. We yearn for the things we once had, tender lovemaking, candlelit dinners and wine. And yet, here is the opening. Here is the door. When your rugged heart feels tender and worn, please remember you don’t have to finish the dishes, or fold another towel. What we need to remember, is ourselves: our needs, our desires, our wants. Even when you don’t know what they are, when you can’t remember where to begin to reclaim yourself, start with something.

Light a candle; hold a crystal under the stars in your fist. You are an earthly being sewn into the tapestry of this dimension by your senses. Touch, smell, taste, sound and sight. We are intrinsic to the experiences we participate in, absolutely part of the poetry. I know your bruised body aches, your face is tired and your feet feel like lead – not too poetic at times. I also know that you feel bitter and resentful; you slam words that aren’t yours into the face of your beloved. This is not you. You feel disconnected. You must reboot the circuit; rewire the fuse. We need not do this alone, mamas. You need not pack your bags and leave town.

It takes work – hard work – but what could be more rewarding? You can do this. Drop in. Arrive. Stay. See your beloved as the God/Goddess/galaxy they embody.

Your soap worn hands, your farmer’s market fingers, your body flowering babies, your windswept hair: You are a door. Your beloved is a door. Your pregnancy and birth and baby are a door. This is what we are here for, to go through these passages, journeying to the other side. Who we are becoming is a magnificent process, a storytelling, a verb. You won’t be complete until the last door opens. The story from now is as yet unwritten. Keep writing." 
-Sophie Ward

Two Souls

"If your identification isn’t exclusively with your role, say as parent, your mind doesn’t force the child to be only a child and then the two of you can be God at play. You are just two souls that are meeting in a birth to do some work together." Ram Dass

Achingly Hard

Any second she could doze off. Any second now.... so I keep trying and I keep staying and I keep singing but it's been two hours and I'm missing the sunny and warm winter day.

Sometimes I want to run. I want to run so far and so fast.

Run. 
Run. 
Run.

But I won't. She falls asleep and I have a moment to regroup. The feeling passes and I fall in love all over again.

I'm not ungrateful. There's beauty and love here... So much love.

It's just that sometimes this is achingly hard.

So please don't tell me to enjoy every minute. I know how fast she's growing - I can see it. The speed of her growth doesn't erase my desire for sleep, or a long bath, or a moment to myself.

"Our society simply refuses to know about a mother's experience --how being yolked to a little one all day transforms her. To confess to being in conflict about mothering is tantamount to being a bad person; it violates a taboo; and, worse, it feels like a betrayal of ones child. In an age that regards mothers' negative feelings, even subconscious ones, as potentially toxic to their children, it has become mandatory to enjoy mothering." -The Myths of Motherhood

Whole

It's occurred to me that this is the happiest time of my life. Ah...that took courage to say because in admitting it, I'm also admitting it will end. 

I'm not afraid it won't happen again because the sense of fulfillment is, dare I say... whole. Yes - it's wonderfully whole. But the thought of it ending... that shakes me to my core. So one breath at a time, I'm taking in this fullness and this wholeness and letting it sink deeply into my cells so its not only connected to this beautiful time, but that it's just one big part of me...all the time.

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Honoured

I lowered your feet in and like they always do, your eyes widened at the‪ magic‬ of ‪‎water‬. You noticed the floating herbs and pawed at them.

You breastfed while your legs kicked and floated in the water. I held you and thanked you for joining us in this world.

I thanked you for being you.

I thanked you for this depth of love and for helping me understand that love is a state of being.

As you finished feeding, I thanked my body for all the work, the giving and the transformation. At that point you laid your head on my belly and closed your eyes for a moment of pause - as if you were thanking it too. I'm so honoured to be the one you chose to nourish you.