Today is my daughter’s birthday. We’ve had a good celebration of her, cause it’s her day and I hope that it has been a great day for her. But I have my own private tradition on my kids’ birthdays. Each birthday I take a little time to remember their birth. The whole thing. I replay it in my mind. Keep the memory alive. Because, yes, it’s her birthday, but it’s also the anniversary of when I gave birth to a child. And survived. And, amazingly, just kept on with life as if not much had happened.
It’s a bit odd, but in our culture (at least here in the South), talking about giving birth in mixed company is kind of taboo. Even talking about it with other women, we usually make sure that everyone in the circle has already given birth or is just about to. Maybe it’s too personal? Too gory? Too special?
I’m not sure what the reasoning is. All I know is that one of the greatest accomplishments me and my body have ever undertaken is something that is never talked about. My body grew another human being and then pushed that human being out. We just use these gentle little phrases, I gave birth or We had a baby. It sounds so passive. Sweet. Words that keep everyone comfortable.
How about, I labored to bring a baby out of my body. I agonized, crossed all reasonable thresholds of pain, but didn’t die, and somehow managed to get a baby from point A to point B without ripping my body in half.
How about, I entered the zone of pain where the world disappeared, logical thought disappeared, and the only thing my brain was aware of was how to get this baby out so the pain would stop.
How about, I disciplined my breathing and counting in my head to such an amazing level that I was able to withstand contractions that were literally stretching my body open from zero to ten centimeters. And I only yelled a little.
Why, in our culture, do we not see a mom with a new baby and immediately start clapping. WOW!! YOU DID IT!! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU MADE IT!
So, I know there are a lot of moms out there who didn’t give birth to their babies. They adopted, fostered, took over care from a family member. This is not a put down on you. The fact of the matter is you need your own cheering squad and standing ovation. I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU JUST MADE A DECISION TO LOVE THIS CHILD AND THEN YOU DID! Just like that! And now you’ve given your entire life to taking care of this child, just like that! YOU ARE AMAZING!!
Ok, not everyone is a mom. But everyone does amazing things. This one is for my husband and all the other hard working breadwinners out there. I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU GET UP EVERY SINGLE MORNING AND GO TO WORK!! EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT! AND YOU KEEP FIXING THE CARS AND MAKING THEM RUN! AND YOU KEEP READING BEDTIME STORIES AND TUCKING KIDS INTO BED! AND YOU KEEP PLANNING YOUR TIME AROUND YOUR FAMILY AND PUTTING THEM FIRST!! You are amazing.
We don’t spend enough time recognizing the struggles and triumphs of our fellow man and woman. I think if we spent more time being amazed by each other, it would help in the respect and kindness department.
Just a thought.