FEATURE – Being pregnant is awesome, and awful. Awesome because you realize what an amazing experience and gift it is to create life; to know that inside of you is a developing human being with great potential. Awful because though this realization is precious and priceless, there are moments when you feel like you are paying a very high price.
You have physical, psychological and emotional pains that only fuel your low self-esteem at a time when you should be feeling invincible because of this seemingly superhuman event you are taking part in. You love the connection you feel to this little person growing inside you, but hate the disconnect you feel to the person who once wore skinny jeans and could see her toes without a mirror.
It is this duality of circumstance, this state of awfully awesome awareness, that spurs our stamina and refines our resilience so that in that final moment, when we are bringing another person into the world, we have the strength to endure. In that moment, after the final push, when we are soaked with tears and sweat and blood and we are handed this brand new being that was moments ago a part of us, we ourselves become a new being: A mother.
Whether for the first time or the fifth, we are enlightened anew to who we really are and what we are really capable of. It’s in that moment that we wonder why or how we could ever think of ourselves as anything less than god-like. The stretch marks don’t matter. The pain doesn’t hurt. The trauma we have endured, though undeniable, becomes insignificant when compared to the greatness that has just been revealed in us.
I’m not saying it all becomes a carnival ride after that, unless you’re talking about the kind that flips you upside down and spins you around until you are screaming for someone to let you off. It is not always fun, and hardly ever easy. Some days the best you can do is not give up, but life always allows you moments of clarity to carry you through; quiet moments when you snuggle this precious little person close to you, watching him slumber, feeling like the love you have for this little soul is radiating from your heart and setting the room on fire. Either 20 or two minutes later, this same little precious package is screaming like a banshee, depriving you of sleep to the point that you could stroll onto the set of “The Walking Dead” and pass for an extra. But those buoying moments of peace and clarity always return.
Those brief moments merge into minutes and months, and soon you forget the day-to-day details and only remember the feelings; the love. Because though stains fade, bottles get boxed up and your old, elusive friend called “sleep” does eventually find you, the love never leaves you. It only grows with time, and expands with each experience, good or bad.
Motherhood is many things, but despite what society or Facebook tells you, it is not the pounds you’ve packed on, the photos you’ve “pinned,” the loads you’ve laundered or breads you’ve baked. It’s really only one thing. It’s the legacy of love you leave in the hearts of your children.
The true mark of a mother is most vividly displayed in the souls of those she took part in creating. Remember that next time you burn dinner, stay in your sweats all day or leave a dish in the sink overnight. If your child is happy, if you see love in their eyes reflecting back at you over a charred casserole, consider yourself an amazing mom. And maybe order a pizza.
Written by Terrin Parker for St. George Health and Wellness magazine and St. George News.
Parker is the associate editor of St. George Health and Wellness magazine and a physical therapist from Cedar City. She graduated from Loma Linda University and has lived in Denver, San Diego and St. George. She loves to surf, snowboard, write, travel, play the guitar and spend time with her husband and their two children.
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