The Journey to Motherhood
The Journey to Motherhood
Being a mother has been the most glorious sacred moments of my life and the most horribly miserable moments, and sometimes this is happening simultaneously. It is confusing and hard and the depth of love and level of helplessness I've felt are unparalleled to anything I've ever experienced in my life. Over the 9+ years I have been a mother I have had to constantly be integrating new parts of myself. Just when I think I've integrated all of who I am another situation or experience pops up that causes me to have to look deep within and search out who is this new person emerging yet again.
Each of my experiences in becoming a mother have been varied and unique and impacted this process of becoming more fully and deeply who I am. Each of my preparing for my children, or not being prepared at all, my pregnancies, and my births have all moulded me into the human I am today.
My oldest, my son Jude, we prepared for him with such dedication and fervour. We anxiously tried for 6 months and rejoiced at his conception. My husband and I read every book on pregnancy, birth and parenting. We got the most amazing doula to support us. We read to him, sang to him, when I got upset or anxious I held my belly and talked to him about how it was mommy's problem and not his. I was mothering him the best I could inutero and did absolutely everything in my power to have him come earth side with strength and ease. I was and still am such a strong believer that how our babies come into the world can impact mama and babe greatly. We planned a peaceful home birth, the pool was set up a week before our due date. I danced in the kitchen, got down on all fours to scrub floors, climbed as many hills as I could see and as the days and weeks went on it was clear that our little bub was staying put. It was day 14 over due when I finally obliged to be induced, knowing my dream of a home birth was over, but hoping for a natural vaginal birth in the hospital. An hour after being induced I was told that my uterus was in a constant contraction and that my uterus may burst if we continued. So the Dr.'s pulled the induction and off I went to labour if I could, I did, but not well enough. Little babes heart rate was not steady and so I was sent on the monitor and told not to move. Here I envisioned this moving dancing labour that I could flow with, and it felt like I was nailed to a bed to ride my contractions while holding my body back from any natural urge. It's really dang hard to hold your body back from what it naturally wants to do.
After about 5 hours of this it was clear that his heart rate continued to decline and I was taken in for an c-section. I've never felt more terror. The smell of the room, the way I was spoken to, how they prepped me and burst my veins over and over. No, no, no, no, this was not how it was suppose to go. I had hopes and dreams and expectations. I did everything right. I prayed and meditated I cleared space in my body, heart and soul for us to have this beautiful birth. At the moment he came to me I was so delirious and drugged that when they said "it's a boy", I said "It's a baby, it's a boy?", I didn't even know I was having a baby anymore.
This maybe isn't how it was meant to be, but it is how it went for me. I was elated and so in love with my little boy. But recovery was hard, nursing I just bleed, I was more helpless than I had ever been in my whole adult life, and more responsible and awe struck than I ever had been. This didn't end for me after 2 weeks, or 6 months, or even a year.
At a year I shockingly got pregnant with my second child that turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy that was only discovered after weeks of bleeding, countless tests and then a surgery that concluded I was moments away from my artery bursting. They had to take my tube, they took my baby, they took a 50% chance of getting pregnant again.
I did get pregnant again. I was terrified all 10 months of that pregnancy. I prepared for a 'vaginal birth after cesarean' and even with induction after 9 hours she came vaginally. I dialated from 5-10 cm's in 20 minutes and everyone was convinced my uterus was rupturing again, too much blood, too much pain. I went to sign the forms to go down to the OR and oh there she was along with a 3rd degree tear. Still I thought, so much better than my c-section. Still a new experience, still new grief, still more to integrate into the woman and mother I was becoming.
My last baby was dream. No induction, came on his due date, yet still all the fear and and terror from my last 3 experiences came to visit me as I laboured with him. I had to work to move into my body and not up into my fear. His birth was much more peaceful, nursing was again a nightmare, all 3 times a nightmare. And now I had a 4 year old and toddler at my feet while I had to figure this out with my new born. So much guilt for not being present and around for my other two, helplessness again for not feeding well, all the while amazed and captivated by my beautiful boy.
There is nothing like the experience of postpartum for a woman. There is nothing like gut-wrenching love and pain, and helplessness all rolled into one complex feeling that tears at your soul. There is no other refining fire that works to transform a woman into the whole human that she is meant to be.
I have had to heal and grow and integrate all those experiences and all the new parts of myself. It has not been easy, but with every stress, and grief and trauma it has been worth it. I have been transformed. Having journeyed this far there are some key things I wish I would have known 10 years ago, there's ways I have learned to be in relationship with my body and others that have helped to heal me. I work with women in the prenatal period and postpartum to help them find ease as they navigate their journey to motherhood.
If you would like to learn more about the key things that have helped me, and my many clients I have worked with to prepare, heal, and grow, join me at The Holistic Emotional Wellness Summit online Aug 14th-19th. To register you can click here! I'd love to see you there!