Saturday, May 1, 2010

On becoming a Mom…
It was a cool November morning when I became a mom. I suppose it really had happened nine months earlier, when my heart nearly lept from my chest as the test turned pink, or was it blue? When I walked out of the bathroom and met my husbands eyes with "YES" "YES!" YES!!!" "We're having a baby!"
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15 weeks along I knew I was a mom, aching for her health, when the doctor said I wasn't measuring correctly and took me right away for a sonogram. I was her mom, so proud of my little girl when all proved to be well as a grainy figure floated on the screen in a dark room… my belly exposed and covered in sticky cold goo hiccuping with giggles as I watched in amazement. My petite baby girl, looking like a beautiful little peanut.
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But in the early morning hours when we met face-to-face that sweet November day, that is when I saw the mouth that would say "Mama", the eyes that would cry when I wasn't close, the hands that would hold mine, the hair I would brush, the toes I would tickle, the nose I would wipe. I became a mom.
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In the cocoon called pregnancy, as my motherhood wings were forming, it became apparent I was surrendering much to this new vocation. My body, most obviously, was now scarred and forever changed. The younger, less saggy, less leaky, firmer me was morphed and changed into a mother. However, after I broke free of my cocoon it was suddenly very obvious that much more than an outward shell had been forever surrendered and changed.
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I was now the most important person in the world to a very tiny, helpless creature. I suppose that before motherhood I had lived as though I was the most important person in the world, at least a little… but to truly be the critical life giving and sustaining m-o-t-h-e-r… I was overcome with the burden on my shoulders and I spent many hours crying under the unexpected weight.
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Suddenly I was expected to wake when demanded, with screaming no less. Never before had I had poop and vomit on everything I owned, bedsheets and hair included. A phone call was no longer simple, for when would I ever find the time? How could I ever shower without peaking out ten times to holler for an update on her status? And would my body ever be my own again?
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When I became a mother the growing pains of my own ego surrendering to my inadequacy, my need for control surrendering to my helplessness, and my self-importance surrending to a child who didn't care if I was a rock star or the struggling mom that I truly was, all thrust me into a crucible of transformation. Surrendering in this way takes time. A lifetime really.
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I am a mother, and at the same time becoming a mother every day. When she rolled over and mobility presented a whole new array of issues I stretched my motherhood wings a little more. When she took her first steps, I stretched. When she spoke, I stretched, when she misspoke, and spoke back I stretched more. When we walked into preschool, I stretched. When I felt a tug in my heart that she did not belong in that preschool, and responded with yet another search of local options and time-off work to apply and call and think and ask and pray, I stretched.
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As I sit in this stew that is "what to do about Kindergarten"? I stretch.
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Motherhood is a lifetime of stretching beautiful wings that were formed in the cocoon of pregnancy (or for the mother who has adopted, these wings are also formed in the longing and waiting and anticipation and prayer of the search for her beautiful child as well). We've all got them, these wings.
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To hurry a mother along in her stretching is unhealthy. To be a caterpillar, not yet transformed, and yet think you already know how to fly is unfair. To encourage and love and walk along side one another as we all stretch at our own pace is the only way to take this journey. No one understands this unless they themselves have stretched, a little or a lot.
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I look to others who are stretching for guidance. I look to moms who have stretched much further for much longer than I have. I hope to encourage new moms, too, to show them that the stretching is naturally uncomfortable but that is normal, and we all do it - and that it all turns out ok. I look to the One who is stretched for us beyond our comprehension, who stretched to the point of sacrificing a child in order to make right all those things that will make our stretching hurt so much.
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This week, as we reflect on our own mothers and the many mothers in our lives, I wish you much stretching at a pace set by the One who calls each of us to a vocation of service and love for one another.

2 comments:

Phil and Lacy said...

Thanks for this post Katie. I loved reading it, especially since I'm about to become a mom myself. :)

Libby and David said...

Katie,

This captured my heart. So well said. So incredibly beautiful. How sweet motherhood truly is.

Libby