Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Something about my kids’ birthdays, and particularly their first birthdays, causes me to stop and reflect on their births and the past year. I suppose it’s because birth is such a momentous occasion, and the changes that occur in the first year of a baby’s life are incredible.

As I reflect, I realize how much the emotions of labor and birth have paralleled my life over the last year. Although he was my third baby and second totally natural home birth, his birth felt the most difficult to me. Labor was long and slow for many hours, then when it finally picked up the pace, it was like being hit by a train. Although those there with me have assured me that my struggles were internal, and that I appeared calm and strong throughout labor and birth, I clearly recall times where I felt so desperate, needy, and weak. The moment came, as it does in most labors, where I just wanted to give up; I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore and I didn’t want to do it anymore.

Emotionally, I felt weak and tired. But my body was strong, and it forged ahead and did exactly what needed to be done, pulling the rest of me along for the ride. A beautiful baby was born and he changed my world.

Could there be a more fitting description of the last year of my life?

There have been times where the days have dragged, and I felt frustrated, wishing life would just pick up the pace already. Then the pace did increase, and oh boy, a lot of things have happened!

I have given my all emotionally, physically, and spiritually: to labor and birth, to actively and positively parenting, to getting testing and resources for my children who needed a little extra help, to going back to school myself to work on my long-term career goals.

During the times I have felt the weakest– when I’ve been exhausted and overwhelmed, when I’ve just wanted to give up– an inner strength I didn’t even realize I had has emerged. And it is this strength that has kept me moving, dragging the rest of me along for the ride regardless of how I felt about it.
And now here we are. The baby is a year old today. I am turning in my final papers to finish my first semester of graduate school today. My oldest will be finished with therapy at the end of this month, and the middle one has made amazing progress in speech.

The first birthday signifies just how much change can take place in the span of a year. This is an especially poignant reminder for me this year, because my baby is not the only one who has changed and grown exponentially. A year ago, I could never have imagined that this is where we would all be.
And you know what amazes me the most? I no longer feel weak. I know I am strong. I know I can do so much more than I even think I am capable of. I know I will not be defeated by circumstances that feel overwhelming.

A stronger me has been born, and my world has been changed.

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