“Two little pink lines brought me crashing back down to earth.”
One day during the summer of 2011, I excitedly emailed Molly with the subject line, “On why I won’t be applying to be a Stratejoy blogger.” Why? Because I thought I had my life figured out. A couple months worth of Joy Juice prompts, a little summer sun, and one delicious Chai tea had me feeling invincible. Quarter Life Crisis? Psh. I had it solved and tidied it away.
Two days later, two little pink lines brought me crashing back down to earth.
In utter emotional shock, I crawled into my husband’s arms and wondered how on earth nine months could be enough to prepare me for being the mother this child deserved (make that eight months – did you know the first 2 weeks of “official” pregnancy are before you’re actually pregnant? Yeah, I had no clue. Add to that the 2 weeks it takes to figure out why your boobs hurt so much, and suddenly you’re holding onto every single day for dear life).
I spent weeks and months journaling. What kind of parent was I going to be? How do I change a diaper? How do I teach a child right from wrong?
I spent many hormonal nights sobbing to my husband about how I was inevitably going to be a bad mother (he had much good advice and many kind, supportive words, but pregnancy hormones make it difficult to listen to any man, especially male obstetricians who confidently yet mistakenly try to tell you that stretch marks are nothing to worry about).
Throughout my pregnancy, I felt guilty and selfish whenever the term “quarter life crisis” crept back into my vocabulary. I couldn’t think about me! I had to figure out how to keep a newborn baby alive! I had to determine just how to raise a child into an adult who wouldn’t be totally messed up!
And then, six days before my April 12 due date, I went into labor. When I first realized I was in labor, I panicked. Holy Shit. This is it. This is real.
After about 22 hours of un-medicated labor, I hit the “transition” period – the period of time before pushing starts. The contractions came one on top of the other without giving me so much as a second to catch my breath. And let me tell you, it’s scary. I was terrified about what came next. I remember telling my husband, who held my hand the whole time, that I can’t do this, I can’t go on. Why did I ever believe I had the strength to do this?
Even if you’ve never given birth, chances are that sounds familiar, right? It sounds just like any transition period at any point in your life. The challenges won’t stop coming, each one knocking you flat on your back. It’s intense. It’s painful. You feel like you’ve hit rock bottom, and you have no idea if and how you’ll ever make it out alive.
But you know what? You push through it anyway. You lean on anyone or anything that’s there to support you, and at the end of it all, new life awaits, whether it’s the warm, blue body of a tiny crying baby, or the awakened, rejuvenated life of your own. And it’s magical.
It took 24 hours of labor and a warm, blue baby boy in my arms to make me realize two key lessons:
First, to be the person someone else needs you to be, you have to become the person you need you to be first.
Second, babies are resilient; they let you make mistakes. When you’re thrown head-first into sleepless nights, dirty diapers, strange breast pumps, and wee morning hours, you stop worrying about how to do it all. You just do it. You push through it.
No, I don’t have it all figured out. And it was ridiculously cocky to think I ever did. I’m still in the process of becoming the person I need myself to be, and my biggest goal is to be a good role model to my son while living life intentionally. I’m so excited to be blogging for Stratejoy because I know this amazing tribe of women [you!] can help hold me accountable for achieving that. No matter what kind of transition we’re all going through, I know we can help each other push through it.
I can’t wait to start connecting with you! Feel free to say hi in the comments below or on Twitter!