Thursday, March 15, 2012
Birth Is The Easy Part
When I was pregnant with my first baby I was really petrified. Labor and birth....it was just so unknown. I was scared to death that I wouldn't be able to do it. I was really concerned with my ability to handle labor, to make it through, to do it "all natural."
And then when I did it it was fabulous. But....I hadn't really thought about the part AFTER. You know, the part where you are actually a MOM.
Having a new baby was just a slap in the face for me. I knew nothing about it. Truly I was a clueless first time mom. I had hardly ever even held a baby in my life, I had siblings but we were close enough in age that I never took care of them.
But I got good at being a baby mama. Now I am on my fourth and I know what they need even before they tell me. I know what their cries mean, when they are hungry, sad, hot, hurting, anything. I "get it" now.
I was really starting to think I had figured some things out. Maybe I had this mom gig down.
Then the kids get older.
Now suddenly my oldest seems to be morphing into a different child. When they are little they literally breathe you- your thoughts, opinions, mannerisms, will all be repeated back to you. This can be embarrassing and humbling but it is always cute. They literally want to be just like you. But lately my "you do everything right mama" child seems to be realizing that I am wrong sometimes. Maybe he disagrees with me.
All I can say is, "ICK."
How I long for the days when he repeated my embarrassing thoughts to others. At least we were on the same page!
It all makes me realize though that despite the obsession with birth and how and where you do it and with whom and in what position and yada yada yada....
Birth is the easy part.
It really is. It is exciting at first, then hard work, then "I can't do this" hard and then sheer elation when it is over and you have that miraculous prize in your hands. But despite all the hundreds of books written about birth and the countless ways to prepare, it is EASY.
Being a good parent to a constantly changing human being is hard.
Sometimes I think I have figured it out. I UNDERSTAND this child. I KNOW him. You know how after a while you can almost read your child's thoughts? And then one day that ability seems to have vanished.
I don't understand it. I hope it is part of the beauty of parenting.
There is always another lesson, another skill, another hard moment, around the corner. And each hard moment is blessed with more knowledge, more humility and more understanding that you will need somewhere else down that road.
I hope that the lessons I learned giving birth and the things it taught me will carry over and help me raise perfect babies into simply.... GOOD adults. But I have realized that despite what seems like the "pain" of labor, labor is a very short moment in our eternal career as a parent.
Birth is necessary. It is sometimes amazing, always transformative, and occasionally downright difficult. But in the scheme of things, birth is but a moment. Being a good parent is what will have the most far-reaching consequences, joys, sorrows, and rewards.
Then again, I could be wrong. This all keeps changing on me!