“A day will come when the story inside you will want to breath on its own. That’s when you’ll start writing.” -Sarah Noffke
Truthfully it’s been two and half years since the birth of my daughter and I’m just writing my birth story down. It’s been a long time coming but i’ve needed to ponder and reacquaint myself with my story and find peace in it all. My journey to birth has had time to breath and I now can cheerfully release my fears and be at peace. I remember so well the moment the doctor laid our sweet daughter on my chest. My body was tired, my cheeks red and stinging from the heat, my heart racing, my smile filled with bliss, my eyes weary longing for a moment of rest. At last, through the sheer fear, sudden change and pain of birth, she was here. She was right here in front of me with her perfect fuzzy ducky hair, one eye open the other softly shut, looking deeply into my eyes; her tiny body in need of comfort, touch, and a soothing voice telling her, “I love you. I’m right here. Everything’s okay, baby.”
My husband and I had planned a home birth for our birth plan and worked with two midwives through my whole pregnancy. Every checkup was sweeter than the last when we visited our midwives. On any given checkup, you would walk in to find one sipping on hot tea while the other was knitting the most precious baby hats you ever did see. Their home was always welcoming and the smells are nostalgic to me still to this day. Their inviting presence made us feel seen and heard by them in an undeniable way. I knew that they were passionate about their work. The sparkle in their eyes was every bit as comforting as my husband stroking my hair or giving me a warm hug. We felt at home, and we were. As my pregnancy progressed, I was in and out of the hospital at twenty-four weeks as well as twenty-eight weeks. I experienced long and hard contractions as if labor was coming, but nothing ever happened beyond that. My baby was eager to make an entrance into the world and I kind of had a feeling too (mama instincts). We continued to see our midwives in hopes we could make it to the thirty-eight week mark, but that didn’t happen.
My water broke on a cold and blustery Wednesday night, just shy of thirty-eight weeks. I panicked I thought I still had at least four weeks to go…to prepare, to nest. I didn’t want to believe things were going to go differently than we had planned. When I heard the words, “I’m sorry my sweet Sophia, we need to go to the hospital” my heart dropped. Fear and anxiety gripped my muscles, and tears flooded my lap. This wasn’t what we planned for, so now what would it look like?
You see, I didn’t know that everything would be okay. I was scared, I was tired, and I was not in my home. I let fear and anxiety rattle my thoughts and harden my muscles. As they transferred me to my birthing room, it felt large and cold. I didn’t know any of the doctors or nurses, but all I could do was trust that this was exactly where I was supposed to be. Little did I know that the doctors would be so gentle and understanding. They took the time to make my room feel how I had anticipated my home to feel. They spoke softly and surely to me, comforting my fears with every passing moment. You see, it’s so easy in motherhood to place expectations on how our birth might look like, what our children will take interests in, how we will parent, and what approach we will take with the many decisions we make as parents. It’s easy to let fear lead our hearts in motherhood instead of peace. I have learned a lot from my birth. It did not go the way I planned….pitocin, epidural, twenty four hours of labor, three hours of pushing to no avail, and extra unexpected time in the hospital with our sweet preemie. It was long and grueling, and at some points I wanted to give up and be done. But I learned that day what my body is capable of. I learned how expectations placed on ourselves or our children only produce failure and insecurity, robbing us of our joy and and peace we have been given since the beginning of time.
During the days at the hospital leading up to my birth, you could find my midwives sleeping on the ground on a sleeping bag, spending every waking moment beside me, comforting me, encouraging me, and making my room feel like a home. They supported me, and walked me through the doctor’s’ questions and concerns. They helped me see past my fear and expectations to understand that a healthy baby was the goal. Whatever your journey to your miracle might look like, whether that’s adoption, foster care, cesarean, home birth, etc., know that you are right where you need to be. I like to think that the universe and a higher being orchestrates our life and journeys to motherhood in a truly unique way, teaching us many lessons if we will stop and truly feel the way we were meant to feel.
My birthing experience made me think that we need people in our lives in any stage of motherhood to help us, to encourage who we are as mothers, and to cheer us on to victory. We need that “village”, that “sisterhood” to surround us with open arms and open hearts to bear one another’s burdens and help lighten the load. Sometimes it’s hard to ask and accept help, but people genuinely want to help and encourage. Surround yourself with people that love you and make you feel like motherhood is working for you, not against you. At the same time, intentionally reach out to new mothers and friends in need once you’ve got a couple months under your belt. A simple meal or phone call goes a long way in helping a loved one feel supported in the crazy, messy, beautiful state of motherhood. We all have different journeys. Some may go the way we plan and some may not. When we give up control and offer up our hands to the higher being, we find peace and contentment on our journey to birth or the first day of preschool, however that may unfold. Our children come out of us, but they are not of us. They have their own path and their own passions to share with this world. So go on Mommas. Go on and share your hearts, your emotions, your love for your children and let that be enough. Let your hands not be gripped with control but open to whatever may come your way. Expect not from your children, and great things will follow them and you through this journey of motherhood. You are brave, you are enough, and you are accepted just the way you are. Your story matters, your journey to motherhood is enough and always will be.
My direct blog is: cultivatingmotherhood.wordpress.com
Instagram : @cultivatemotherhood
Second account: cultivate_wellness
Facebook is: Sophia El’rae Johnson
Facebook Oil group: cultivatewellnessyloils
Here is a short bio: My name is Sophia Johnson, I am a wife and a mother to our sweet daughter Beatrice with a second child on the way. Join me in my journey of cultivating motherhood through a hands free/gentle parenting approach. My hope is to inspire deep growth, honesty, vulnerbility, and a sense of community in our ever changing days as mothers. I am passionate about letting our little ones feel capable and strong in their daily lives, for one day the tiny mundane tasks, and hobbies that we include them in will be remembered as pure joy and the feeling of being trusted by another will inspire their true identity and uniqueness in this life. Here i write about my hard ships and joys of being a mother and all my daughter has taught me along the way about myself and who I want to be. I share the joy of letting go of control and freeing ourselves to see our children as their very own “unique beings” set apart from our expectations as parents and insecurities we face on a daily basis. It wasn’t until I had a child that I found myself all over again, in a truly unique and refreshing way. Let us cultivate the greatest gift of “Motherhood ” however that journey unfolds for each of us