I still acutely remember an internal dialogue I had with myself the morning of the day my son was born. I had already been in full on labor for at least eight hours. My internal speaking went like this, “Do not move your face in response to people’s words– you cannot afford to lose even that much energy.” My son wouldn’t be born for another 15+ hours.
What a humbling and mind-blowing experience it is bringing a child into the world. How it changes you in ways immense and yet almost intangible. When I look back on that woman in labor with her first-born four years ago, I see a powerful, capable woman who still truly had no idea of her capacities. I suppose if I’m lucky, I’ll think that every few years.
But seriously, first of all, how would a person ever know they could bear that much pain and live through it!? I remember thinking while I was in labor with my son, “How are there so many people in this world!?” Of course all that came out was, “This is crazy!!?” It’s all I could manage. I was laying stark naked in a birthing pool in the middle of our living room, with a ball of a belly in front of me, bearing intense pain, throwing up, and then breathing out, “This is crazy!” every few minutes. I suppose that was my birth ritual. The one they say you are supposed to get in as to have a good flow in your birth! Haha! It makes me chuckle to think of it now.
Every year when my children’s birthdays arrive I love thinking about my experience bringing them into this world. It’s this memory wrapped in unbelievable amounts of physical pain and yet embedded in such a deep, fierce, powerful, and all-consuming precious love at the same time. Somehow it feels so whole and complete within itself. And so like motherhood: growth/pain/marvel/love all wrapped together in one package.
Being a mom is mind-blowingly difficult. And to someone who hasn’t experienced it it’s hard to even describe that. You could say, “The kids were screaming and… and…” but still it comes out hollow—the words don’t quite reflect the physical and emotional intensity of it.
I remember a good male friend of mine saying to me after I had my son, “I guess I will never know what it feels like to have a baby.” He was listening intently to my experience and conceding on a very real level he would never truly understand the intensity of what I was saying.
“No. No you won’t. Ever.” I said looking him in the eye. No one could without experiencing it, but also no man could, ever.
Giving birth changed my notions of what it was to be a woman. Pre-childbirth I always thought, “Yeah, of course women are great.” After childbirth, now, I think, “WOMEN ARE FREAKING AMMMMMMAAAAAAZZZZING! IT’S UNBELIEVABLE WHAT WE ARE ABLE TO SUSTAIN, BEAR AND DO.”
At the time of writing this, I am experiencing my first ever extended time away from my kids. My husband took the kids to see his brother. And although I love my brother-in-law and his family, I opted out. “I think I’ll just stay home BY MYSELF,” I thought, said, and did.
It’s been incredible. This is the first time in four years that I’ve had a real break from the crush of motherhood. It’s the first time I’ve been alone this long in maybe 6 years. SIX YEARS. (Eyes bugged out.) I write, read, think, understand, drink a glass of rosé with a friend on the deck of my studio, order food out because I don’t have to cook (thank god), go to the gym, swim laps, shop… I’ve even had the time and space to develop a whole curriculum for my new one-on-one intuition development classes that I’m excited to have available soon.
But the best thing is that just having this space has caused me to have a whole series of dawning revelations about myself and my life. It’s even given me the space to see my current weaknesses– the places in my life where I could use a little brush up on my skills, a little honing and development to help me get through parenting with more grace.
But one of the most startling insights I’ve had is that motherhood has seasoned me. And not as in flavored spices– as in beef jerky– tough and hang dried. But oddly enough, it doesn’t feel like a bad thing.
With this space and my vision, I can finally see what motherhood has done to me. I’m tougher. I’m stronger, more capable, more able to endure and accomplish. The depth of my soul, my connection to it, and my own inner knowing has also grown exponentially– right before my eyes, but also frequently unbeknownst to me. Having full access to all of me for the first time in so long I’m having this experience that is incredible. I am able to see that I have expanded and grown in ways I could have never fathomed, and frankly couldn’t recognize because I was too busy, and necessarily so, with my kids. I am understanding for the first time that I’ve grown extra limbs, so to speak. Limbs that have helped me take care of the needs of my family without completely losing myself. Because through all of the craziness of having two tiny children I have kept what was sometimes an almost death-like grip on my inner being. The kind of white knuckled, “I will not lose her!” hold, said through gritted teeth, and sleep deprived dirty hair days that merge one into the next, a series of deeds and needs and tiny bits of carved out space for breath.
And now that I have her all to myself—extra limbs at all– I can’t help but marvel. It’s a shocking thing what motherhood has done to me. And you don’t even know it while it’s happening. On the outside it’s all, “Eat in the kitchen… It’s your sister’s turn… Will you PLEASE lower your voice!” but by sheer necessity the act of mothering is adding breadth, depth, and strength to your soul in a way that is profound, startling, and undeniable once you look at it.
Like my memories of those precious childbirth days, the experience is whole and complete within itself, even if you can’t quite notice while it is happening. It continues to add to and strengthen your being and let’s be honest, weaken parts of it too—(starting with your pelvic floor, for example) but the whole of it is still utterly miraculous.
I’m writing to tell you this because you might not have the time and space to see it for yourself. You may never. But it’s true. From conception until now, you, like me, have been and are being utterly changed by motherhood in a way that would astonish you with its beauty if you could see it. For all it that it usually feels like repetitive short orders, “Don’t hit your brother,” “Wipe your hands before you touch the couch,” it’s not. It’s miraculous and astounding and creating extra capacities, limbs, and rooms in your own being that add strength to your soul, brawn to your being, and bulk to your depth.
I’m sorry that it sucks sometimes– for both of us. But given the time and space to see it for what it is, it can only be a marvel. And if you haven’t had the chance to see it for yourself, or won’t ever get it, trust my words. Motherhood is shaping you in ways that even despite (and including) your very worst days you would be proud to see. It is that rich and ripe.
Through this revelation, I find myself saying a silent prayer of thanks to my children, for being the vehicles that are helping to shape me into this strong, brawny, and deep being. It’s a gift only they could have given me, and one that could never be replaced.
Xylus Roy and Atalie Maeve– thank you from the bottom of my heart and the whole of my soul. I love you, always…. And, you still have to stay in the kitchen with your food.
Love to you and yours,
Aimée Cartier is an author, psychic and the founder of Intuition University. She helps her clients align with their own highest good, and discover their next best steps in life. She helps her Intuition University students access their own inner knowing and power. More about her work can be found at www.AimeeCartier.com.