The Miracle of Motherhood

There's a lot of chatter tonight in World of Blogs about the desire to experience a full-term pregnancy resulting in a live birth vs the inability to do so. Both the always poignant Getupgrrl and the Leery Polyp have written moving posts from the heart. Both women are coping with a sense of loss, both mourning a dream, a desire they'll never fulfill. And both have me pondering tonight.

A few things strike me actually. One is this 'meaning well' syndrome that some folks seem destined to inflict on others isn't just limited to the world of fertility or the lack thereof. No, not at all. Its all around us actually. Just today, for example, I read an email directed to a woman that was facing the potential loss of her great-grandmother. The reply was heartfelt, I'd assume, and said simply "Well at least she'd have lived to a good old age." Yeah, but that doesn't make the hurt hurt any less. People say dumb things all the time. In the end, I really think that's a matter of needing to say something so badly that we'll say anything without really thinking it through.

The other thing I keep coming back to -- where is the miracle really when it comes to offspring? The thing is bringing a child to the world and raising the child is a series of miracles. Its not one thing. Its not one continuous big fat miracle. No, its not that simple.

It was a miracle to conceive both my children. Had we had success with fertility treatments, it'd have been one kind of miracle. Had we had L easily, the first time we tried or the first *year* we tried, his creation would have been a miracle just the same. Struggling as we did, giving in and then finding ourselves awaiting his arrival is its own miraculous event. None of these three scenarios is truly more wondrous than the other, quite frankly. Each one is spectacular and should be celebrated.

Being pregnant - no matter how bad it sucks sometimes - is yet another miracle. I think I've said it before, but if not I'll say it again - I'm not one that relishes feeling my child move inside me. Yeah, before being pregnant I couldn't wait. I longed for those kicks & pokes. I mourned the idea that I'd never know what it felt like to feel a baby wiggle as it grew to term. Having been there, done that, though, I have to be honest. I find it a bit creepy. I find it disconcerting. I really don't enjoy not being able to find a truly comfortable way to sit or lay because the ones that I personally like, seem to piss off my daughter to no end. I honestly get a bit freaked out to feel her elbow or knee roll by my hand or arm if I'm resting either on my bulging belly. Its just weird. . . and yet its a miracle that I'm glad I've had the chance to be freaked out by. It makes me sad to think that someone that wants to know that same sensation so badly can't. Women like Grrl and Jo may never know if they're really a Mom that finds every poke and jab adorable or one that realizes it gives her the willies. To me that not knowing is so incredibly sad.

Pregnancy hopefully (because too many women suffer unbelievable pain & loss to say it's a given) ends in a live birth. For me, its honestly never mattered how my child came into the world at the end of 40 weeks (give or take a few) just that he/she did. To others, pushing that child out is important and when the ability to do is taken from them for one reason or another its another loss to mourn. Although I don't identify with this regret, I don't diminish it either. I sometimes read the lamentations and think that in weeping for their lost birth plan some woman (not all) have a romanticized view of vaginal delivery. Its that sense of the 'real' or "natural" or even "perfect" that will invoke a response out of me, because I don't actually think there is such a thing. . . and even so, I try to remember that the ability to feel your child slip from you IS a gift. It is a miracle and to not have that on your list of life experiences is sad in its own way.

Yet child rearing in and of itself is its own miracle. . . its own *set* of miracles really. Each day that dawns brings a new set of wondrous moments. Each little smile and even every tear is a gift that every parent has been given - and it makes no difference who's genes that child supports or how they came to be. Its that very understanding, that simple truth, I wish I could share with those that ache so badly sometimes. Those that mourn their losses of the other miraculous stages of entering parenthood have their right to weep. They should release their anger and their loss. But I so wish I could hug them tight as their shoulders shake and then celebrate as they see that having a child anyway they can - through their own bodies, through a surrogate, through adoption - is really and truly the most wonderful gift of all.

I hear a lot lately about the terrible twos because we've recently entered into that time with our son. And so very many people are wonderfully supportive enough to point out that "three" is just worse. ;) The thing about it, though, is that as a mother, raising a child can at times be the most challenging, aggravating, maddening experience I'll ever face. There are moments when I stare at my child in the midst of a fit over something that is to me ridiculously inconsequential and I think "What the hell? Whoever thought *I* could handle this type of stress needs to stop laughing now and give me either more patience or really good drugs." Yet EVEN with those moments, being somebody's Mother is simply the most amazing, indescribable thing there is.

At the end of the day, when my son is past whatever fits he had tossed and he's beyond the giggles we shared, when he's laying angelically asleep, I can watch him and feel a peace I never knew existed. When its all over I can reflect and realize that even our most frustrating struggles are miracles because every little tantrum and demand is just a manifestation of this child's growth. The fact that this little blob can enter the world with nothing of interest outside of eating, sleeping and expelling waste and then move into a human being with actual wants, desires and needs is mind blowing. The notion that the person that could only once cry because he needed 'something' can now define exactly what it is he wants and how badly he wants it is truly amazing to me. And even more so, the fact that I, little ole average me, has had a hand in helping this small boy realize he had these abilities is just more impressive than anything I've ever accomplished. The fact that I've been given the opportunity to help mold the future, to help grow a person who will touch so many lives as he moves ahead with his own, is just more than I ever dreamed possible. It, in and of itself, is the most amazing thing I've ever experienced. Its a gift I wish could find everyone that is seeking it. *It*, Motherhood itself, is the true miracle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sandy. I linked over here from your comment on getupgrrl's blog. You really expressed beautifully what I was thinking myself but didn't say very well. And then this post here is even better. The tragedy, IMO, is not the loss of any one experience itself (because as you say, it's a series of miracles), but the loss of the chance to have that experience and decide for yourself whether you liked it or not and how you react to it. It's the not knowing. But then, maybe I don't really know, since I was pregnant and did have a vaginal birth? Those experiences were defining for me (and I was the exact opposite of you--I thought I'd hate the moving and love everything else, and I hated everything *but* feeling the movement) not completely in a good way. And I feel bad that other women won't get to find out how it is for them.

Thanks for the thought-provoking post.