I've never felt what it feels like to have a life growing inside of me.
Never listened for a heartbeat, felt the first flutters, guessed for boy or girl.
I've never had my water break or been rushed to the hospital, praying we make it in time.
But I've labored.
Oh man, have I labored.
I've pushed and sweated and wanted to give up and needed people to remind me to breathe.
I've heard the cries that signaled breakthrough and instantly forgotten the pain from just moments before.
I'd been churning this idea of what labor is over in my mind for days when an infallible truth hit me. I was sitting in my amazing, life changing, challenging* small group on Sunday morning, listening to all the other young, yea we are still young, moms sharing their struggles and triumphs. My eyes drifted from one mom to the next and I realized we are all still laboring.
Each mom in a different situation, but with the same goal in mind; to survive this phase while safely birthing a new person into the World.
I'm not sure where the idea that laboring a child ends when they take their first breath began, but it's grossly incorrect. Like a contraction, when one pang ends, there's another racing behind it. The faster they come, the closer we are to relief, but we are never in the clear.
A person is coming and we are ushering them in.
I've been in the throngs of contractions with Josie for weeks now.
We are feeling our way through new emotions together and it's beautiful and bringing us closer to each other and, oh my stars, it's exhausting.
We've spent days angry, trying to figure out the base of her emotion and erupted in tears. We've rocked on the floor, eaten cookies, and followed it up with some deep belly laughs. We are learning how to breathe in this new atmosphere, slowly taking off our oxygen masks and learning that different doesn't equal bad.
I am naturally a very nonemotional person, solidified when I sat next to my sobbing husband during the Notebook, dry eyed and wondering what was wrong with him. So having a little lady in my house that needs more than a, "why are you crying again?", has been a challenge for me.
Over the past couple of weeks, I've been very on purpose with her. When I see her getting worked up, we've learned how to take a break until she can talk about it like a big girl. It takes extra time and messes with my scheduled plan, but if I can't take time out to validate her feelings, what good am I?
I feel the end of this contraction on the horizon, but I know better than to let my guard down. There will be another challenge soon and I will have to remember all I learned.
Hee Hee. Hoo Hoo.
Breathe hard. Hold a hand.
A person is coming and I'm ushering them in.
Photos obviously unrelated, but y'all, we took 7 kids bowling, out for pizza, and then stopped for ice cream and it was a perfect afternoon. No moms yelled and only one child cried over having to share the free water at Dunkin Donuts. It was a good day.