Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beautiful Mess

Pregnancy is one of the most extreme times in a woman's life: extreme emotions, extreme moods, extreme appetite. I remember being so tired, but also incredibly ambitious. I was nervous about the baby's health, doctor's visits, needles and weight gain and yet I understood the real hope for the first time in my life. And the midst of pregnancy, when I become heavier than ever before, I somehow felt more beautiful than any previous time in my life. This body, which society says must be thin to be fashionable and is for display purpose only, now had a real purpose.

There are so many joys along the road to becoming a new mother-the least of which is the many people who love to tell you every little negative thing that happened to them during the pregnancy, the childbirth and those blessed first months with new baby. You announce your due date and everyone says ' Congratulations', right before they jump into their own story about their fifty-hour unmediated labor, followed by thirteen weeks of straight colic, teenage angst, and how they cannot get their grown children to leave home.

I love the special people in my life who tell me, "You're as big as a house" or " Enjoy sleep while you can." They show emotional sympathy of a hungry pit bull.

But I want you to know that no matter the pains or discomfort or fears, there will be no time in your life as sweet. Nothing will bring such a beautiful smile or fonder memories than when you think back to preparing for your baby. If the road to becoming a mom were difficult as it is joy-filled, then we would take it for granted. It is the aches and pains and little quirky weird things that happen along the way that make our stories unique, that tie us to our children with fierceness. We know what it cost to get them here, on Earth.

The rough edges of pregnancy are smoothed out by intense love and joy. For example: there is nothing like first kicks of your baby in the your womb. Of course, if you've made it to seventh month or beyond (Alhamdulillah I am at my/our seventh month this week) you will occasionally wish junior wasn't so aggressive.

My first child wedged his feet into my ribs so hard I was so sure he was trying to break out early. Because of this, I often said that I would be so much happier with my baby in my arms rather than a karate-chopping my insides. The things that were so hard to endure in the long minutes of every day become the things you miss as time moves on. Two months after my son was born, I became a liar. I missed his little kicks terribly. I missed his flip-flopping in the night. I had to have another one so I could feel it again.

No matter how many absolutely adorable pictures you get at Sears or Penney's, there will never bring those first ultrasound pictures bring. There is such an intense rush in knowing that there is really a baby growing inside you, and it's your son or your daughter!You can actually see them suck their thumbs or tickle their own toes (Yes, I was given chance to see these in my own womb, Alhamdulillah) For me, its a proof; it seemed to take the abstract and bring it all home. This confirms your motherhood: you must wear jeans that rise above the belly button(just kidding).

Here's the best part: all the leg shaving, makeup wearing,bikini waxing, eyebrow plucking, high-heel walking and hair fixing you've ever done or had to learn how to do; all the rude stares; catcalls;impolite gestures, and unequal treatment;anything and everything that makes being a woman hard, inconvenient, and tiresome-even pregnancy and labor-comes crashing down when you, at your weakest, become the strongest you've ever been and push your own child into this world, and you finally embrace a beautiful, messy joy that is your newborn.

As I stared at my son's quivering lips while he cried in the first few minutes after he was born, I was so proud. I was proud to be a woman, and no amount of pain or fear or stereotype placed upon me by society would ever change that again. I alone was equipped to care for and give birth to this boy. My body nurtured him for nine months and would keep fat on his thighs for a year more through breast-feeding.

It is an empowering feeling. We are told there so many things we can't do, and then we realize we are capable of the seemingly impossible. We triumph in the face of unspeakable difficulties!

And what they say is true! We forget the hardest parts of pregnancy, at least enough to go through it again. But God made pregnancy hard for a reason-nobody but a tired, pregnant woman could actually look forward to labor.

BY: Chicken Soup For the New Mom's Soul (Heather Best)

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