I am bringing my humble badass to motherhood. Becoming a mama of two is easier and harder in the same breath. I am more seasoned and more frazzled. I cry in frustration but quickly surrender to the chaos. When two children are crying, a crying mother doesn’t pacify the moment. Birthing was the easy part. Mothering is more challenging. I wonder where time goes. Sunrises melt into sunsets with the hours between a blur. I feel the tug of war between kairos and chronos time wondering why I can’t get more done, recognizing inevitable growth anyway.
Baby Charlie came Easter Sunday. In the days before she came, I resisted her arrival. I was scared and felt unprepared. Her bedding wasn’t washed. The car seats were not re-adjusted and installed. Despite nesting like a madwoman, I was emotionally not ready. I feared the pains and passage of laboring. I was scared of her coming in the middle of the night, or en route to the hospital after meeting a midwife who birthed her second child herself. During the full moon days before, I prayed for her to stay inside bargaining for another day. I promised to be ready by Easter.
I’m thankful labor started in the morning. I woke up and showered feeling mild contractions. I was calm and prepared. My bags were packed and the car seats were now installed. Her bassinet was ready, mirroring the Easter basket beside it. The soon-to-be-big brother ran next door to my in-laws where he relished in the last hours of being an only-child-prince at the party, especially with his cool aunts and uncles in town.
I did not shout or cry while laboring. Breathing and moaning through the contractions were easier than resisting them. I listened to a birth meditation CD on the drive to the hospital, inhaling deeply and visualizing the release of all pain. I arrived in active labor 45 minutes later, 4-5 cm dilated and progressing quickly.
I remained undecided about pain management until the pressure escalated. Half of me wanted to experience a natural birth, while the other part wanted the contractions to subside. My pain-free side won. I wish I had been stronger like the earthy midwife, but there were gifts for my humble badass-self in a painless labor too.
I created the birth mandala I had been obsessing over for weeks in just hours before Charlie arrived, moving from left brain control to right brain intuition in the process.
Aside from my blue-eyed baby girl(!!), the completion of this birth mandala was a precious gift and memory from labor. It was my focal point during the five minutes of pushing. Charlie came in 3 contractions. After the second, my OBGYN told me I might be the first woman he witnessed to have a painless labor if I pushed with all my might. Like a humble badass, I obliged. It was totally surreal how quickly she wanted to come into this world.
And two months later, Charlie’s favorite place to be is still this close to me. Initially frustrated when she did not take to the swing or stroller for some time to myself, I began to read her own needs. I allowed others to hold her realizing I’m not an octopus, borrowed a friend’s Moby wrap for kangaroo care, and gained a new appreciation for the phrase: it takes a village. I am so grateful for the moms who have come into my life the past few months. You have been my sanity and support and are totally humble badasses even on the days you may wish for a do-over. That’s the dose of humility in our badass ways. Choosing and creating this journey called motherhood one moment at a time…