I’ve never felt more strong than when I was in labor with my first daughter.
It wasn’t when I was defending my Master’s thesis, or when I ran cross-country in high school. It wasn’t when I battled through LA heat and traffic as young woman just starting out, or when I hopped a plane to live abroad… for a year.
Nope. It was when I was having my baby.
Now, that’s not to say that I wasn’t also scared spitless. Because I was.
But the way my body kind of took over from this deep, visceral place, the way I (almost) made it through to the end without an epidural (come on, let’s be real. Drugs are nice!) – that, to me, was the strongest I’d ever felt. “Women have been having babies since the beginning of time” they say. And I felt a part of a long line of Mamas that day. I felt so women-strong it almost took my breath away. When the midwife who delivered my precious girl told me, “For your first one, laboring mostly at home, you get an A+, girl!” I felt like that was the most important grade I’d receive in my entire life.
I never wanted to be a “Soccer Mom.” Who wants to wear ugly mom-jeans and have baby spit-up on their shoulders? “Yeah, sign me up for that!” said no one ever! And I do wear cute yoga pants, and my babies, like all babies, did spit up some…
But, that strength of being a Mama to my two girls (ages 4 and 2) didn’t end with my labor and delivery. Holding those two precious girls in the hospital was the easy part.
The hard part is definitely loving them with a fierce love that would go all Mama-Bear If anyone tried to hurt them, or when they themselves make bad choices and I have to discipline them. They say that having kids is like having pieces of your heart walking around outside your body. I can relate to that. That’s the hardest part, when I have to find a daily strength to continue to love these little people.
But it’s oh-so-worth it, y’all. Spit-up and all. Mama-hood is fierce, and raging, and wonderful. It’s beautiful and hard and oh-so-worth-it.
If you’re close to your mom, go hug/call her right now. And if you’re not, find a Mama-like friend and tell her you love her.
Happy Mother’s Day, to all those Women-Strong Mamas out there! We can do this. A+ for you too.
-LAURA DICKENSON (Director of Clarity Solutions, lover of travel and good pie, and mama-extraordinaire)