I remember the moment that parenting slapped me in the face.
I mean that in the nicest possible way.
The moment that defined me as a mother. That moment that screamed to me: “This journey will be raw and full of emotion! Hang on!”
Barely sitting on the edge of my wrinkled, messy bed, a drop of sweat landed on my lip. I tasted the salt at the same moment my right shoulder spasmed through a deep ache, new to me since becoming a mother six weeks prior to that moment. Every piece of my body ached in ways I didn’t know possible. My nipples raw and cracked stung with every suck from my sweet child. I never knew my body could ache in this way, in these parts only awoken by birth and breastfeeding.
“for there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.” ~ Milan Kundera
I held my infant close to my chest as the rest of my body crumpled arching over his small body. I smelled my own body odor from choosing my baby over my body. My bladder ached from fullness. Then I weeped so hard my body shook and my tears gently rolled onto the blanket keeping my baby safe and warm. “This is my life,” I thought to myself. I felt I had lost every ounce of control over my life. It took me a long time to recover from that moment.
That moment told me parenting would be hard and would be my greatest teacher. Parenting develops will and shakes emotions that conflict with one another on a daily basis. Since that moment over six years ago, I have read, I have written, I have reflected, I have cried, I have talked, I have listened, I have sought help, I have been sought, I have been kicked down, I have stood tall, I have held, I have been held. I have lived every moment with open arms and an open heart.
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