Yesterday morning I gathered with a group of mothers to share stories of courage. We were also invited to share an object that represents courage to us to be placed on an altar created for our Waldorf school’s Michaelmas festival. I brought a small, ceramic mother and child.
My story centered on the courage needed to be a mother. For me, even the becoming, especially the becoming, took so much courage. My first child’s birth was an unexpected c-section and our time in the hospital was traumatic. I only just recently admitted the depth of my depression that first year as a mother. I felt broken open and lost. I slowly had to rediscover myself and I feel that process is still happening nearly 11 years later.
My VBAC preparation for my second child’s birth was as much the difficult inner work I had to do to face my fears as the challenges in finding care providers who would support me on this journey. It was a path of deep healing from my first child’s birth and a recognition of the trauma that my mother and grandmothers also endured in birth. And a hope that there was a different way. My planned birth center VBAC became an unexpected home birth. There was fear of my birth plan once again being radically changed but I was surrounded by people who whispered messages of courage into my ear.
We planned a home birth for my third child. And once again I was asked to have courage to allow life to play out not according to my plan. Labor was so quick that my daughter was born before my midwife could arrive. My husband, two friends and sleeping boys were there as she slipped into the world.
I continue to call on this courage in mothering. Courage to let go of my plans and allow the lives of my children to unfold in their own way. Courage to recognize when I don’t have the answers and to let others help support me as a mother. Courage to witness my children struggle. Courage to witness my own struggle. Courage to try again tomorrow.
“Motherhood is always an act of courage.”
– Stacy Schiff