Hey beautiful friends! Welcome to the adventure. I am so incredibly honored to explore life with (and speak life into) you! My prayer is that this is another post full of exploration tinged with hope.
A few years ago, I wrote about bed rest with my Wild one. I was 31 weeks gestation when early labor terminated our adventures out in the world. And while I struggled deeply during that time, I also grew. I’ve been reflecting on this a lot lately, as I dig into supporting the postpartum and special parenting community that I know and love.
Let’s walk sideways together for a moment. Yes. Thanks to Kindergarten, an incredible support team for Wild, and melanoma being way far in the back of my mind most days, I get to re-enter the world locally and online. I’ve missed being face-to-face with my tribe! I’m also so, so honored to be raising this child. The Lord still provides. Even when life isn’t always easy. I hope you’ll believe it and receive it with me today!
Back to growth. As I reflect on the last almost-six years raising our daughter, who does life with an anxiety disorder and sensory integration challenges, I want to share something that I wrote in the midst of one of our many seasons of crisis. I get to re-witness my personal growth sometimes. (I hope you write some things down somewhere so that you can witness yours, too!)
When I gave birth to this baby, I realized how very disconnected I had been from my first…
Regrets? I have none. But I do have so much empathy for the woman I was. The woman who didn’t know what motherhood could be – who had no idea that she could fall madly in love with a child at first sight. Oh, how I fell in love with my Bliss at first sight!
In our short time together, Bliss has taught me gratitude. She has taught me big, scary love. She has taught me patience and kindness and loving-awareness and simplicity and balance. Bliss has taught me connection and reconnection and bravery and that it’s okay to not text back right away (life doesn’t stop) and that you can actually give birth to one of your very best friends… And we’ve only been together 4 years.
It feels simultaneously absurd and authentic to write this… but I can’t wait for the next four and the next four and the next forty. A mother’s job isn’t to raise her young and walk away – but to counsel the next generation in her wisdom as she grows old. This season is just the beginning of something beautiful. Today, I get to walk alongside moms who have experienced chunks of life that have look like my chunks. But there will come a tomorrow when I will get to walk alongside my Bliss, teach her what she has unknowingly taught me.
While these seem like the words of a stable mom, these words were actually written because I had awful boundaries. Interesting, right? I wrote some seriously profound statements. Yet, I felt all she felt. Because I wrote this, I can read between the lines and see things that you might not. I can see that I was teetering on the edge of the meltdown of 2017. The one that came before melanoma, oddly enough! My identity was in whether Bliss was thriving – or (most often) not. I feel each of these words so differently today. With joyful expectancy in the growing relationship I have with her – and also the realistic understanding that I only control my side of the fence. I still get to pour into this little person in unlimited increments of time thanks to my chosen career path. And also, I have others who will coach, counsel, encourage, and guide her too. I am no longer her “be all and end all”. I’ve handed so many of her needs out to the world. The world has responded with glee (she’s a pretty incredible human to be around).
In concluding our time here together today, I want to encourage you to write things down – somewhere, somehow – so that you, too can see your growth as you move from season to season. As you read through old entries, I’ll encourage you to ask questions of yourself: Are you really growing? Are you increasing in your stability day-by-day? Are you in a good spot already? Are your boundaries intact – as in you have feelings apart from the ones of your child? Are you living a better life (on the inside) than you were this time last year? Do you need a heart check?
Oh if you could see the self-and-other bettering work I have done these last few years! It is incredibly healing to hand over your identity to Christ – and thoughtful persons who will remind you regularly of what stability can look like.
Pause. Reflect. Grow.
As always, I’d love to hear from you – and I’m cheering you on.