I have never been as old as I am right now. It sounds profound, but it really isn’t. It’s true for all of us. What stands out for me about my current age is that 40 was a goal my mother never met. You see, my mother was 38 when she succumbed to her cancer.
My mother’s life and death at an early age had a profound impact on me. Obviously, yes, but not in the way you might expect. Hindsight is illuminating. What it shows is that I have always been on this path. I just didn’t know it.
When people ask me how I started my business, Shining Light Prenatal Education, I have a true, but incomplete response.
I tell people it was because I had a c-section with my son, instead of the hippies-and-flowers natural birth I wanted.
I tell them it was because I was a stay-at-home mom and I was going stir crazy.
I tell them it was because my prenatal yoga students needed more from me than I could provide as a yoga instructor.
I tell them that the need for my work grew because of the demand of the mothers whom I served.
These are all true, yet incomplete statements.
The truth is that I am selfish. My work isn’t wholly altruistic.
My mother’s cancer, and subsequent death, left a hole inside of me. I became a mother without having my own mother to guide me. My lack was acute on my son’s second day of life as I sat alone in my hospital room and cried, huge racking, ugly, sobbing tears because it was the anniversary of my mother’s death. I hadn’t felt her loss that deeply since her funeral many years before. The hole grew that day.
I fill that hole piece by piece with each mother I help with my work. This is my selfishness. This is what I take from the mothers who are in my care. I take a bit of their joy, their apprehension, their love for their babies and I squirrel it away in the hole left by my own mother’s death.
The problem is that the hole can never fill; it only changes depth and dimension.
During her years with cancer, my mother lived by her goal setting. She’d set goals months or years in the future and meet them with joy and accomplishment. The last goal she met was my Bat Mitzvah. Her next goal was her 40th birthday, which she did not make.
As I meet my 40th birthday, it is not only my own milestone, but it is hers as well. My goal is to claim my authenticity. That word, authenticity, gets a lot of lip service in my circles. Yet, what it really means is not hiding, not curbing my identity to avoid offending someone. It means telling my truth and living the Truth.
My truth now is that motherhood is awful and wonderful all at once. It’s beautiful and ugly; joyous and depressing.
Dear reader, thanks for being present and paying attention. This blog is so much more than birth history and antique medical tools. This blog allows the stark reality of motherhood to peek through and illuminate the path, not just in hindsight but onward into the future as well. We are all more than we appear to be. Keep watching. Stay present and you’ll see.
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