I gave birth on a Monday morning as the sky exploded into colors so deep and bursting that I gasped when I saw it. I became a mother after chanting and walking in circles in my backyard as I moved through contractions. I became a mother after being in the shower and drinking a Gatorade. Survival brings many unexpected scenarios.
I was in labor, my baby was coming, and I was worried about people I hurt because of not including them in this moment. The people I said No to. I fought an inner battle of codependency that was having it out for the last time. It was a bloody tough fight. One of wanting-to-please, and wanting to include; of being kind and thoughtful over doing what I need.
This battle mirrored my labor. The fight was loud and intense, and all of it happened in the walls of my mind. When I no longer could hold the story and the points of view—the right and the wrong, I let it go. I gave it up so I could give birth.
I gave birth in a hospital with a birth tub that I did not like. So I got out.
I looked the labor and delivery nurse in the eyes, a woman I did not know and I mentally begged her for help. And in that moment, I received a surge of energy from her—she probably didn't even know. I held onto the metal labor bar that I never thought I'd use, and I sourced my strength with the cold of that metal and the fierceness of myself. I believed I was a warrioress.
Little did I know that mothers are made in surrender, not war.
I became a mother in downtown Los Angeles in a hospital. At the same time, I became a woman who no longer felt the need to sacrifice herself for other people
Mother/woman/wife/daughter. Who will I please? There is no way around it: I surrender on my knees with my heart open, all softness and imperfection and a baby in my arms. I am here and so is he. We merged, and the dance began. I am grateful.
Becoming a mother freed me from so much. And through it all, I stretch and I grow. I become it every day: the constant surrender, the softest strength, the river that carves a rock.
Happy Mother's day to all the mothers out there, and to anyone who celebrates motherhood.
photo: Michelle Gardella