This year has been really hard and very different, to say the least. It’s been a far cry from previous years and the shifts in our communities have put a big spotlight on the amount of time and energy that goes into motherhood.
It’s pushed many of us to our absolute limits by stripping our families of their support systems. It's made many of us make gut-wrenching, life-changing decisions.
Whether you are pregnant, living life with a newborn baby or you have small children, the physical community that maintains the regulation of our society has largely evaporated.
I know it’s been really hard. I am here to put a big old mirror up and say, “look at what you did! You did it!” You have navigated an enormous amount in the middle of a global pandemic. I say this because, if you’re like me, I’ve often been focusing on what I haven’t been able to get done - and believe me, that list is a long one.
It has felt defeating and humbling, much more so than usual. Instead of that mindset, let’s take a step back to think about the context we are living in and what each one of us has accomplished.
We have cared for tiny humans, grown humans with our bodies, birthed them, nurtured them, fed them, cleaned them, held them, shown up for them and helped them process all the changes around them.
We have supported fellow mothers; bolstering each other with words of encouragement, a virtual shoulder to lean on and guidance in an uncertain time. I've had the privilege of seeing many of you provide this beautiful, strong sense of community support to one another in our Mamas Circles every week.
We've navigated changing relationship dynamics, new family roles, grief & loss and so much more.
We have slowed down the pace and schedules of our lives while also having a lot more on our plate. Perhaps we have dropped some things that normally we would have spent time and energy on that, when push comes to shove, we just cannot do right now.
In a very roundabout way, these are gifts being given to us. The pressure to choose how we spend our time is also the gift of making those choices and living differently. Adjusting our priorities and family’s needs is not easy. This year has been anything but easy. It has included enormous sadness, fear, grief, despair, depression, anxiety and hopelessness.
I am here to tell you that you have made it in spite of all that. You deserve a big hug, a long bath and frankly, whatever you want! You are each a beacon of love and warmth for your families, friends and communities and you have kept your families going through every day of this not just because you’ve had to, but because you’ve believed you can.
I think of the moment in labor when a birthing person will say out loud, “I cannot do this!” This moment usually occurs close to the very pinnacle of labor, just before a baby is born. That is the moment that many of us have faced this year. The feeling that we cannot do this and then, against all odds, each of you has reached inward and done it.
You are amazing! Happy New Year.
Thoughts on pregnancy, birth and motherhood.