the awakening

by willeya

it was one year ago this week that ben and i found out that we were unexpectedly pregnant.  it was early morning and ben was going for a run while i decided to take the last pregnancy test in the box. i remember chasing ben out of the house with my pants around my ankles yelling, “wait! don’t go! wait! you have to come here!”  and then we sat together on our couch, ben holding his head in his hands and me trying to sit in his lap for some sort of comfort.  both feeling like our life was over.

my belief that when a woman has a baby she loses herself began in high school english class. we read the book “the awakening” by kate chopin.  the story is the process of a woman being liberated to throw off thoughts, behaviors, and motivations that were not truly her own.  a coming back to herself, if you will.  one burden, however, that she had trouble totally escaping were her husband and children.  instead of spending a life of losing her personhood in her family, the book ends with her walking into the ocean to her death (don’t worry, mom, i promise that’s not why we moved to the east coast).  this story spoke to my little high schooler heart that death itself was more spacious than the steel cage of motherhood.  you can see why i was so sad at our baby news :).

But since having atticus, i would describe my life as more of an awakening than a death.  a coming back to myself.  it has been awhile since i have felt joy in my spirit, flowing unforced and rampant.  but lately i have – lately the deepest, truest parts of me are finding expression in the dailiness of life.

i’m not quite sure what it is about being a mother that is connecting me to myself – even the parts that have nothing to do with atticus.  i know part of it is that when i see his blue (turning brown) eyes search my face, leaving no freckle unstudied, i get a fire in my belly that he find a mama who is at HOME WITH HERSELF and able to lead him down the same path of security.   A lot of it is that i now view play dates, being outside, and fascination with simple things (a blade of grass is so green and smooth!) as part of my daily job desription.  and most definitely it is MORNINGS WITH THE LORD AT HOME that i am getting and have not had for years.  i have this invisible bucket of needs and aches that i bring to him each morning and his presence CENTERS me for the day.

but all this to say, i am reflective today.  i have borne the son that caused so much panic a year ago this week. instead of walking into the ocean to liberate myself, i find that motherhood has helped to return lost parts of me to me.  thank you God for this unexpected person in our lives.

how bout you, mama friends?  how has being a mother helped to enhance your personhood?  how do you keep from being an empty mama?



ps.  a pic of the man of the hour.  being the most mellow baby i have ever encountered, he normally hates tummy time (that takes work!).  but if i stick a book under his nose he can stand the exertion a few more seconds.