Saturday, April 23, 2016

to give and give again.

Next week, my tiny baby turns six months old. And next week, I will post a few little highlights about her sixth month and some pictures of what we've been up to just like I do every month. But this week, I'm taking the time to marvel at how much my life has changed in six months.

I think about myself six months ago, swollen and pregnant, complaining about how little sleep I was getting (HAHAHA) and feeling full of nervous anticipation. I knew nothing then. I thought I knew things, but I had no idea. Six months ago, I knew nothing about sleep deprivation and post-partum hormones and Caesarian recovery. I didn't know the terror of walking out of the hospital and into the bright sunshine with a newborn baby and the profound feeling of uncertainty that I would feel surrounding almost every decision in those first sleepless weeks. I didn’t know what it felt like to keep another human being alive. I didn't know anything at all really. And I still don't know everything.

But I do know a few things. I know that motherhood is the refining fire that is making me a better person. 

I know there are moments in the last six months where I can almost see the selfishness being peeled off me, reluctantly and uncomfortably. I know now that underneath those layers of my old self that I keep clinging to is a woman made more whole by the act of giving.

And I know that motherhood is just a million acts of giving strung together. Giving over and over and over again, and giving in so many ways that no one but me will ever see, to this person who gives almost nothing back.

Every time I think I've come to the end of how much I can give, how much I can nurse, how many times I can clean spit up, how little I can sleep, how many times I can comfort her in the night, I keep thinking, "I'm so tired, I'm so spent. This is it. I will fall apart if she reaches for me even one more time." And then she does. She reaches for me again. And in the space where I decide to respond instead of holding back, when I decide to give to her instead of holding on to myself, when I choose selflessness even when I'm exhausted and so over it and spent and I honestly do not want to give anymore; in that space, I've become a mother. 

In that space, I have turn to face Jesus with tears in my eyes to ask for the strength to give again, and it's a painful process usually. Giving is hard, especially when you're tired. But the result is the paradox of motherhood which is to be emptied and filled in the most profound way and it's beautiful. 

I don't know everything, but I do know I've come a long way in six months and I'm a gentler, more compassionate, more honest and selfless person than I was six months ago. And I know there's still a lot to know. Here't to the next six months and all the spaces in between. 

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