I was born to be a mama. Even at age three, look how I cradled my doll and held her hand.
I'm also a person who has to find my own way in everything I do. My own mother, who had me at age 21 in 1978, courageously breastfed, cloth-diapered, and homeschooled us when those things were not "being done." As I child, I was kind of embarrassed of these things. Everyone else was using those disposable bottle liners with those huge playtex bottle nipples. Everyone else was using those heavily-perfumed disposable diapers. Everyone else was going to school.
I thought I would do things so differently when I had my own children. Sometimes you try to look backward and connect the dots about how you got to where you are now. When I try to do this with my parenting journey, I think one of the most influential things was my Suzuki training (which I did before I was a mama). There were many other influences, of course, but this was the first thing that led me to a place of gentle parenting. Of course, where my own parents had been all along.
Here are Elisabeth and I after her birth. She was born at 2am in a hospital. Her birth was the most powerful -- and disappointing -- experience of my life. Sure, it was the "ideal" hospital birth: fast labor (3 1/2 hours), hospital midwife, doula, no epidural, no episiotomy, no IV, big (8 lb. 4 oz.) healthy baby. But it was a fearful, empty experience. I have made peace with this birth (after some expensive therapy), and I now acknowledge that, for whatever reason, this was the first lesson that I needed to learn as a mama, and it was also the way in which Elisabeth needed to enter this world.
Here are James and I on the day he was born. In some ways, his birth was similar to Elisabeth's: intense, very fast labor (60 minutes), big (9 lb. 2 oz.) baby. Certainly both babies came after what I would describe as difficult pregnancies. But in the four years between the two of them, I had learned a lot about myself, and I knew I wanted more with my next birth. So James was born at home. His birth was truly a beautiful, spiritual, and confident one. I think of it as the "closure" to my first birth.
Motherhood, like nothing else in my life, magnifies my flaws. But it also challenges and strengthens me to overcome them like nothing else ever could. Despite the many, many challenges our daily lives present, I know that I am doing what I was meant to do. I found my calling in motherhood.