Last year I decided to rewrite my birth story (I never know whether to call it Henry's or mine--we'll go with our) one year after having given birth. I wanted to recount it without looking at my original story to see how my perspective had changed in a year.
I hadn't decided whether or not I was going to do it every year, but I now see why my mom would tell our birth story every year. I used to think, "I know it already," but what I didn't realize was that she was reliving it herself. It was her birth story as much as the story of my birthday. It is a day she will never forget. It is one that she wants to retell and retell so that she doesn't forget it. At least that's how I feel. I worry that the details will get fuzzy overtime. I worry that I'll forget the way I felt the instant Henry was placed on my chest. His warmth, my love, the joy of holding my baby in my arms. The feeling that I didn't ever want him to be taken away from me.
Two years later it feels much more distant. It feels so long ago that I was pregnant and went into labor. Last year I felt like I was reliving every moment on a physical and hormonal level. This year it feels more in my head like a distant memory. When I see people with newborns, I'm reminded that I don't have one. My newborn is long gone. He's grown into a toddler, a beautiful little boy even. In so many ways, he's still the tiny infant who was placed on my chest that evening, but in so many ways he's blossomed into a person whom I love even more than that baby boy.
Nothing can quite prepare you for pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. It's been such a journey for me. One that at times I didn't know that I was equipped for, but one that I trusted would turn out okay. And how it has. It's not over, thank goodness. It is a journey I will forever walk. One I'm so proud of myself for having the courage to venture upon. One I can look back on and see how far I've come.
So, while I've decided not to rewrite my birth story this year, I will appreciate it. I will appreciate my body for all it did to grow and birth my baby. I will appreciate my body for all it's done to nurture and nourish him since. And, I will appreciate myself for being a mother every day. For being a mother when it felt impossible and in the moments when I was overcome with joy. One thing I do know is that labor is a beautiful metaphor for motherhood. The difficulty, the pain, the fear, the emotions, the highs, the ecstasy, the love. It's all there. And, the love. Love beyond love. Love that only grows with time. Love that I don't know how it can possibly get bigger, but I know it must, because as much as I love him the first time I held him, I love him even more today.