Then and Now
Updated: Mar 21, 2020
Then I was a girl, a new mom still overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. My heart cracked open with a love so deep it scared me. Desperate to get it all right, I was uncertain how my ugly vulnerability fit in with being strong enough and good enough to be her mom.
A decade and 4 more kids later, I’m still waiting for a clear measure of success and more often than not, it’s messy. Daily, I find myself fighting a familiar spiral of shame, but I’ve noticed the million ways I fail are opportunities for growth. I’ve found a resilient woman at the other end of a decade: she’s not perfect, but strong enough to face whatever it is tomorrow will bring and in my book, that’s good enough.
Adversity and growth aren’t what I expected, but it’s good I didn’t know what was coming. I would have run fast and hard from a scene in the burn unit where a doctor warned me my child might not make it. I would have said I didn’t want to live out the chapters of babies I held in my womb and lost, most especially the boy I held in the palm of my hand. Time and again, I took that first step forward in the darkness towards hope to discover that brave isn’t something we ever feel in the moment. Also, courage might be what we gather in hindsight through a compassionate lens. While vulnerability was my birthplace of growth, I’ve learned to actively allow the experience of joy with as much fervor as I’ve fought the depths of despair.
And if you hold onto joy, you just might manifest a blessing beyond your wildest imagination.
So as I play the #thenandnow game, I hold my old self and every new mama with compassion. My defining moments of the past decade aren’t the bright shiny ones I expected. Instead, they are the moments I rose, and showed up with love despite my fear or found gratitude for the mess. By piecing my shattered expectations back together with enough courage to hold what’s both dark AND light, I wrote a brave new ending to the story I was living and behold the infinite depth of my strength: this is the bridge between the girl I was, the mother I’ve become, and the best possible self I’m still striving to be: this is WHOLE in Motherhood.