Seventeen years ago today I officially became a mom. It is the day my son, Kaleb, (after 25 hours of natural labor and childbirth,) entered into the world and took his first breath. Happy birthday to him, and happy birthing day to me!
Wow. What a ride we have had together. I love my kid’s birthdays… putting together presents and parties, and decorating their cake is my absolute favorite! (That I did get from my mom, thank you, Mom!) This will now be the 12th year I have celebrated Kaleb’s birth without him physically here. I still do something special to honor him. This year it’s making Halloween french toast for breakfast with his sister and brother and then I’m off to California for my girl’s trip to honor this day for me.
After losing a child, birthdays are hard. Just like the anniversary date for me, this is an extra sensitive time. A couple of years into the celebration of my son’s birth, a friend of mine told me that every year for his birthday he actually tries to call his mom before she calls him to wish her a happy birthing day and to thank her for giving him life. He told me, “This is your day as much as it is his. Happy Birthing Day!” This gave me such a beautiful perspective and ever since then, I have celebrated for both of us.
Being a mom, we have so many pressures put on us. We are expected to parent in a certain way, otherwise we are labeled as “bad moms.” The truth is, no matter what we do we are going to be judged. We give too much to our kids, we give too little. We have a career, so we are letting other people raise our kids. We stay at home with them, so we do nothing to add to society. Our house is too dirty, or too clean. We go out too much with our friends, we don’t go out enough. We wear yoga pants to the store, we spend too much time doing our makeup, we workout too much, we can’t lose that extra 5-10 pounds, we don’t sleep like we used to, we are too stressed, we are putting on a show, we are too involved with our kid’s lives, we aren’t involved enough….the list goes on and on, doesn’t it? Well, it’s time to stop that. Stop all of it. Once we have pushed a baby out of our vaginas or have had our stomachs cut open after carrying a live being inside of us for the good portion of a year, or have waited because we have not had this opportunity and feel we have been cheated out of this experience, until that adoption is approved, we have created a bond that no one understands except other moms. And guess what!? We all do it differently. We all are different women who have given birth to different babies. AND THAT IS OK!
Chances are, we are not all “doing it right” when it comes to raising our kids. Chances are we are going to mess up WAY more than we will ever even admit. The good news? We are all in this together. There is no need for judgement. I see it happening all the time. I see it happening to me. The solution? It all starts with you. Stop judging others, stop beating yourselves up. Start figuring out what it is that you need to do to become a better mom in your eyes and in your kid’s eyes.
I was given a great gift when I had to start celebrating my son’s birthday without him physically here. I was given the gift of learning how to heal. I put it on the back burner for many years. First, because in order for me to survive the first three years, I needed to dive into some very dark and gnarly places while searching out every opportunity there was for me to help others for me to heal through my pain. Even though I thought I was healing myself, what I was really doing was putting the focus outside of me and focusing on everyone else. Then I became a mom again, to my daughter, then four years later to my son, which, as we all know, becoming a mom again takes all the focus off of you.
Finally I learned that the greatest gift I could give my kids was to stop making them my life and start to truly be that example of what I want to teach them in this life. I discovered that my job as a mom to them was to stop feeling like I needed to do things a particular way in order to be giving them exactly what they needed. I needed to finish healing me. It was not easy, but once I did, I was able to gain a relationship with myself which in turn allowed me to define who and what I am as a mom. I created a new relationship of understanding, communication, teaching and even leadership with my children. I even created a new relationship with my first born son that is no longer physically with me, but has become so much more.
My birthday wish for Kaleb this year, is that we as mom start healing ourselves and trusting that we are worth so much, and do so much more than we give ourselves credit for. If you don’t feel like you are being the best you can be accept and love yourself right now for all the good you have done. You are amazing. Look at what you have been through. Now, my wish is the permission for you to stop sacrificing who YOU are and to take that scary first step of a long deep look inside yourself and find what you need to heal. (There are many dad’s out there that need to hear this too, however, there is something that women have because of this process that goes deeper than anyone can ever imagine.) So, fellow women, fellow mothers, I promise you, healing those wounds you have inside of you will give you the gift of become everything you want to be; to your children and to yourself. There will be no more need to worry about what the world thinks. You will realize that it is not about the world’s opinion of you are creating, but embracing the goddess within you to be the true creator of your world.