By Jessica Johnston
This weekend I got to experience magic. One of my best friends invited me and a few others to be there for the birth of her first baby. I’ve never seen birth—except my own.
It was magic. Birth is magic. It is terrible, it is messy and it is brilliant. After 24 hours of hard labor and zero results, my friend had gotten a epidural. She cracked jokes as she nibbled graham crackers between pushing contractions. What a bad ass. She was so strong and so powerful…I have never seen her so beautiful. Her husband stroked her head and held her hand as she used all her strength to bring new life into the world.
We cheered her on like it was the World Cup. At one point we offered to leave the room and the midwife looked at us intently, “No, she needs you—she pushes harder when you encourage her.”
“This is how it used to be,” she said. “Women gathered, supporting each other during birth.”
As she gave the final push, Flora Milo became, and I watched her dear parents also become. They will never be the same. We all burst into tears as this tiny being was placed on Allie’s chest. Magic. Blood, sweat and tears had brought them to this moment. Crushed hearts, tragic loss, health battles and doctors that said this moment would never happen…yet here they are.
And here is this baby who says I beg to differ.
And we cry, because magic.
As I held this precious one, I thought of my own babes when they were brand new earth-side…and my heart hurt. I remember the magic. I remember the simplicity of eat, sleep, eat, sleep.
That night I was looking for pictures, and I came across Facebook posts from two and three years ago. My heart sank. Their precious tiny faces. Oh how I miss it! How’d it go by so quickly? The moment didn’t seem special when I was in it. It seemed stressful and hectic. It seemed like something to survive until everyone was finally in their beds, fast asleep.
I was disturbed by the regret that gripped my heart. What was I worried about then? I was worried about my pant size and whether Scout would ever stop throwing tantrums. I was worried about the budget and whether or not my floor was clean. I was worried about me.
How am I ever going to stop worrying so much about me??
I have somehow misplaced this magic. This magic that lives and breathes and wakes up in my house every morning.
Haven with her big hair and puffy eyes. She sometimes is cute, other times she growls in response to our cheer with clenched fists and an arched neck. Her eyes say DO NOT SPEAK THESE GOOD MORNING words to me.
It will get better when you can have coffee dear-heart, hang in there.
Magic is the smell of Oaklee after a bath. It is all of us dancing in the living room to Shakira and Robin Thicke after movie night. Magic is when Haven sings to Bob the cat about how she wasn’t trying to hurt him. It is Scout crying because Malachi got in trouble. It is that four kids ask to have sleepovers together on their bedroom floor.
There is magic happening all around me every day…why do I miss it?
Sometimes there is no coffee strong enough. Sometimes I look inside my bottom fridge drawer and witness things a person can never un-see. Sometimes it’s the whining and the bickering and it’s the constant of eat, clean, eat, clean. Sometimes it’s that life is painful and it feels like it is closing in from every side.
It’s the constant, persistent, wondering if I am doing this. all. wrong.
It’s the wondering if I can really raise these children into the incredible adults I know they can be. Will they be kind? Will they be strong? Will they be healthy?
I think about my friend giving birth.
Could it be that the process and pain of labor isn’t really over? Our mother hearts are in the wringer daily. With each transition and every stage of growth—our minds often scream, “I CANNOT DO THIS.”
And we lose the magic…
for good reason.
Because it is damn. hard.
Birth isn’t that magical when you’re doing it. It is a lot more like pain and really really hard work.
But, we are not doing it alone. We are a sisterhood. A sisterhood of flawed mothers doing our very best.
So my friend, wherever you are at, and whatever your story,
As one flawed mama to another,
I want to take your hand and say LISTEN TO ME. YOU ARE A BAD ASS. You are DOING IT!! This is HARD, but you are CAPABLE. Look at the amazing children you are raising…WOW! Look at how STRONG you are…
Because we can most definitely, certainly do it better together.
Mama, YOU are INCREDIBLE. Look at you.
Childhood is magic. It is terrible, it is messy, it is brilliant.
Lets cheer each other on like it’s the World Cup.
About the Author: Jessica Johnston, her husband and her four kids (Malachi 8, Scout 6, Oaklee 4, Haven 2) live in the heart of Montana. She’s passionate about community, adventure, family and KEEPIN’ IT REAL in the process. Her writing has appeared on Mother.ly and Scary Mommy. She loves sharing laughs with you at wonderoak.com. You can follow her there, or “like” her page on Facebook’s WONDEROAK Blog or Instagram.