Ever since I first started reading blogs all these many years ago...I have wanted to share my birth/pregnancy story as I have witnessed so many other women do. Now that Tara just turned 4 and I am filled with nostalgia and sadness at the passing of time...I though it would be the perfect time.
I had a difficult pregnancy in so many ways...extreme nausea throughout. Who came up with the term "morning" sickness??? I mean...I was green the entire time!! This is one of the few pics I took while I was pregnant...it is one of my deepest regrets that I didn't take more (Tara loves looking at them and squeals in delight when I tell her she was in my belly!). Also... I had no support at all. Of course Tim was there with me throughout my pregnancy...my rock. He came with me to every single medical appointment, went on my daily walks and did everything he could to pamper me. I remember once, through a particular difficult time, Tim pinned up an ultrasound pic of Tara by my bedside to encourage me. But still...I had no female support or community; no familial support. I did have a few good friends who would sent me e-mails to cheer me up or make me laugh...I cherished them! This was waaaaay before I started my blog.
So here I was...I couldn't paint because of the toxicity of the materials, sick all the time and very much isolated. I read, filled up sketchbooks with drawings, started scrapbooking and exercised right up until a week before I gave birth. I was terrified!! Of labor, of the health of my baby (I was 40!!), about whether I would be a good mom...about everything! I was nauseated... 24 hours a day from the time I found out I was pregnant pretty much through my 6th month. I'll skip the gruesome details. I gained so much weight...my knees got fat! I was hormonal...everything made me cry. I was so vulnerable....all my defenses were stripped away. I also had some very negative energy in my life...it was hurtful and draining...but absolutely necessary for what was to follow. I didn't know it at the time...but my entire being was preparing to birth this beautiful soul; my sweet girl. Did I mention I was terrified???And the last month I was pregnant...all I dreamt about was cheesecake!! It's true!
As difficult as my pregnancy was-my labor was relatively easy. I was up and walking around the very next day, can you believe? Also... a fact of life: an epidural is a girl's best friend:) Just saying!!
(Tara-just a few weeks old)
As soon as I first set eyes on Tara...she conquered me. Absolutely. In truth...I don't ever remember her being this tiny. All those first weeks and months were an absolute blur of no sleep, breastfeeding, long walks with Tara snuggled in my Moby wrap and...falling head over heels in love with this tiny person. My entire life revolved around her...every waking moment was spent doting on her and I carried her all the time. I couldn't imagine a time when she didn't exist in our lives. All my doubts and anxieties slipped away and I realized really fast that I had to be present for my family...for my daughter. Somehow...the alchemical combination of turning 40 and giving birth all in the same month completely changed me...forged me into steel and opened me up to vulnerability all at once. The truly important things came into sharp focus. Defenses I had spent my lifetime building up...just crumbled to dust overnight. In it's place...I gathered mySELF.
(Tara -4 months old)In truth...Tara birthed me as much as I birthed her; motherhood transformed me into an entirely different person. When she was 9 months old, Tim encouraged me to start painting again by turning our guest bedroom into my studio. Then a few months later I started my blog...I had no idea what I was doing! But all of these things...motherhood, marriage, painting, blogging, community...they all strengthened me and propelled me on my way. Into the light. I gathered up my courage and made some difficult choices. I put one step in front of the other...not knowing the destination but certain I was on the right path.
(just last week)
Now...my sweet birdie is growing up and going out into the world bit by bit. Her teacher, her friends, learning...they are slowly taking up more and more space in her life. And it makes me sad for those days when I had her entirely to myself...but happy and proud, too, to see her walk down her own path. And she is curious, full of sass and smiles...and can we say bossy??? But totally charming and full of heart + life + drama + girly pink sparkles.
(into the light, mixed media on archival paper)
And now we walk forward...into the light.