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Becoming Mothers: My Birthing Epiphany–It’s All About Letting Go! Seriously!!!

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My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for about a year. We decided to shift gears and do some home remodeling since the baby thing didn’t seem to be happening. We ordered new windows, hardwood floors, and “rice paper” white carpet and, of course, promptly discovered I was pregnant. We let go of our expectations and then, surprise!

I loved being pregnant, had very little nausea – really, like twice, and my biggest complaint was how large my mammary glands, aka breasts, became. For a while they extended farther than my belly. I let go of the image I had of my body and practiced accepting the beautiful body of motherhood.

We were absolutely certain we were having a girl and had a name all ready. Then, of course, we found out we were having a boy. We let go of that little girl idea, came up with a fabulous boy name, and shifted our gears into little boy land. More letting go. This wasn’t really too much of a leap, as we had spent lots of time caring for our nephew/practice child when he was young as well as the years I’d spent doing child care for, hmmm, primarily boys. The universe had been preparing me to have a son without me even realizing it.

My husband and I had been together for nine years, so having a baby was a big change. Letting go of being a twosome and moving into being a threesome. We were so excited, but also uncertain about what to expect.

Then came the birth of our sweet little boy. (It’s a long and funny story that includes me freaking out a passing stranger, inadvertently clocking a nurse, and sucking on a lemon jolly rancher for two hours while zonked out by Demerol at the end of a 24 hour back labor adventure, but those details are another post. ☺) His head was crowning, I was pushing, and the epiphany hit me – this whole thing is about letting go! All of it – motherhood, giving birth, death, and everything in between!

The physical act of giving birth forced me to let go of this baby I had been holding onto for nine months. I realized that for the rest of my life I was going to have to practice letting go of my sweet little boy over and over again.

At that moment I decided I would try to acknowledge each little step of independence as a little letting go. My theory was – and still is – that if I recognized this process along the way, I wouldn’t be such a mess when he left for college. It’s working pretty well so far, although sometimes he, and the universe, push the envelope a bit more than I’d like.

Letting go is the practice of life. Being a mother has made that clear to me on a daily basis. And the bonus is that when I let go, I find I have so much more than I did before.

Lisa Vratny-Smith is the mom of two big brained boys who wears many hats including editor of MHM’s Mama Drama column, school social worker, and yoga teacher. She loves exploring the life lessons motherhood brings and supporting other moms along the way. Read more of her parenting insights on her Laughing Yoga Mama blog.

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  • comment avatar Amber Johnson May 3, 2012

    Beautiful sentiments, Lisa. You had early insights into the value of letting go…it took a lot of us a lot longer to figure that out!

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson May 3, 2012

    Oh, and I want to hear more about freaking out on a stranger and clocking a nurse. 🙂

  • comment avatar Jaime Swartzendruber May 3, 2012

    I’m still learning that lesson, daily!

  • comment avatar Suzanne Bastien May 3, 2012

    Yes, when they hit high school it’s a whole new “letting go”. It’s a wonderful journey.

  • comment avatar Heather May 3, 2012

    A suitable mommy manta: letting go! Lovely story Lisa. And do make good on your teaser of telling the clocking a nurse story!

  • comment avatar Lori Lavender Luz May 3, 2012

    So beautifully put. I’ll be thinking about letting go each time my kids do something new now. It’s so strange to face releasing them into the world, but it’s inevitable, eh?

    Lovely story. And I’m with Amber — more on the other stories!

  • comment avatar Lisa Vratny-Smith May 3, 2012

    Thank you all. The letting go is a daily practice, but so worth it and yes, Lori, inevitable. 🙂

    As for the rest of the story…I started out writing those details and ended up telling this part of the story instead. Plus, I couldn’t fit all the craziness into one post with that 500 word limit!

    Here’s a sneak peak for a future post…the stranger freaked out and started yelling for a wheelchair as I was walking into the doctor’s office (with my doula) stopping every few feet to bend over for contractions. My husband, on the other hand, zoomed right past us without even noticing as he was so intent on getting me checked in. 🙂

    As for the nurse…Planning on a natural birth, I had requested no medication just a hot bath or shower to relieve the pain. Unfortunately the best they could do at the hospital was luke warm which not the least bit helpful. After 22 hours of labor those last few centimeters would not open up and I was exhausted. Knowing that I could not relax in that state without the hot water, I asked for Demerol. I tried to get them to give me a half dose, but the cranky nurse said it wouldn’t do anything. As she tried to put the IV in a huge contraction came and I threw myself forward to relieve the pressure from that bull elephant slamming into my back. Apparently, (I don’t recall this but my husband swears it’s true) I clocked the nurse as I flung myself forward. As I said she was cranky, so maybe it was subconsciously intentional. ☺

  • comment avatar Daria May 4, 2012

    So true… it is a ton about letting go.

  • comment avatar JoAnn May 4, 2012

    What a great story, Lisa!

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