ORIGINALLY POSTED: February 18, 2010
My baby boy just turned three and my baby girl will be six soon. Every year since I became a mother, this is a tough time. I love planning the birthdays: the cakes, the venue, the decorations and all, but their birthdays are a reminder that their birth days were really quite terrible days in every way except that I became their mother that day. I didn’t really realize how important it was to me until my daughter said she’d rather just have a friend over – I felt the anxiety well up in me at the thought of not having the ‘party’ project to distract me.
I envy, deeply, mothers who can tell those great birth stories – home births, water births, hospital births, heck, even c-sections. Details don’t matter so much as that they remember it with joy that they can recount it for their children. I know they are not fairy tales, but they feel that way to me sometimes and I am sad that I have none of these to share.
Both kids were born among waves of illness and fear and dread with none of the things I had wished for them or myself. It’s hard to tell the story of the good parts without explaining just how terrible the bad parts were. My midwives were my nervous system when I couldn’t process any more, my handrails on the brink of total collapse. Their father was my rock, my enforcer, his hands like a giant’s around their tiny bodies. My tiny little red birds who worked so hard to make me be their mother, rewarding us with thriving rounded cheeks and a house filled with giggles.
It’s a happy ending story that has its heroes and someday I know I’ll figure out a way to tell that to them. For them. I just don’t know how long it takes. If you don’t have a happy story to tell, you can still have the happy ending and that the sad parts of the story do get less important as the happy parts get bigger. I know they do – and hopefully someday, I won’t need to even look for distractions anymore.
But, for now, I’ll bury it in buttercream and ball pits and… Face painting anyone?