“The most difficult part of birth is the first year afterwards. It is the year of travail – when the soul of a woman must birth the mother inside her. The emotional labour pains of becoming a mother are far greater than the physical pangs of birth; these are the growing surges of your heart as it pushes out selfishness and fear and makes room for sacrifice and love. It is a private and silent birth of the soul, but it is no less holy than the event of childbirth, perhaps it is even more sacred.” – Joy Kusek
Being a mama is hard. Being a mama is frightening. I love my son so much and so many of my moments with him are immeasurably precious. But I have always valued self care — my time alone. I value my time with my husband. I value time with friends. But it seems that there aren’t enough minutes — seconds even — in the day to honor each one of these very important parts of my life.
People told me before Finnegan was born that motherhood was a path to holiness. It’s not that I didn’t believe them, it’s that it wasn’t until the moment he was born I completely got it. From the moment he slid from womb to world, he has consumed my thoughts and prayers, often in spite of my best efforts. In this way, every minute of my day has become a test — him or me, him or my husband, him or anything else I can fill my mind with.
Continuously putting someone before myself is painful. I often wonder what of it is instinctual and what is rooted in cold, shivering fear. I wonder what threads woven through my cloth make me mama material (sometimes I wonder if there are any) and in what ways I will never be the mama that I want for my son because I will never unbury myself from underneath one hang up or another. I have opted to make Finnegan my decision. He is my answer. If I am not sure what is right, I ere on the side of serving my son. I can’t not put Finnegan before all things — myself, and yes, even my husband — because I’m so afraid of failing at this very important task. I think that this fear stems mostly from a terribly painful love, but it puts me in a precarious situation where I feel as though everything else but this single pillar, the pillar of motherhood, will be completely destroyed and come crashing down around me and it is all I will have left.