Ten years ago today I gave birth for the first time. I was both terrified and elated...a shared experience by most birthing mamas I would assume. This blossoming being inside of me was head-butting my sciatic nerve in an attempt to find her way through the small canal that would serve as her entry point into the world of opportunities awaiting her. I was doing my all to breathe her out but tensing up to avoid the feeling of a freight train coming through an impossibly small opening in my body. Seconds seemed like minutes, minutes like hours and hours like an eternity. I was in a serious time warp. Her birth was assisted by our brave apprenticing mid-wife and my husband...her papi. After sixty-plus hours of labor, the repetitive deep knee squats - an exercise worthy of an olympic training routine - finally caused the water sac surrounding her little body to burst with a loud bang. Thirty minutes later she emerged into her daddy's arms. The three back-up midwives were tied up by a Denver April blizzard. One of them had visited earlier that day and advised me that a birthing mother had more strength and stamina than one could ever know. That was all I needed to hear to stay the course and stick it out at home. While speed may not be my greatest strength, stamina is one of them. For better or worse, I have a knack for sticking things out long after others jump ship or quit. This quality has served me well in life and also gotten me into trouble, but in this case was definitely an asset. My family was far away and likely had no idea I was even in labor, a bittersweet part of the whole experience. Her birth took place during the time when I was out of connection with them. The passage of time, a deep desire for my daughters to know their maternal roots, my enlightened understanding of the agony and ecstasy of motherhood, and the capacity to see and accept my parent's humanity and forgive them for it were just a few of the things that inspired re-connection with them. Those years of disconnect felt like an eternity and a blink all in one. The birthing experience felt the same way...as did the following decade. Spiritual practice slowed time down and allowed me to become deeply aware of my in and out breath and of each passing moment. Birthing and rearing two daughters has done much the same when I allow myself to see them as pure gift and blessing. In the same way deep contemplation, spiritual teachers and community revealed my growing edges, my daughters do much the same. While we are vehicles for the gift of life for our children, they, in turn, have the capacity to gift us with a renewed experience of life. My daughters have slowed time down and forced me to get real with whatever happens to be lingering inside of me. They serve as a mirror in case I refuse to spend the time looking within. As they mature and grow in confidence and courageous self-expression, they speak uninhibitedly just the words I need to hear. Today she is ten, tomorrow she will be twenty. I pray to embrace, celebrate and live to the fullest each second, minute, hour, day and year in hopes that she will continue to do the same in the midst of a world that tries to convince her to do otherwise.
I'm Kelly Isabelle.
Full-time workin' mama & spouse aspiring to live a slowly paced, sustainably minded, creatively expressed, clutter-free life shared with kindred folk.