A Story From Rachel Powell
December 24, 2019
A Stormy Start
I awoke on a Thursday morning in the surgery recovery room, shivering violently. It was August 2017, a mere three or four hours after midnight, when panic settled into my bones. I had fallen asleep under general anesthesia after my c-section hadn’t gone quite according to plan; my epidural line hadn’t been placed right, so the spinal block that was supposed to numb my abdomen for major surgery… didn’t numb me at all. Needless to say, I awoke in shock, trying to grasp at the situation to pull myself together. My husband was waiting for me to awaken, holding our beautiful baby girl.
Stop. Look. Listen - she was safe.
Immediately I felt a sense of calm and peace pass over my destroyed body - a body that had betrayed me in labor. I reached out my hands to ask for my daughter, a tear forming in my eye; however, my peripheral vision told me that my arms couldn’t stop shaking, a rare side-effect of general anesthesia. I had to wait twenty, painful, shaky minutes to hold my child after I woke up.
Motherhood descends upon us like a hailstorm over a field of crops. We have every preconceived notion about how it will feel to be the first one to hold our child as they enter this world - we build expectations based on YouTube moms and sisters-in-law. But nothing - I repeat, nothing - can prepare us for the absolute wonder that is becoming a mother.
The swirling storm above us still rages as our emotions settle postpartum, but the field never looks the same; it may lie fallow for a full year before time and perseverance are found to reseed and grow again. Others recover more quickly, while some of us need to heal just a little bit longer.
And guess what? That’s okay.
Reflect, Recover, Rebuild
I learned, very quickly, to dump all of my expectations about motherhood. After all, hanging onto them only makes me feel inadequate or resentful. I take each day one at a time, donning the hat I must in order to make it through the day. In the second year of my daughter’s life I realized that, while my main role is to be an amazing mother to my child, I also have goals and dreams that I would like to accomplish.
Accepting this was difficult! Not because American society pressures women into being the sole caregiver and stay-at-home parent, but because I felt compelled to be present for my daughter. Instead, I had to find a way to juggle everything from home; this idea led me down the path of blogging. I experimented with a free Wordpress blog - diysahm.com - at the beginning of 2018 and discovered my love for writing.
From this discovery, I began a freelance writing business; I write and edit for people all over the world who need an extra eye on a project or just need a few more posts for their blogs. One of several things that bring me joy in life (other than being with my daughter and husband) is helping others. I’ve never felt more settled and at peace than now, even though my schedule is crazy and the “terrible two’s” is rearing its ugly head!
The Juggling Act
Women are strong, courageous, perseverant creatures with strong will and great aptitude. Though we are a force to be reckoned with, we all still have our moments. What defines us is how we navigate through the storms to emerge victorious through the other end.
Many of us play many roles: mother, spouse, caregiver, homemaker, teacher… etc. The list is endless for most of us, but few recognize it as such. Know this: I see you. You are doing an excellent job and you deserve everything you have and more; you will achieve great things - there is nothing holding you back.
So stand up, rise to the challenge, and toss another ball into your juggling set. You’ve got this.
Written by Rachel Powell