I always think of 9 months as the period to birth something. Baby boy turned 9 months last week and I’ve been reflecting for awhile on this. 9 months is such an interesting milestone. It took me 9 months to grow and birth my little hongsong and here he is 9 months later, out of the womb. So to celebrate my babe’s 9 months of life, I wanted to celebrate what’s been birthed in me these past 9 months.
- New Limits. There were so many times I stopped and felt like I hit a brick wall; times when I felt I just reached my limit and didn’t know how to move forward. Physically exhausted, mentally confused, emotionally drained, and spiritually tired. I would close my eyes and literally fantasize falling down into a ginormous hotel bed with a plushy down comforter with puffy white pillows everywhere and just nap away. And then I’d hear a whine or a coo or a cry or a giggle and see my boy. So I rolled up my sleeves and defined new limits. What I’ve discovered is that I’m capable of so much more than I often imagine. Now, at the same time, I’ve also learned when I’ve hit my limit and how to not feel defeated by it, but embrace it. Hitting your limit is not a failure – it’s a time to let go, rest up, and move forward. And every time I hit that limit, my muscles grew stronger for the next week.
- Marriage. My marriage was birthed 5+ years ago but something shifted, something else was born these past 9 months. I always knew I loved my husband (well, most days, but… that’s for another blog) but these past 9 months I’ve fallen deeper in love with this baby daddy of mine. He drives me crazy and I often scoff thinking he does not have the capability of understanding what I went through during those 9 months of pregnancy or what happened in that delivery room or even what I go through day to day these past 9 months, but at the same time, I’m not sure how I would have endured those 9 months or that delivery room without him. I would have endured it without him, sure because many strong women do it alone, but I’m glad I didn’t have to. Moments when I hit my limit (see above) he literally taps his shoulder and pulls me in so he can, literally, be a shoulder to cry on. He stays up late to wash and sanitize all the baby bottles so I can get (some) sleep. He supports my need to get take out almost every night. He’s also pushed me and fought with me to remind me that our pride, our dignity, is nothing compared to our child’s well being. He’s my anchor. Our marriage had its ups and downs since the moment we said “I do” and the ups and downs certainly continue, but I could not, literally could not, imagine doing this with anyone else.
- Hope. Not to say I was hopeless prior, but a new hope has been birthed in me. A hope that sees my little boy growing up and a hope that sees that I have the ability and responsibility to shape his world. My husband always quotes “be the change you want to see in the world”. These days my motto is “be the world you want to see your child grow up in”.
- The courage to ask. I’m not the best at asking for things. Little things here and there, sure. But big things like “hey can you come over and watch my baby??” were huge off limit questions before. Afraid to ask, afraid to receive. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. When I look at my son, I wonder if there is anything I couldn’t do or wouldn’t do for him. A part of that is asking for help. Asking for advice. Asking for company. Asking for favors. Asking.Sucking it up, embracing humility, and asking. I may not always feel comfortable about it, but it’s worth it.
- Celebrations. Each month I get super excited to take a fun picture of my baby in his monthly stickers to celebrate each new month. Seriously, why don’t I celebrate each new month of life for myself? I’ve learned life is so worth celebrating – each moment, big and small. I celebrated when he first smiled, when he first sat up, when he first crawled, when he first clapped… and so many more firsts to come. And each celebration of him is a celebration of myself as well. Learning to celebrate and be proud of me.
- Endurance. Yes working full time and trying to be a pseudo stay at home mom that does the organic thing and pursue ministry while writing on the side is exhausting. Pre-9-months-me would have have shivered at the idea of trying to juggle everything. Post-9-months-me and I give a sleepy smile as I sleep off another tiring, but so very fulfilling day. Then I nod myself awake and remember to blog… then I sleepy smile again back to sleep.
- Willingness to fight. As I’ve discussed in the past, I’m dealing with worries, anxieties, and fears on a new level these days. In the past, I might have twiddled my thumbs and sadly thought “oh woe is me” to struggle with these things. But no. I’ve always wanted to be the best me I can be, but these days, the willingness to fight for that has peaked. I’m not going to lie down and be a victim to anything, certainly not my own defeat or my own fears. I’m more excited and ready than ever to deal with the obstacles in my life in this next season so I can be the best wife, the best mom, the best me I can be.
- Dream bigger. I’ve always been a dreamer. Dreaming/desiring/wishing. Though I allowed myself to dream, I dreamed within barriers. I dreamed what I felt I was allowed to dream and what felt reachable. I would dream about occupations that I felt I could do or houses that I could afford. Dreams that were within my reach because that’s nice and safe. And with all the things I’ve learned – that my barriers/limits are greater than what I believe them to be, that I can fight harder for the things that are important to me, that I can endure the obstacles to get there, that I can hope and ask and celebrate all with my man along the way – have opened my dreaming to new levels. Maybe it’s not Disney where all your dreams come true, but even the process of dreaming is so fulfilling and such a beautiful process. And maybe the unreachable dreams, the ones that are far out in the starry skies, are just a footstool for where we’ll go next. These past 9 months have been greater (and harder) than I had ever dreamed parenthood to be… which proves to me that life is just greater than we can ever imagine. And how can we even touch the edges of what it’s in store if we don’t dream to?
- Eyes to see. My prayer for years and years and years have been “God give me ears to hear and eyes to see”. I’ve heard so many parents say that when they became parents they understood the love of God on a new level. Yes, absolutely yes. Not only God’s love, but everything I see is suddenly shifted. I suddenly see each human being as someone’s baby. I see that my baby is so fully the image of God, so fearfully and wonderfully made. I also see myself so fully the image of God, so fearfully and wonderfully made… that God would invite me into creating him and use my body to nourish him everyday. I see that his life, my life, our lives are really something beautiful. I can see that.
I’ve honestly unleashed my fears and obstacles these past few months, but I’ve had some amazing victories. What God has birthed in me these past 9 months are so incredible and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 9 months is a weird milestone – not really newborn but not yet toddler – but life usually feels like an in between two places at once anyway. So what’s fascinating is knowing that what has been birthed will only continue to blossom and grow IF I continue to nurture and nourish it. Which I plan to!