When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, my son was barely 8 months old. It was spring, and only 9 months before, I had been just myself on the outside. I was still adjusting to being home all day with my baby, even though it had been my choice. The year my son was born, I married my husband, we moved into a new home, my grandmother died and I left my job. I often looked around me and found that I could not look for long. So, I looked at my baby, instead.

After all, my son’s birth had somehow rewired my system. His life had multiplied my own, and given me depth where there had been vacancy. Where there was longing, now there was a tiny, breathing person with constant love and endless tenderness. I felt split open, and being split open felt good.

But, as he grew, and as the focus on my life pulled back, I began to see that I was also fragmented. I didn’t know my husband very well. I knew zilch about marriage, raising children and being a good mother. I had always worked hard, but now I didn’t get paid for my work. My ambition was suddenly measured by tiny developmental milestones, and I was unsure: Is this me in here? Who is doing anything anymore, except a person who is trying very, very hard at things that are very, very important.

God, I was scared. And then, I was pregnant again.

I wasn’t upset about my pregnancy, but I was scared. I already had a baby. My husband and I were so new. I spent most of my time looking at my son, and I could not fathom sharing that vision with another child. We didn’t know what we were doing, but we knew that we were doing it, and so we planned for another baby.

The night I found out I was pregnant, I got into bed and I cried. I cried because I was hopeful, and I cried because I KNEW. I knew that inside my body was my daughter, and I knew that I was in uncharted territory. I look back at me 4 years ago, and I can see myself, so soft and gentle and wanting and willing. I was ready to be everything that everyone needed me to be, even though I had no idea how I would do it. When I look back at me, I just want to hold myself. Tell myself everything I needed to hear. Like:

Baby, you are bigger than everything you have ever imagined. You were built to rise and flow and create and continue. You are made of the truth. You don’t have to strive. You can sometimes wait and listen. You don’t have to worry. You will find the way. You will always find the way. And when you can’t find the way, THE WAY WILL FIND YOU.

This was a long, hard lesson for me to learn, as it turns out. I didn’t grow up with a mom who told me about myself when I forgot. I grew up with my mom on weekends and in the summertime, and even then, she often didn’t know how to talk to me about…me. My mom did the best she could with what she had, but what she had was simply not enough for a girl like me. My mom was busy, tied up working hard on her own life, trying desperately to find her own ground. By the time I arrived in her world, she still had a long road of focus on her own two feet to help me find mine.

For a long time, I tried to help her find her feet. For a long time, I thought that my life was about HER LIFE. I thought that I was supposed to be the kind of person who would make her life easier. It took me a very long time to understand that I was made for something entirely my own.

In fact, if I went back 4 years ago, and got beside myself in that bed, I would also tell me:

You get to be you, now. Yes, baby, just YOU.

And, after 4 years of babies and birth and body and everything and everyone needing me, I am finally here. That was the lesson. This is what I was working on:

I am precisely myself. Precisely who I was meant to be. Enough on the inside, enough on the outside. Precisely my own person. Precisely me.

This hasn’t made life immediately easy. I am not sure of my circumstances at all times. Some things are hard. I still have a new marriage. My babies are still small. I have physical issues, and I must remain very close and very connected to my body. After I had my daughter, I suffered from postpartum anxiety, and I felt drained of energy for an entire year. I made choices out of fear or insecurity, and those choices always caused me varying degrees of discomfort. But, I have stayed on this road. And, on this road, I can always hear the small voice. And, if I can hear the small voice, I know that I am precisely myself.

And, if I am precisely myself, I am whole. And, finally, I just don’t want to be anything else.

You know, life hands us all kinds of choices and events and mistakes and circumstances. Things will always change, but if we’re devoted to ourselves, we are always enough for all of it. I have overcome challenges that would have seemed insurmountable 4 years ago, and that is because there is no limit to personal strength once we allow ourselves to tap into it. We don’t climb the mountain fearlessly, but we climb, all the same. And, if we keep climbing, we always reach the summit. We simply do.

Do not give up on yourself. At any point, or under any circumstances. You’re simply not allowed. If no one ever told you, then let me be the first:

Baby, you are bigger than everything you have ever imagined. You were built to rise and flow and create and continue. You are made of the truth. You don’t have to strive. You can sometimes wait and listen. You don’t have to worry. You will find the way. You will always find the way. And when you can’t find the way, THE WAY WILL FIND YOU.

Trust me on that one, darlings.

xo,

M