Incredible Capabilities

July 24, 2010 at 9:35 pm 8 comments

One of the greatest things about giving birth is that it gives you a glimpse of your personal power. Bringing a human into the world requires intense physical, emotional, and mental strength. After Echo’s birth I did not bask in post-natal bliss and missed taking advantage of my new and honorable state wherein you are allowed to lounge in bed and graciously accept care from your family. I was too pumped up, too charged with endorphins and energy, and I sprung out of bed at first light, toasted waffles while breastfeeding, and yearned to shine my glorious, powerful light.

Little did I know that growing a child in my body and then bringing it forth was only the beginning of strength requirements.

Babies nurse through the night. Sleeping on your side all night goes on for months and months. And although your spine develops a permanent crick, the muscles seize up on one side to ensure long-term lopsidedness, and your inner knees exhibit permanent bruises from clacking against one another for hours on end, you do not roll over on to your back.

A mama’s body can do that.

Babies need help falling asleep. Sometimes only the perfect bounce, bounce, swoop, jiggle jiggle combination will coax their eyes into verifiable closure and deep sleep. And although both your arms fall asleep, a stray strand of hair tickles your nose, and your calf muscles threaten to pop, you continue. Bounce, bounce, swoop, jiggle jiggle no matter how long it takes.

A mama’s body can do that.

Kids cry a lot and often. For them there is sorrow and trauma waiting at every turn. Sometimes a popsicle falls. Sometimes a bug crawls over a toe, or even just near a toe. Sometimes there is only one sock to be found, or an elephant crucial to the nighttime ritual goes missing. Tears are frequent, screams are common, and although you’d like to scream as well, or leave the room, or curl up under the covers and eat chocolate, you don’t. One more time you reach down and pick up, you wipe tears and kiss noses, and you set things to right, however momentarily.

A mama’s heart can do that.

Children like repetition. They want you to say where’s the baby? while covering your eyes three hundred and forty-nine times before they are ready for something else. And even if you have already read Me Hungry that morning, and last night, and every day for three weeks before that, they want you to read it again. And again, and again. And although you’d rather brew a pot of tea, or pee, or talk to your husband for thirty-seconds, you still read Me Hungry one more time.

A mama’s mind can do that.

If anyone had asked you ahead of time whether or not you were capable of such feats, or even wanted to be capable of such feats, you probably would have said NO, but here you are, doing it, not just once but daily. The quotidian, maternal versions of lifting an elephant, saving the world, and defeating a chess champion.

Okay, sure, there are plenty of times when you actually say I can’t do this!, but most of the time you do it anyway.

In the picture above, Kris is holding thirty pound Sascha and nursing while standing on shifty river rocks. After giving birth, Kris’s  muscles grew as Sascha did, rendering her strong enough to do that for prolonged periods of time. Her heart swelled and became well conditioned, making her willing to give that to her girl, to soothe and love her in this way. And her mind became burly, allowing her to stay in that moment, watching the creek flow by, waiting for her daughter to finish.

She is capable of that, and if we want to be,we are capable of it as well.


Entry filed under: life lessons, parenting principles. Tags: , , , , .

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lindsay  |  July 24, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    just…wow. love it.

  • 2. Jessi  |  July 25, 2010 at 1:24 am

    rarrrr to all the women in the world, rarrr to all our mothers who came before us, and rarrr to all the daughters who will come after us….we are women! rarrr!

  • 3. carrie  |  July 25, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    yes we can!!!!


  • 4. crystal  |  July 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    AMEN to that!

  • 5. Sally Tuck  |  August 3, 2010 at 5:46 am

    WOW – how awesome is that piece of written silken honey. Dream sweet tonight inbetween mouthfuls for you deserve it.

  • 6. Sally Tuck  |  August 3, 2010 at 6:08 am

    Came across this beautiful piece when zooming through some Mummy things and even now hours later am still in tears – thank you.

    • 7. nataliechristensen  |  August 12, 2010 at 4:44 pm

      You’re welcome, of course!

  • 8. Shelly  |  August 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Ver, very nice!! Thabk you!


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