pregnancy and parenthood

#NaBloPoMo: bravery beyond adventure

When was the last time you did something brave? What happened?

I think of my husband when I think of bravery. He will hike the most dangerous mountains, swim far into the ocean, be the first of his friends to bungee jump in Thailand, and even volunteer to take the stage at a show where he will be picked up by the trunk of an elephant. (Yes, these all happened).

Truthfully, I live my life cautiously. I have hiked, but not on questionable trails, and I have swam in the ocean, but only when the water was calm. I don’t desire to bungee jump, and I most certainly would never raise my hand in front of a crowd of strangers to take the stage with an elephant.

I do fear a lot of things in life, and I often wish I was more brave in this regard. But I don’t lose sleep over it. I’m OK with being a scard-y cat. I still lead a fulfilling life and have fun in ways that don’t require me to sign up for Fear Factor.

And yet, as cautious as I am, there is a part of me that feels nothing short of brave. It started the day I became a mother. As tired and physically wounded as I was after childbirth, I was emotionally and spiritually victorious. I brought a life into this world, and it required a level of inner strength that I didn’t know I had.

Our friends and family began congratulating us, but there were a few well wishes that stuck with me. Fellow moms had complimented beyond the baby’s cheeks and applauded me, calling me a “warrior mama.” A warrior. Damn.

This word would stick with me through the terrifying throes of the fourth trimester, and it still stands with me today. There is a lot to fear in our pregnancy, during our labor and upon taking our babies home, but truthfully, this fear stacks so low against the courage and strength that is engrained in our DNA as mothers.

Motherhood doesn’t necessarily make strong women, but strong women do make motherhood. We pledge to protect another life, and we don’t stop for anything or anyone, at any time. It requires constant strength to not only keep ourselves afloat, but our entire families.

I never would have given myself the title “warrior mama” because I had only ever associated bravery with fearlessness and thrill-seeking. I now realize that bravery is present in our every day life, and it is most certainly present where there is fear. It is, in fact, the act of overcoming fear that makes us brave.

Maybe I will go bungee jumping or hike the world’s most dangerous mountain one day, but even then, I still think that bringing my boy into this world will stand as my most brave moment in life. In a hike or a jump, it is only a matter of minutes in which we face fear. In becoming a mother, we take on an adventure that lasts for the rest of our lives.

So, what have I done that was brave recently? I brought a life into this world. What happened? I became a warrior mama.

 

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