Mothers and women, this one is for you!
No sleep, weary to the point of tears, stained shirt, messy bun, piles of dishes and laundry. The kids calling you every time you go to sit or eat. In fact, when was the last time you ate? Showered? What on earth happened to your other sock?
People like to talk about motherhood as beautiful, angelic, where you look amazing in leggings, messy bun, and still find time to put on a smidge of makeup. Not everyone will talk about the time you realize you only shaved one leg in the shower, and forgot the knee cap on the other leg. Or how your oldest child mentions the dark circles under your eyes.
People talk about self care; how it’s so important….I am a doula whose job it is to remind mothers of that; whose job sometimes leaves you feeling emotionally drained because you’ve spent so much energy pouring into other people. So I understand even more how important it is to fill your own cup. You absolutely CANNOT pour from an empty cup. But people don’t like to mention that sometimes, you have to pour from an empty cup. Sometimes you aren’t sure you can handle one more “MOM” yelled from the kids’ rooms. One more day of wearing ripped yoga pants, or a shirt that might have been washed but you aren’t sure so you wear it anyways. When you are so emotional that you can’t handle one more touch, one more question, one more “Can you help me?”
Let me tell you something…these are the hardest moments you will ever walk through. In the trenches of life, surrounded by a million things on your plate that you can’t even figure out a place to begin. You mothers…are amazing. I see blogs and comments about how we need to support mothers, and love on them after babies are born. Again, I KNOW this, I am a doula. But let me tell you again, mothers: YOU ARE AMAZING! When you are at your lowest, and manage to continue, you are amazing. You might have to reach down into your empty cup, gather up one more tiny drop and continue to overflow into your flesh, blood, and heart…your children…but you mothers – you always seem to find a way.
My thing for 2017 is to speak life. To my husband, my children, family, friends, doula clients, and anyone else I meet. To pour into others, to speak truth to them, and to speak what needs to be heard. What people are desperate to hear.
Mothers, women….you need to hear this. You need to hear from my heart, you are special! No, special is not good enough for who you are…you ARE extraordinary. You can do what no one else can. I mean, you have the ability to pour from an empty cup. Everyone says, “Fill your cup; you can’t pour from an empty cup.” But the truth is that there will be MANY times in life where you have to find a way to pour from an empty cup…where you have to reach deeper into an already depleted store to find kind words, soft hands, one more story, one more song…
So, I am here to remind you of something. Something that perhaps you need to hear, that under the heart of a mother still beats the heart of a woman. You are lovely! In this moment, the one happening RIGHT now, you are extraordinary. To hear that we are valued, and amazing, and not just because we gave birth….but because we are “us.” That we can do what no one else can, that we are capable, that we are strong. That we are all these things, and not just on the days when everything “looks” great – including our hair and outfit being on-point. But that we are lovely, capable, strong, and fabulous on the days when the house is destroyed, when the hair can’t even be talked about.
People are busy today! WAY too busy! We forget to speak life, we forget to speak truth, we forget to speak kindness, to speak with loving words to those we love the most. Life gets in the way, way too much. We say we are busy…we say lots of things. People, listen to me….this is YOUR life. Don’t be too caught up in “life” that you forgot to breathe life into those around you. For real…speak it. Out loud. With feeling. Mean it.
Tell your wife, the mother of your children..tell her she is amazing. And I don’t mean just on the days she looks good, well-rested (ha), the house isn’t a wreck and she is smiling. Tell her she is extraordinary on the days she has exploded blood vessels on her face when she puked from a migraine, when she wore the same clothes as yesterday, when dinner was half-burned, and she has cried six times since you walked in the door. Tell her she is extraordinary because of who she is and because no one else can do what she does.
I want too much to be able to get these words out of my head. To express what I think mothers truly need to hear these days. The saying that goes, “Don’t spend so much time preparing for the wedding that you don’t consider the marriage.” The same goes for this: Don’t spend too much time preparing for a baby, that you don’t think about motherhood. It’s hard. People talk about the good, the snuggles and kisses, bedtime stories, trips to the park, handmade gifts, and things like that. Those things are totally the best!
So often, no one wants to talk about the ugly. (I’m not talking about postpartum depression or mood disorders here.) Your brain tells you to take care of yourself so you can genuinely care for those around you….it also tells you to pour even when that same cup is empty. It is how God designed mothers…He gave you the ability to continue to pour when you feel like you have nothing left to give, and you are weary to the point of exhaustion.
Tell her over and over and over again. What you speak, becomes life…breathe life into your wife, girlfriend, partner, etc. Eat the burnt toast, ignore the red eyes, and messy bun. Take out the trash, help fold laundry, and don’t mention how the day before you had to wear dirty socks because you couldn’t find clean ones. (Take my word for it – it won’t go over well.) Draw her a bath, plan a date, heat her rice sock on cold nights and tuck it into bed for her, send her funny text messages and quote favorite movie lines….pray for her, talk to her, LISTEN…and listen to hear, don’t listen so you can speak. When you have someone you love, who is responsible for those you love together…a.k.a. the children…sow into her. She will weep, yell, stretching and pulling in every direction..but when she rises…she, oh man, she will be amazing.
There is a sincere lack of speaking in our day and age. We like to text more than a phone call, and email over an in-person conversation. But let me tell you, NEVER underestimate the power of the spoken word. I want to speak life this year, and pour into my husband and children, and those around me. When you speak life…you are speaking “into” another person that is in desperate need to hear those things. A mother, a woman…she needs to hear that she is extraordinary regardless of what she accomplished that day. And men? They need to hear that they were missed and wanted after being away all day…instead of walking in the door and realizing they now need to find the clip to the hand grenade that is about to explode.
We are forever speaking words and sowing seeds, so to speak, that hold no life. If it’s not life, it’s death. Naturally we ALL have room for improvement. But what you speak becomes what you believe…and if you believe it, it will consume and become you. So if you are allowed to believe that you are “less” because the trash wasn’t taken out or because you don’t do mom buns nearly as good as your sister-in-law….you believe. The truth is? Parenthood is hard. It pulls at you, breaks you apart, rebuilds you…sometimes creates you into something you like. Other times…not so much. It drains you and fills you back up a million times a day. And some days, you have to continue to pour from that cup, despite it clearly being empty.
Sarah Newton is a local Richmond certified birth and twice trained postpartum doula with over six years of experience working with families during their childbearing year. Visit her on Facebook, DoulaMatch, or her website to learn more about her services and availability for your childbearing journey.