It’s January and it is time to pick my “word” for the year. I LOVE a fresh start; there is something invigorating about the new-ness of it. It makes my heart skip a little beat and I get all wide eyed with a permanent grin on my very excited face. BUT…I only like to begin a new habit/fresh start on Mondays or the beginning of the month or year. It makes my palms sweaty and brain start twirling if I even THINK of a restart on a Wednesday. Call me crazy, OCD, particular, I do not care. In my mind, this is the way it goes. A few years ago, I gave up new years resolutions for a goal or word for the year. I am not a detailed oriented person and my brain gets overwhelmed easily. Give me bullet points to your story and make directions quick and easy and we are all good. So, having a word to focus on for the year kept me focused and at ease knowing I would not have a brain freeze from trying to remember all I wanted/needed to accomplish.
It just so happened the church I attend challenged the ministry partners to do this very thing for the year. It’s been fun hearing other people’s words and listening to the why behind the choosing of it. As I was entering unknown territory in my life (MOM-moms of multiples), I knew my word would need to be something fierce. I was feeling all sorts of feels and I needed a word—a mantra— to get me through the hard days and nights. It did not take long before I picked/God revealed my word——BRAVE—–. I was drawn to this word because, well I was honestly feeling cowardly and like I might take after my inner ostrich and stick my head in the sand and forget the world exists. Alas, I have tiny humans who rely on me to keep them alive, so this was not an option.
Brave- ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage
Really??? READY to face and endure danger or pain? Who in the world would ever in their right mind be brave? I will pick Brave as my word and PRETEND to be ready to subject myself to such agony and discomfort. I will mentally prepare myself for any and all catastrophe’s that might happen and set myself up for a win because I will be prepared. I will allow myself to feel said catastrophe enough to get by and numb myself with chocolate and sleep. Game plan=good. 2016 let’s rock this out.
Physical pain ensues. ‘I can handle this. I have carried two children previously and I KNOW this will be a little worse, but I got this. I have mentally prepared myself’.
Physical pain gets worse. ‘Man, two babies inside of one body is tough. But, game plan=good. Brave… check’.
Emotional Pain. ‘Ok…I did not prepare myself for the two week hospital stay to try and keep babe’s in, but I’m still Brave…I am STILL ready to endure pain and danger. ‘
Emotional and Physical pain get worse. ‘I’ve been stuck with 15 needles, I can not move my body…ever… because the heart monitors will move and the nurses will take another hour trying to find them again, I haven’t showered in 6 days, the magnesium has made me swollen….e’rywhere, the procardia made my heart rate jump into the 150’s, I have had 3 asthma attacks, been sponge bathed by a friend (bless her), haven’t seen my boys in days…this is hard…it’s ok, though…there is an end in sight…BRAVE.
Physical pain escalates. Labor. Water has broken a second time. This is it. Husband is here, friend who sponge bathed me is here (bless her again), midwife is on her way, doctor is on her way…BRAVE.
Admission time…I have had two babies naturally. No epidural and virtually no pain meds with either. I wanted it done this way. But, I was completely fine with an epidural with the twins. Two births in one…numb me up, doctor! I had even gotten excited about it. In my mind, we would be laboring along all laughing and having a jolly ole’ time all while bringing humans into the world. Turns out…I had no epidural, no pain meds, and almost delivered the babies in the hallway as they are running me to the operating room (in case of an emergency c-section). I remember thinking “I am living my grey’s anatomy moment”. The nurses are yelling at me and running me as fast as they can. Sista’ wife (we dubbed her this since she sponge bathed me…among other things) is sprinting along side them with my epidural cart (she knew my priorites…get Holley her epidural), and I think my husband is somewhere around.
I remember vividly telling the midwife…”I don’t want to do this” after the first baby was born. Literally, I would’ve just kept her in and held her there until the after-life. I was done with pain. I had nothing left. My muscles were of no use since they had atrophied over the pregnancy and hospital stay. I looked up and my husband’s face was hovering over mine. I remember seeing his eyes…there was no bravery in them. Bless his little soul, he was trying, but the chaos that was ensuing was showing through those beautiful golden irises. He tried.
This is about the moment when the truck hit me. You know that truck called denial..it hits you while blowing it’s loud obnoxious horn with the driver hanging out yelling “FAKER! FAKER!”….I have been hit a few times in my life by this truck and it is always as annoying as it was the time before.
The babies came and all was well within me again. The next few months are talked about in a previous blog post, but in those months of reflection, it was made clear that I had bravery all wrong. Originally, to me, bravery meant to ‘put on my game face’ and survive through whatever adversity came my way. I am learning it is not at all about the game face or survival. It is not about conquering the adversity or ‘saving face’, it is about throwing all of ‘that stuff’ out the window and bravely living in the moment ready to feel the emotions and endure the adversity as it comes. I started to see bravery as a hike through the wilderness as opposed to the bridge to get you over it. Bravery is not avoiding the hardships with our ideas and strength, it is allowing our soul to get broken along the way and find solace in the one who made us.
Bravery is making yourself vulnerable to the fear of not knowing if the pregnancy will have a good outcome, trusting God anyway and choosing to find joy in the hard and easy times. It’s about knowing the sacrifices we make every day as a mom, sister, brother, dad, grandparent, and student are worth making whether we ever see the return investment. It’s about pushing through the fear of standing up for what is right among our family, friends, co-workers, spouses and strangers and accepting the rejection or the gratitude that comes along with it. It’s about making decisions and knowing in the end the decision could be a mistake or the best thing you ever did. It’s about feeling regret, love, fear, rejection, happiness, excitement, disappointment, anticipation…Bravery is having faith to feel when our soul is hesitant to do so.
Brene’ Brown says it well, “Faith isn’t an epidural. It’s a midwife who stands next to me saying, “Push. It’s supposed to hurt””.