Sunday, May 14, 2017

I thought I knew what "Mother" meant

I don't remember the day, or the place, or the event.
I think it was a bible study. 
A friend said (and others joined her opinion)
that being a mother was the greatest calling in life. 

I (silently) disagreed. 
Mostly because I did not have the wish for a big family, or for
a small family, for that matter.
I didn't see myself raising children.

No. I saw myself with a job, 
and maybe a dog, and 
lots of vacation time to go off and travel the world. 

"Mother" hadn't been in my future.

Fast forward about 10 years, 
and you see me in midwifery school. 
Oh, the irony. 
At 12, I claim to want nothing from that section of the world,
and at 21, I am steeping in it, day and night, 
Breathing the stuff. 

And then a few more months go by. 

And I realize:  
Motherhood is the greatest calling in life. 
I think the realization came during a birth we were at, probably 
when the mother first caught sight of her baby, picking it up and placing it on her chest
that moment when the pain is forgotten and the only thing that matters 
is that there is a tiny human in the room, and she 
had made it. 

Any other profession - pastors, doctors, volunteer workers, search and rescue, and yes, midwives - 
pales in comparison to the long nights of moaning and sweat,  
labor and birth, and then joy. 

Let me break it down for you, in a generalized fashion:

Most mothers spend the first three months feeling nauseous, flinching for the wastebasket at each new smell. After the first three months, the weight starts to set in. Usually by halfway through the pregnancy they start saying 'Wow. I feel huge." And the midwives express sympathy, thinking, "Lady, wait until you're 41 weeks 5 days. Then we'll talk." After the halfway point, its all growth and please-don't-go-into-labor-just-yet. And that's just from the midwife's point of view. The mothers are the ones who actually have to deal with the symptoms. They can't lay on their backs, they can't lift anything, they swell, they puke, they feel exhausted, they can't eat sushi, coffee (good gosh they give up coffee), plus anything and everything which may make them sick, and then they add in a crap ton of protein, so much water, prenatal vitamins that turn urine bright orange, iron supplements that I've been told taste SO BAD, and goodness knows what else...

And then the labor. If you take an average of like, 5,000 women, labor supposedly lasts 12 hours long. That's like, a long workday, right? No big deal? 

IT'S A FREAKING AVERAGE, PEOPLE. Some moms have one and a half hour labors. (THEY PUSH A BABY OUT OF THIER BODY IN AN HOUR AND A HALF. DO YOU KNOW WHAT GOES INTO THAT. GO AHEAD. LOOK UP HOW LABOR WORKS. AND THEN CRAM IT INTO ONE AND A HALF LUNCH BREAKS AND SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT.) Some moms have 48...64...72 hour labors. And maybe its not like, active labor where you have to focus on pushing....BUT THREE DAYS OF A CONTRACTING UTERUS. Period cramps are bad enough. I cannot imaging three days of early labor. (Men, stab a knife into your belly. That's what a period cramp feels like. Now multiply that by 10. That's labor. Also you have to push an eight pound object out of your butt hole while enduring those sensations. Have fun!) (By the way, sorry for the yelling. #endofrant #kindof)

So that's the first 10 months...

Going on the rest of your life. 

From this point, the tiny human will rely on you for e v e r y t h i n g. 

Food. Clothes. Shelter. Love. Warmth. Probably college tuition. Probably enough emotional counseling for ten people (junior high is rough, you know). Guidance through life. You get to teach them how to use a toilet, put on clothes, coordinate clothes (as much as I love a three-year-old's style, it just doesn't work when you're 25 and doing job interviews as an engineer or a secretary), handle finances, drive a car, deal with people and friends and co-workers. Moms influence what their kids believe, how they act, what foods they like and continue to like. Moms wipe their kids butts, wipe their kids faces, their hands, they wipe grins off their faces when their in trouble and wipe frowns off when there's nothing to be sad about. For goodness sake, moms let kids breastfeed for sometimes what seems like forever, sometimes for as long as they can, and sometimes for less time than anyone wants. 

Moms make people. 

Somehow, I didn't see this. I mean, I'd heard the phrase, and I'd laughed thinking 'wow, that's true'...but then, it hit. 

Being female is one of the greatest things you can be, because it gives you the capability to be a mother.

Being a mother IS the greatest thing you can be. 

Right now, with school, I'm immersed in pregnancy, labor, and birth. I'm immersed in breastfeeding, in motherhood, in family life, in bringing new life into the world safely, and even with that sometimes all you can do is watch. Usually, I watch in awe, because the job of motherhood itself is so unique, but every mother-in-the-making does it differently.


I never thought I would say this. But, I'm going to, because now it's true: 

Someday, I want to be a mother. 
Someday, I hope to be as incredible of a mother as my mother was to me. My mother is constant. I know that if I call her, she will answer, I know that if I ask for help, she will give it, and if I ask for guidance she will steady me. 

Next to God, she is the greatest support I have ever had. 

Somehow I never realized this? Somehow I had passed it by, somewhere in my 21 years I had overturned the stone with this fact under it and then covered it back up again without realizing how important it was, thinking I knew it already. 

Somehow, I thought I knew what "Mother" meant, but I actually didn't. 

I probably still don't. I've probably missed a whole section.  I mean, we didn't even touch on high school, with the staying up late worrying because the kids were supposed to be home 37 minutes ago. We didn't talk about dating (oh gosh, no let's not) or marriage (panic mode, panic mode), or the grand babies (help. please. stop.). We didn't talk about the hours spent on bent knee, praying for God's mercy and protection.  

Being a mother - and I probably still don't get it all the way - means creating the next generation. It means making people. And not just their bodies. You make their souls, and their minds, their likes and dislikes. 

Mothers, the people you make? You make them who they are, who they become. This is indeed the greatest job, the greatest calling, anyone could ever have, and we are eternally grateful; we cannot thank you enough. Happy Mother's Day!

And to my mom: 

Mom, you're amazing. I mean it when I say you are the most incredible person I could have ever met, much less have been raised by. Thank you for the time you've put into my sisters and I. Thank you for the sacrifices you've made, for the worrying, the effort, and the time. Gosh, I wish I could reciprocate even a fraction of the debt I owe you for making me who I am. And I shall try. But in all honesty, I do not think I could ever repay you. You are the greatest mother. I love you! Happy Mother's Day! 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

if places were people no. 5

i never thought i'd see you as a person,
except now that i found you it makes sense:
you became the place we hated.

you formed as i slept,
so i woke to your enormous cancerous thought processes
and your hopeless breath
that blows as mercilessly as the wind.
i woke to you being a mountain,
and i dangled off one of your cliffs.

you rise steeply
from the endless plain floor.
not sunshine falling from heaven,
but rock wishing to rule above grass,
tough as meat and
those shard-like word ledges threaten from miles away
sharp collarbones and jawline and thin thighs

my intention was to never climb your type,
but i'm the only one close enough to try.
now, when you aren't slicing with your obsidian edges,
you're mixing in dirt, breeding infection, reveling in the primal.
hungry green eyes.

you're wild, snarling,
edging away at every flower,
the ones that do bloom are tiny and dull and only last a week or two,
and then your thin breath suffocates them.

seeds only last so long underneath your snow.
your endless winter,
and the longer i spend in you the more i realize
why no one lives
here anymore

your hands used to hold mine and now they
hold me in the sunshine, mocking, until my skin burns.
your skin is dirty and rough and darkening with every day spent so close to the sun

your eyes used to make my own light up,
and now i shiver away at your glance,
afraid of what it might mean.

every car going in the opposite direction seems to call my name,
and i want to go with, but
from where i sit i can see the gravestone that holds childhood memories
and if you will not guard in then
i will
although i think even the memories have crawled out and left

i don't think you even know where the graveyard is,
though it continually fills with your victims,
and you know it not.

you only know when i'm in the area,
your arrows made of steel and the knowledge of my weaknesses
seek out not my heart, but the
arteries pumping towards it.
you aim for my limbs, not
my organs.
you look for targets to maim,
not to kill.

you would hate to be a killer.
you would hate to be anything horrid,
anything blatantly wrong.

but you don't mind the label of desert.
or rock of a mountain.
you don't mind the fact that people climb you to die, not to live.
or that they only come visit you when you smile,
not when you snow your black snow, dark thoughts.

you don't mind that everyone calls you no-mans-land,
the forbidden and hated and avoided land.

you say you don't mind, anyway.

but it must be lonely.
it must be quiet.
and i know how you loved the music in the city squares.
how you loved it when people smiled at you
and i know it because you loved it before you changed,
and you say it's an act but i will be honest
i do not believe those words of yours.

i try to bring it to you, the music,
but it isn't the same without the crowds of dancers
and anyway,
your shale mountainsides cut my feet when i dance for you.

it must be trying,
having everyone hate the way flowers grow rarely
so i try to plant a garden,
but your winter comes to soon
for sprouts to push out of the ground.

it must be
to be a mountain in a country
where everything dies.

and yet here i am,
sitting with you,
because so far i have always been a mountain person
and i am starting to think that i have changed,
and that maybe the ocean is more of my style
except i don't want to leave you.
not like this,
not when you've run out of victims so you're turning into one yourself.
not when i can see the structure of the mountain,
and the covering is starting to fall.
the skin is starting to sag and stretch and
you're getting thinner.

i don't want to leave that grave of childhood

the snows came early this year,
i think you crave the ice water more and more.

there was one day this winter when i couldn't make it to the grave.
when i went the next day,
your forced laugh of a wind had felled a tree
breaking the headstone.

i think i will catch one of those cars now,
because who knows when the snows will melt.

i think i will go to the ocean
to see if less thin air will bring clarity of mind.

i think space
between us will make your
visible ribs seem less knife-like.

maybe space will make me miss you.
maybe i will like the thin air when i come back.
maybe the flowers will grow more, if i'm not watching them.
maybe you will have a bouquet for me when i come back.
maybe you will not be so hated when i come back.
maybe it will be better
when i come back.
if i come back.

you stabbed me from behind, when
i turned to walk away today.
an ice shard through my thigh
so that when i do walk, it will be painful.
i can still walk.
but i don't know
when i will come back.
i will come back.
too many scars from your arrowheads will
make it harder to climb your
unscalable peak

if i come back.

YO ALL!!! i'm still alive. (seriously i keep saying that. why. maybe because i have multiple not-so-near-death  experiences so i SHOULD be dead.) (i was busy.) (and there was a lack of coffee.) (don't ask.)

SO YEAH. there's another super-downer for you. in my defense i TRIED to find something uplifting. what can i say. i listen to too much chopin to be an expressively happy person. OH WELL. 


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

December is my thankful month (and this year it wasn't easy)

I do this post every year.

Basically what happens is i spend the entirety of November trying to pinpoint exactly what it means to be thankful, and by the time i actually get around to being thankful, its December. This year, it hasn't been easy. There's stuff happening in my world that leaves me exasperated and exhausted and to be honest, i'm the closest i've ever been to buying a plane ticket for Iceland and never coming back.

BUT - i can't do that. So i'm going to try to be thankful, and i'm thinking maybe if i write it out enough, i will begin to actually feel it. Fake it 'til i make it, essentially. These are things that i'm thankful for, that i don't exactly want to be thankful for, but its what i'm dealing with. I'm trying to be thankful in all situations. So this year -

i'm thankful for figurative brick walls that fly up in my face at the last second of a plan. I'm thankful for the trees (again, figurative) that grow up in my way, and that i grow strong cutting them down, or figuring out ways to get around them.

Im thankful that i've had to learn to be independent, that i'm learning to grow up, because i will not, and cannot, be a child forever, however much i wish it.

I'm thankful for community - the kind that you build up from when you were a baby, when its really your parents community, your parents connections, but you get to build off of them, and it really does feel like everyone knows you. (Which - i'm sorry, my desired superpower is invisibility, so having everyone recognize me is my worst nightmare), but it's really helpful because then you let people know - i'm looking for work, i'm looking for someone to apprentice under, i'm looking for support in prayer, i'm looking, looking, looking and i cannot turn over all the rocks by myself.

I'm thankful for realizing that i'm a loner. I mean, i knew i was an introvert. But spending time with people constantly for three months, i realized that i was weaker there. I needed alone time, i needed alone space, i needed alone in order to be me, in order to be my own person, to recognize where my boundaries were and how i needed to strengthen them.

I'm thankful for staying in MT. I thought I wanted to go to OR (i still do) but money doesn't come by me easily (i swear, its a negative magnetic field between us) so going there became not an option. And i was really sad. But then - i came home. And i discovered that there are 11 midwives in a state of 1 million people. i got completely infuriated for 3 days because that's a stupidly low number, and i decided that i was going to become the 12th midwife in MT if it killed me. There's something about staying where you came from - maybe its that community thing i talked about earlier - that gives you an extra measure of confidence. You know where everything is. You know who the people are. You are familiar with it and with people's viewpoints and opinions. Its home. Why wouldn't i stay here?

Basically - i'm thankful for those things that happened this year that took my breath away like i'd been kicked in the gut. Betrayal of life - that's what it felt like. Swimming upstream, hiking through 5 feet of snow, getting vinegar on a wound, accidentally inhaling a lung-full of chlorine water from the pool - we all know how these feel. Like, why me? What have i done to deserve this pain, even though i know i'll live through it?

This year, I'm thankful for the pain. For the frustrations. For the growth. Because that is how we become better versions of ourselves: through struggle. On my "the plan" page, I have this thing about how pearls and diamonds are made. Essentially, through discomfort, and pressure, and time. And this year has been full of those. So i'm choosing to be thankful for that.

God doesn't do anything without a reason. My mom (seriously i missed her waaaay too much. She's another reason i'm SUPER thankful to be home) keeps saying to me (and freaking me out because 10 years in the future scares me) "i wonder how this will affect you 10 years down the road?" And that's made me think about all of what's happened and how i'm going to let it affect me. Will i let it make me bitter and turn me away from my goal? or will it make me stronger, and more able?

Being thankful wasn't easy this year. The plane ticket would have been easier. (TBH it still is.) But I have little holding me back other than my own hesitations. I have little in front of me other than the problem itself. 

Talk about a perfect set-up for getting this job done.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

who's who

Hi guys. This one's kind of...well...ugly. Its one of those things where you feel something deeply, and in this case its a struggle between being good, and light, and helpful, and sweet, or giving into my flesh and being the nasty, selfish, hard, broken person that would be so much easier to be. Both people can feel like shells, like masks, but other days they can feel like the most natural thing in the world, second skins, each one separate...or maybe not. Sometimes they meld and its a mess. How do i choose between the two? How do i make them separate? How do i stay in one character so that my mind doesn't go crazy from the back and forth?

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

you're so sweet.
what an angel.
thanks for your help.

your mother taught you well.
what a wonderful friend.
what a wonderful person.
you always have a smile on your face.

thanks for listening.
thanks for being you.

why can't you be more like her.
why can't you try harder.
why did you do that?
why are you so mean?

oh, i'm sorry.
you don't seem to be doing well.
you should really see someone for this.

that's so nice of you!
hmm, (with a smile,) thanks so much!
(i only do it so i can sleep at night.)

you're a good freind too (although you don't really know me. you don't know anything about me.)
i'm only this way because of Him.
its been a good day.
(but get me out of here. i need food and sleep and quiet.)

you needed someone to listen...could i do anything else? (like i i can sleep at night.)
i'm the only one who could be me. and i'm not good at being anyone else.

because i'm not perfect.
because i can't. i'm stuck.
i don't know.
i don't know. i wasn't thinking.

don't be. its life.
i'm fine. there's nothing to do.
i'm fine. i'm fine.
i know. i am.
i don't need to. i don't want to.
i'm fine.

somehow, we're both fine. but we're not. 
somehow, we're both acting, and we suck at it. 
somehow, someday. some way.
things will change. 
but i don't see it. 
it's over three or four horizons, around 
five or six bends, over
a mountain range or two.
i'd say that reality is a long ways away.
except that we're in it. 
in it, and drowning. 
two bodies that should really be one 
and i'm thinking that i'll always be cut in half
and no one will see it except me.
because i'm the one that has to leave half of me behind every day.

Monday, October 24, 2016


:my back is turned: i know they stare: my back, head, bum, the way i walk:

shoes         that
aren't             there

no shoes at all. just
the way my toes
point together a little
bit because i'm nervous.
                                                  i know they're waiting
                                                  but i'm not sure                                                            
                                                  they're excited i
                                                  think they're waiting
                                                                                                  to rip me to shreds.
                                                                                                  i know i have to,
                                                                                                  i have prep-ed
                                                                                                  rehearsed over
and over: over until i
know it better than i
know what i ate for
breakfast this morning
                                                   better than i know myself
                                                   my best friend, and my
                                                   bedroom ceiling.
                                                   climb the stage,

                                K   l
                             &        i
                           t             m  
                         s                  a
                      e                       n
                   r                             j
               e                                  a
            v                                       r
  it is E                                           o   and the steps to

St. Paul's Cathedral, 259
The Eiffel Tower, 1710
the Norweigan Stairway
to Heaven, 4444. the steps
to the stage. and i am
                                                        terrified. of what they might
                                                        think and what they might say
                                                        and what they will do
                                                        once i am finished.
                                                                                                                 but i climb and wait one
                                                                                                                 and think what WILL
                                                                                                                 they say one last time

:i turn: shoe-less: prepared: i: am: terrified: i smile: say my name: think: screw them: one last time:

                                                                                                                                                              and then i succeed. i win.
                                                                                                                                                                     i conquer. the enemy, 
                                                                                                                                                                         opponent, opposite.
                                                                                                                                                                                  is me. not them.
                                                                                                         when i do turn around
                                                                                                                   there's only one
                                                                                                        person in the audience
                                                                                                    that will actually critique.
                                                   and that person
                                        has just left the stage.