This photo was taken by the beautiful and talented Michela Griffin
As much as I am committed to being honest with my readers and telling my stories as they are, the good and the bad, I am afraid to talk about hard topics. I am afraid of what people might think - fear of being judged (like I'm not already), fear of losing readers, fear of things I can't even accurately articulate. Well... I want to share what I have learned about the power of fear, and how embracing our fears can lead us to a place of total self-understanding and strength.
I would like to say that I no longer have any fear, but that would be a lie - of course I am afraid. But… I don’t let my fears control me. Instead of letting my fears cripple me, I face them with a heart full of courage; A courage that comes from faith and peace. There are few things in this world that won’t be beaten by a courageous heart. Use your fear - don’t run from it.
Before becoming a mother, my biggest fear was failure. Failing what? I do not know. The only important thing seemed to be that I must succeed. Success... Who can really define how successful one is? When it comes down to it, success is really a relative term. Sure I'm no Steve Jobs, but I did write a 100 page thesis, graduate from college as a double major, and land a good job all while I was pregnant. My writing is starting to get published, and I'm connecting with a whole world of mommy bloggers and businesses. I'm proud of that and I think of myself as successful. A successful student, and a successful mother. I know there are many people who judge me for not having a "real" job and for choosing to take care of my own baby - a choice that, dare I say, is my God given right as a mother - but that's not how I measure success.
I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn't gotten pregnant my senior year of college. Or worse, if I had not had my baby. If I had believed the lies and listened to a culture that values money and status over love and people. If I had allowed my fear to conquer my faith… if I didn’t have courage.
Looking back at that time from the perspective of distance and the knowledge only a mother possesses, I know that my life would be worse without my son. In fact, he is now how I measure my success - if his needs are met, and if he is happy, I know that I am doing my job as his mother. In return he has given me so much - selflessness, strength, sensitivity - and so much more. I don't even know who I was without him.
The morning I found out I was pregnant fear flooded through me like lightening courses through a metal rod. The fear separated me from myself. It froze me, and numbed me. Nothing felt real for several days. In fact, it was a long time before I actually began to feel anything... Before the numbness wore off. To be totally honest I think I spent most of my senior year of college in a state of shock... just managing to get through each day, just surviving. Graduation came as quite a blessing.
Don't I make pregnancy sound so appealing? Being pregnant is difficult and tiring a lot of the time, but it is also miraculous and empowering. I had a difficult pregnancy because of the circumstanced and my resulting heightened level of stress. That is why I look forward to my next pregnancy (even though it is still several years away), because being a mother is what I want to do. There is nothing wrong or unsuccessful about giving up a traditional job to take care of your own child, when you can. Sadly the lifestyle that I am living and want to fulfill even further as my life goes on is not a lifestyle that is talked about as being a proper choice for women today (but that a whole other post in itself). Again I find myself moving away from what is “culturally acceptable,” and moving towards what is in my heart.