As A Mother Comforts Her Child
I was not excited when I found out I was pregnant.
In fact, I remember staring at the five pregnancy tests in our tiny apartment in Texas trying very unsuccessfully to not fall in a panic attack. All I could think as I saw that plus sign in front of me was, “I can’t do this. Not now. I am not ready. I need more time.”
Time is a funny, frustrating, beautiful, stressful thing when you are pregnant. It can bring about moments of joy. It can bring about moments of despair.
The time it takes to schedule your first OB appointment and confirm your pregnancy.
The time between that first appointment and your 20 week anatomy scan.
The time between 36-40 weeks where everything hurts, and you just want a smooth labor and delivery.
For me, the time I was pregnant was not smooth. It was not beautiful and perfect, and I was not glowing like everyone said I would. I was anxious, I was depressed, I was throwing up daily, I was tired, and I was feeling absolute guilt for not having nine months’ worth of time where all I did was bask in the beauty of my pregnancy.
How funny and frustrating, beautiful and stressful it was for me those nine months. But then my water broke. And I knew from that moment that it was only a matter of time before I finally met our daughter.
It felt like too much time between my water breaking and meeting her. It felt like too much time to go through 31+ hours of labor and then almost four hours of pushing. It felt like time would never cut me a break; I would be pregnant forever, laboring forever, pushing forever because time just didn’t want to let me get to the finish line.
But then on that snowy Saturday morning, we met our daughter.
After all the aches, pains, and physical ailments that those nine months introduced me to, I finally felt like now it was time for them to all go away. Now was the time that everyone told me I would finally feel like myself again. Now it was the time that I would finally be happy again and my body wouldn’t be in pain anymore.
But then time started up again after those blissful moments of holding our baby. And time was not kind. It was still frustrating, and stressful. And I felt utterly betrayed.
I felt betrayed by the mothers who told me that this time now with my daughter would be incredible and amazing. Instead, my body was suffering from the trauma of birth, and it took time – at that moment what felt like too much time – for me to finally start to see that I would get better, that I would bond with my beautiful daughter.
Pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and motherhood are all moved forward by time. It captures us and sometimes makes us feel like we cannot escape, that there is no break, no recapturing of who we used to be, because time seems to keep on moving forward with or without us. The time I was pregnant and this new time of postpartum has taught me that motherhood, life, and raising a child are not all about that glow we often see splashed across our social media timelines.
If anything, time has taught me that the best things, the most beautiful things, they aren’t always glorious. Sometimes they are sad. Sometimes they are painful. But that doesn’t mean that time isn’t important, or doesn’t hold any value for us.
I am finally moving towards a place where I look back at my pregnancy, I look back at those first few months postpartum, and I am able to finally reconcile that time and all that it brought me through. I am able to realize that there is no guilt, no shame, no failure in experiencing the time of your pregnancy and your child’s birth with emotions that range from joy to sadness.
Time has taught me that every moment, no matter what it brought me too, has allowed me to step just a little closer to discovering myself as a mother, discovering my daughter as she grows, and discovering the complexity as well as the often simple moments that mark our journeys as mothers.
Maybe I did need more time before I became a mom. Maybe my time pregnant could have been happier. Maybe my time in labor and delivery could have been shorter and less painful and traumatic.
All I know now and moving forward is that time will not leave me behind. She will wait for me, she will hold me, she will comfort me as a mother comforts their child, and she will teach about the funny, the frustrating, the beautiful, and the stressful parts of becoming a mother.
Vanesa Zuleta Goldberg has been working with young people in the Catholic Church for over 14 years. She received her Bachelors in Theology from Providence College and her Masters in Theology and Ministry from Boston College. She has worked as a Diocesan Director, Speaker, Worship leader, and Writer for several online and paper publications. She lives now in New York with her husband, their two dogs, and their newborn daughter, where she works as a Digital Communications Specialist. She is passionate about empowering young people, social justice, and living out the liberation message of the Gospel.