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I have been delivered. To myself, to motherhood. Through an epic test of physical endurance, faith in body and soul. I have been delivered. I find myself now presented with the daily meditation of a heart busting to full: a mother’s love for her child. I find each hour presenting new challenges to my own sense of trust in my own capacity to provide safety, health, and love for him, my son. My son. My son.

Labor, there is a reason is it called this. It is the hardest physical work we, women, will most likely complete in our lives, and the most gratifying. These words have been written, sung, said thousands of time but cannot be truly understood until the fires of this process have been felt by each of us making the transformation complete. Mothers are forged by this heat, we are not mothers before we begin the process, yet we are mothers on the other side. The metamorphosis is complete, all lenses through which we viewed our experience shattered by the intensity. We then are left to shape our new identity according to this new love we’ve found for ourselves, our bodies, and our children.

I’ve been delivered, and I’ve arrived lighter in mind as I cast off the judgment I so naively cast towards mothers who make decisions I didn’t understand: cesarean section, formula feedings, circumcision. I name three areas of righteousness I no longer hold to my heart, others are falling by the proverbial wayside as I continue down this new, frightening path. I too now wear, proudly, the scar that birthed my son. In the wee hours of the night when my own breasts could not, would not, feed him, I turned to a bottle of synthetics to quiet his screams. And eight short days after we met, fell in love, I handed him to my husband who allowed him to be cut as the entrance fee into the tribe we call our own. I am not righteous any longer, I am proud.

I had no idea of the true nature of this cult of motherhood I was entering. I longingly stood at the gates, peering in as my friends entered one by one each with their own path to tread and experience to share. I had great plans, as we often do, of how my entry would be different: calm, mindful, informed, healthy. And yet life presented me with exactly what I needed, and we were both delivered, safely, on the other side.

The first week of my young son’s life and mine as a new mother was the hardest of my life thus far. How blessed we will both be if life allows this to remain true. My heart expands each day, tears and milk flowing in abundance now as I do my best to meet him where he needs me. Here, with him. This is where I want to be. Nowhere else. Thank you, sweet boy of mine, for helping me to be delivered to this place where love knows no bounds. My body is strong, my heart open, and my eyes and breasts, flowing with the nectar of motherhood.

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