I felt streamlined- On My Motherhood Evolution and a Challenge to You to Be Bold!

As I walked into the hospital with my baby snugly wrapped to my chest in my oh-so-cute Mei Tai, with my sleek and stylish diaper bag slung diagonally across us both, I took notice of the barrage of tired mamas who exited the same doors with weary looks on their faces. Most of them struggled to lug their baby's carseat/carrier along with a diaper bag and a purse and many of them held a large case with an expensive breast pump or tried to balance a bottle.

My heart went out to them. I had once been a new mama and had walked through these same doors lugging my first baby with all of his paraphernalia into the hospital's lactation group (which was then run by an IBCLC who changed my life!). I had no clue what I was doing and I was tired.

Now as I observed these ladies, and compared myself against my own former reality, I felt… streamlined. I am no longer that wide-eyed mama with not a clue of what to do or what is “acceptable” to try with my baby. I have had three kids to practice on- I am in my baby groove and have found what works (as well as anything really can in the “baby stage”) for us. I'm better about bringing what I think we will actually need, instead of the whole house. As long as I have my Mei Tai, a handful of diapers, a few wipes, a wet bag, a set of PJs (just in case my babe is in need of a quick change), and, of course, my boobs- we're good! Now granted, I usually have a few other things along with us, but if I have the above list I know that we really can survive an outing without too much trouble.


It Didn't Happen Overnight
My evolution as a mother to a baby started small… and silly, really. When I was pregnant I didn't really know that I was on the cusp of diving headlong into a life defined by bold choices. I had always had a rather bold personality and hadn't been shy about standing up for my convictions, but in terms of motherhood I found myself, for really the first time in my life, not knowing what convictions to even have to be brazen about. I had taken the general hospital-run classes on birth and babies and kind of just figured I would do what other people did because that is just how it's done!

Why I thought I would do things just like everyone else did when I never really had before about anything else in my life, I don't know, but I suppose it was because I didn't even know there were other options at the time. I. Was. Clueless!

Can I tell you a secret? Do you want to know why I wanted to have a natural birth the first time around? It certainly wasn't because I had done my research about painkillers in birth and felt like I was making an informed choice for my baby to not be exposed to medications! No sir! It wasn't even because I had taken a
high-quality birthing class that had exposed me to thoughts on natural birth and I wanted to be all noble! Nope. The real reason- I didn't want to be catherized.

I am not even kidding! The entire catalyst for my ultimately encompassing journey into all things “natural mothering” began with my desire to avoid having a tube shoved into my bladder while I was trying to push out a baby! I wish I could say it was more noble than that, but it wasn't.

My desire for a natural, uncatherized 😉 birth is what lead me to hire a doula, which turned into two doulas… and really there began the litany of women (mostly) who, I believe, God put in my path to lead me down a better road for motherhood than I had been planning for myself. I can literally give you specific names of the women God has used over my years of motherhood to introduce me to almost every one of the ideas I (with my husband's approval… if not immediately then eventually- he's no fool!) ended up investigating, and ultimately embracing, on this motherhood journey.


I can pinpoint the moment that natural birth became more than avoiding a catheter, the day I was challenged to research vaccines before blindly conforming to a schedule, the lactation consultant who told me to put my baby in my bed with me and started a passion in me for breastfeeding… and so it went with cloth diapering, potty training, using natural cleaning and bodycare productsq, becoming a doula, choosing to homebirth, how to homeschool, how to be a true keeper of my home, (now) using essential oils, and on and on and on…

And (obviously) I'm still learning- I'm in the midst of the most intense mothering season of my life! Yes, have my husband and I pretty much figured out how our family does the baby thing? Mostly. But we are also constantly re-researching our choices, refining them and honing our baby skills. At the same time we are also entering entirely new parenting territory as our boys get older- figuring out the most effective discipline style for our family, deciding how to impart responsibility and develop character, continuing in our homeschool journey and so much more! I pray for, hope for and am even starting to see some of the women popping up into our life who I think will play a large part in impacting this next chapter.


What am I getting at?

So why do I tell you all this? What's the point? Well, the point certainly isn't about doing everything naturally (I've been known to dole out the over the counter cough medicine or sling back a few Oreos!) and it's far from about doing everything perfectly (goodness gracious- let's not even go there!)!

What I really want is two-fold. First, I want to encourage and even dare you, mamas, to be bold. Dare to go against the parenting stream. Pray, seek and notice if God is showing you a different way of doing things than you had initially planned or expected, or do all that same searching to affirm you are still on His path. Do your research- educate yourself! Figure out the “why's” behind all the things that you do. Step out of your comfort zone. Learn from the fellow mothers God brings into your life- even if they don't do everything you would do, you can still learn from them. Whether they be mentors or women you can just do life with, they are abundantly valuable to our growth and boldness.

The second thing I want to encourage all of you mamas to do is to graciously share your story. Take a moment to remember all those women who God has brought into your life so far to teach you about mothering and be that for someone else. Whether it be over coffee, during a playdate, writing on your blog or even teaching a class about something you are passionate about- share your story. Simply sharing how your choices have formed and shaped your life, and how God has worked through them, is so impactful and such a gracious and gentle (read- non-judgemental) way of encouraging other mamas. You just don't know the far reaching influence your story can have- you may never know- but it's exciting all the same. Just be honest and real and transparent.


What Next?

Personally, I want to be one of those women who God uses to encourage and impact other mama's motherhood journeys. Whether that means helping mamas become educated about all of their options in motherhood (from birth, to school, to healthcare and beyond) or simply encouraging mamas who are well along in their journey to also share and be impactful with other moms (or even just openly and honestly sharing where I'm at and what I'm struggling with)- I want to start a bold motherhood revolution! I want to see mamas being unafraid to be the mamas that Jesus has designed them specifically to be and fervent about making the best choices for their families, even when that means swimming against the tide (which inherently implies work).

It's not an easy call- this one to Bold & Gracious Motherhood. Most of you are already well on your way there (much father than even me!), but wherever you are, I am deeply looking forward to sharing in this journey with you. I know the word “revolution” sounds crazy big, but even with that being my ultimate goal, I'm going to start small. I'm just going to start by sharing with you my own little journey and how God used all those amazing women to change the trajectory of our family's life. And just for fun I'll throw in some of the “why's” and “how's” of what I do as a mama, ya know, just in case you're curious!

Won't you join me? Please share a comment or even write a blog post and leave the link in a comment about your own bold and gracious motherhood and the women who have helped shape it!

Now, go-

Be Bold & Gracious!

 

 

 

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