Today is my birthday! Woot! I am a total child when it comes to my birthday and make a huge fuss about doing only what I want to do…while expecting everyone around me to shower me with love, affection and yummy offerings. Doesn’t that sound fabulous?! Lucky for me, my children think it’s fun because they know it’ll be their turn soon enough (tomorrow for one of them) and oblige. My husband doesn’t necessarily find it as fun or endearing, but he obliges me because..well, I’m awesome and he loves me. 🙂
I have lots of different ideas for a post today. I thought about sharing all the things I like about myself because that seems like a cool way to celebrate me, right? I also thought about exploring my own birth and my mom, because it’s fascinating to me. Last, I can’t think about my birthday anymore without thinking about my daughter’s birth day, because it’s the day after mine. So, I think I’ll just do a little bit of all three!
Talking about why we think we’re awesome seems to be a taboo subject. Why? Is self-love only acceptable when done in private? Where is the line (or is there even a line?) between confidence, appreciation in/of one’s self and conceit? I don’t have these answers, but I know that I don’t always share my accomplishments (except with those closest to me) or admit just how great I think I am (except in a joking manner), because I don’t want to come off as conceited or full of myself. But shouldn’t I be “full of” myself, especially if I’ve worked hard and that hard work paid off? Who knows! Here are some things I like about me:
1. I am beautiful ~ I was tempted to leave this one out, or tuck it in between two other things, precisely because of the above paragraph. But then, how would that be honest? I am beautiful. I am beautiful partially because of good genetics (thanks mom and dad!), but mostly because I feel beautiful. I don’t look at myself in the mirror and think, “Yep. I am pretty” and I am fairly critical of how I look in pictures (one of my eyes closes more than the other and is kind of wonky). I have a big nose, but it is truly a family nose that many people are able to identify me with…”Ah! You must be an Eyberg!!” Anyway, the point is that there are certain features I’m not enthused about, which tells me that I don’t necessarily think I’m all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips, but I feel beautiful. I don’t know how to describe it other than that. I am, overall, happy with myself. I am a nice person who does nice things and I smile A LOT. I smile at strangers. I even smiled at the grumpy clerk yesterday who wouldn’t let me set my stuff down on his cart while I moved the baby from back to front because he needed to move it… five feet from where I was standing. I think it’s something inside of me that is beautiful and it comes to the outside. I believe, wholeheartedly, that beauty is on the inside, because that is how I feel about myself.
2. I can laugh at myself ~ If you’re my friend on Facebook, you’ve already seen proof of that. If not, too bad for you! Just kidding…here you go:
Oh my goodness…and I thought that was so cool at the time! Don’t judge me. For reals, though, if we take ourselves too seriously life is going to get B-O-R-I-N-G. Besides, I do some funny stuff. There’s the time I ran out to the car in my underwear, only to realize later that there was a HUGE, strategically placed hole. So, I could either cry or laugh. I choose to laugh. And share it on Facebook. 😉
3. I’m passionately active ~ This is one of my favorite qualities about myself! Passion is great, but if there’s no action from the passion…what’s the point? I have moments where I think it would be so much easier to sink into apathy but, usually, it’s right about that moment when I get an email or call from a mama and I am reminded why I do the work I do, why I push so hard for change and why I can’t give up until we have a safe, humane, family friendly maternity care system. Will it happen? I don’t know. I do know ~ without a shadow of a doubt ~ that I can not just sit by and watch until it does. I have to act. I have to help.
There are other things I like about myself too, but I think you get the idea…I’m awesome! I appreciate my life path and look forward to many more years on this journey. It’s been an interesting ride so far.
Moving on, I can’t help but ponder my own birth on this day. I don’t often think of it, because it hasn’t been discussed a lot. I know that I was breech when my mom was “due”, and although my father was gung-ho about having the chiropractor turn me and/or just having me come butt first, my mom was not. She opted for a cesarean. I also know that fathers were not encouraged in the room at the time, something that upset my dad greatly….and something that he refused to adhere to. His child was being born and no one was going to keep him out! Beyond that, I don’t know much. My mom functions in a somewhat altered reality these days, so even though I’m curious, there’s no way for me to know how she really felt.
Did my own tumultuous birth affect the course of my life and is it possible that some of my drive comes from that beginning? I don’t remember it, so I’m not sure. I think about that, though. I also think about my mom…about how she went on to have two VBAC home births and gave me the image of a birth warrior to carry into my own birthing experiences. Did she feel triumphant? Did she mourn the cesarean, especially after having experienced such empowering births with her next children?
My final thoughts today are about my sweet baby girl. We have grown up together, literally. She’s been with me almost half my life….CRAZY! I am scared to death. Of what, I’m not quite sure. Or, maybe it’s that I don’t want to admit my fears. Either way, they’re not coming out just yet.
In just a few hours, I’ll be the mother of a teenager. Eek! How quickly she’s gone from baby to toddler to child to young woman. As she lays here next to me dozing off, I think back to those first moments with her…my entrance into womanhood, into motherhood, into adulthood…they were all rolled into those precious moments. This tiny being was laid on me and I knew my life would never be the same. Even now, so many years later, that second is still so real, so visceral. It’s rare that I look at her and see anyone but who she is now, but I feel it. I feel the deeply ingrained love that sometimes moves me to tears. I don’t love anybody the way I love my children. And she was the first. She and I learned about life together, we taught each other.
Happy Birth Days to me. 🙂