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S is for Strength

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(This post is part of the “Blog Crawl of Self-Love” hosted by Molly Mahar of Stratejoy.  Find out more about The ABC’s of Self Love Blog Crawl + Treasure Hunt here.)

I waited a long time to have my first child, which according to many of the doctors I saw meant my age was counted in dog years.

“Mrs. Slim,” they said, “because you are of advanced maternal age we need to do some special tests.”

“Good lord,” I thought, “I am 38, not 76.”

Despite my ancient status, I had a relatively healthy pregnancy. I endured the 9-month morning sickness that was legendary for the women in my family. I even flew back and forth between the Bay Area and Phoenix every single week of my pregnancy when I was finishing up a big consulting project. I waddled through the airport like a trooper, determined to not let a little thing like a gigantic stomach deter me from my work.

I wanted to have a natural birth. I was convinced that Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she wired us up to have babies. I also felt kind of cocky about my ability to handle pain and challenge.

I had been a hard-core martial artist for over ten years. I had my faced smashed into the floor during a sparring session by  large Brazilian men and had come up swinging. I had been knocked out by a kick to the face.  I had traveled alone in dangerous places.

Childbirth, I decided, would leverage my warrior tendencies.

When the time came, labor started relatively gently, with contractions that felt like small pressure. We headed to the hospital.

I was slightly worried when the doula I had hired to help decided to take the night off. My husband and I bravely looked each other in the eyes and decided that the Lamaze classes we had dutifully taken would do the trick. I would grasp his hand as he wiped my brow lovingly with a wet washcloth. We would do that cute breathing thing that they show in the movies. How hard could it be, really?

And then, transition labor hit.

All quaint ideas about being a warrior were pushed aside as a freight train began to rush through my body. The force was incomprehensible. It was so far beyond my ability to manage or control that I was stunned.

In the fight for my life between breaths, all I could think of was “Are you telling me that billions of women have gone through this and survived?” I could not believe that no one had told me that within the quiet throngs of mothers the world over, since the beginning of time, they had demonstrated Herculean strength. I was in awe.

Thankfully, transition labor did its job and my son Josh made his way into the world quickly.

The movies were right on this part — as soon as he was in the doctor’s arms, I felt elated, a gigantic rush of love and joy.

I had just run a triathalon, fought a war and created a masterpiece, all in a matter of hours.

All of that strength was inside, but it was totally different than I thought it would be.  Instead of carefully controlling the situation and believing I could power through it, I gave up in glorious surrender to the much larger heartbeat of Mother Nature. Surrender and trust were my pathway to doing the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

We are all capable of so many things. We can endure challenge, tragedy and heartbreak and come out clearer, stronger and more loving on the other end.

Trust yourself.

Thanks again Molly for inviting me to be a part of your Blog Crawl of Self Love! I had fun reliving this story. The crazy thing is I did it again with my daughter Angela. :) Check out all the wonderful posts written by fellow blog sisters and find out about Molly’s Fierce Love Course here: http://www.stratejoy.com/fierce-love-course/

 

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12 Responses to “S is for Strength”

  1. [...] S is for Strength by Pamela Slim: “We are all capable of so many things. We can endure challenge, tragedy and heartbreak and come out clearer, stronger and more loving on the other end. Trust yourself.” [...]

  2. [...] Whomever predicted, “you’ll feel deliciously creative, warrior strong, and ready to conquer my dreams” was right.  (Here’s looking at you, Pam Slim!) [...]

  3. [...] kind of reminded me of giving birth. Nothing prepares you for the enormity of the experience until you live through [...]

  4. [...] S is for Strength by Pam Slim“We are all capable of so many things. We can endure challenge, tragedy and heartbreak and come out clearer, stronger and more loving on the other end. Trust yourself.” [...]

  5. WOW!!! Absolutely!!

    I think we do not realize the Strength that we all have deep within…I have heard over over people talk about other people’s difficult situations and tell themselves, “I would never be able to handle that….”.

    At the point when my sister had 5 kids (she now has 6!!!), she was telling me about a story she read about a mom who raising a handicap child…She was telling me, “This woman is amazing, I don’t think I would be able to deal with something like that”.

    Well, when she was pregnant with her 6th child at the age of 40, she was told that she would have a downsyndrome baby, I mean they literally showed her the photos, (I can not remember all the medical terms right now) her baby would probably be a very high case, where he would remain needing constant assistance all his life. My sister was given the option of an abortion at 6 months pregnancy. She was actually told, it would not be fair to go through with this.

    Guess what, she refused the abortion!!!! There was no way she could ever think of letting go of her baby, the strength she had through this news and raising her child was such a beautiful wonderful thing….

    My sister had such a strength within her and truly believed that her child could be “normal”…she gave birth to healthy little boy…to this day, I tryly believe that her strength and her strength in what she believed and faith, is why little Giovanni ( 2 years old today), is a perfect “normal”, healthy boy!!

  6. Julica says:

    Thank you, Pam. Exactly what I needed to read today. Surrender is the name of the post-perfectionist game!

  7. [...] Strength: “Surrender and trust were my pathway to doing the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.” [...]

  8. Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Tat says:

    Surrender is an S word, too!

  10. fas says:

    Strength matters alot, we need to have that all the time. I remember how weakness can ruin productivity and make you feel so low at times.

  11. lilalia says:

    Loved this post. I remember my older sister going through the same sort of illusion heading into her first labor. Afterwards she said someone should have told her, “Prepare, you are now going to be hit by a bus, now a train, now a bus, now a train…”. Thankfully, she and my nephew came through the experience well. When it came to the second labour, she said she barely waited to get through the hospital door before yelling, “epidermal!”. Not everyone’s choice obviously, but she did better with the experience the second time around.

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