In September 2015, when I was just about ten weeks pregnant, I wondered through Paper Source. Paper Source is a happy place of sorts for me. It’s like Anthropologie, Crate and Barrel or a really good book store. It’s a place I can get lost in. A play ground for my creative and girly mind.
On that particular day, I was on a mission to find a notebook.
I wanted a place to document my new pregnancy. I wanted to write little notes to this baby. Keep notes on my cravings or names were were considering in case someday I can’t remember those things. I even had hope to keep this notebook up through the baby’s first year. I had visions of notes about the first real belly laugh, the first word, their favorite toys, whatever.
Fanning the blank pages of the many notebooks available trying to find the right one, I stared at the wall of journals. There were larges ones and notebooks that could fit in a back pocket. Cute patterns and colors. Some were even designed by my girls, Lilly and Kate.
I thought I had finally settled on one. It was nice, cute enough and would do the trick. But, then, while I was at the checkout a notebook from a shelf behind the counter caught my eye.
It was colorful, a little boho with it’s doodled florals, and the front read, “Be Filled With Joy” in curly script. Exactly how I had felt since I heard the strong heart beat at the doctor’s office a few weeks earlier. Completely full to the brim with joy.
One problem: I picked up the notebook and noticed it was kind of broken.
The front cover was loose and the spine was cracked. I held it, thinking about the flaws, but despite them it was my favorite of the bunch. I loved it. It was perfect for me and perfect for what I needed it for.
Through my pregnancy it served me well. I wrote in it somewhat often. Enough that a year later, it is a lot of fun to look back on and it brings back moments that I would have otherwise forgotten.
In looking back, I noticed that my complete entries stop on April 19, two days before Theo arrived.
After the 19th there is only one more entry from over three weeks later on May 11. But, this entry is incomplete.
The entry on the eleventh is me trying to tell the story of Theo’s birth and first few weeks down on paper. But, I never finished it. In fact, it stops mid sentence.
In comparison to the love, detail and completeness of the other entries, this is strange. But, knowing what I know now, I know why this happened.
I know why I didn’t finish the story.
Like the notebook, like the entry, like the sentence, I was broken.
I was recovering from being broken in half to bring Theo into this world through an emergency c-section after a long, tumultuous labor experience. I was in the hospital for ten days in my attempts to give birth and due to complications from it all.
This left me emotionally broken because I felt so betrayed by my body. I had always considered myself a highly capable woman. I was able to do anything I put my mind to. But, I couldn’t give birth to my child.
Being robbed of the birth experience I had dreamed of and the first sweet couple of weeks at home, left me bluesy. And, coming to terms with the fact that had I given birth one hundred years ago, Theo and I would have not made it. This was- and still is- so hard to comprehend.
But, time really does heal all wounds. Even the ones that leave scars you can’t see. And, I while I know I did heal, I am not the same.
Not even close.
While there were parts that were not great, I also have been broken in all the right ways. And, it’s not just me. All mother’s are. Motherhood is life altering. Our values, beliefs, habits and more change overnight. We are thrust into the hardest job ever requiring selflessness… and very little sleep.
A few months ago I learned about “kintsugi.” It is the Japanese art of repairing broken dishes or other ceramics with gold. I was so intrigued by the look, highlighting the flaws. I loved the philosophy of taking something that might have been considered wrecked, but making it more beautiful than before.
Hearing more about the technique and looking at images of pottery fused back to their original appearance by jagged gold lines, I could see myself.
I had been shattered. Wrecked. Broken. My world completely rocked. But, what was left behind was able to be put back together in a way that made everything even more beautiful.
Motherhood is full of hard, even ugly moments. Moments like those challenging first few weeks for me and Theo. But, ask any mom, and they will tell you it’s the most beautiful thing they have ever done.
I know I was fused back together with gold just like one of those Japanese bowls because being a mom has made my whole life more beautiful and whole. It brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined. It made me love from a place that I never knew existed. It has made me strive to be the best “me” more than I ever have.
But, I also know that when I was put back together, it wasn’t perfect.
A piece of my heart never made it back in.
Instead, it now walks with a little boy and it will forever and ever.