Agility. Now that’s a good word. Agility is a word that precisely describes motherhood. Maybe I’m grabbing the low-hanging fruit here. Great, another blog about how challenging motherhood is. You’re skeptical. That’s good. I like that. I’m a bit of a cynic myself. Read on, doubting reader, and maybe I’ll surprise you.
First, there’s the physical agility of the sex that results in pregnancy. Some women pour over apps and timers and thermometers and calendars to get the timing just right. Some don’t. I enjoy sex. I don’t want to NOT enjoy sex. So it didn’t work for me to stress over timing. And frankly, I don’t often want exceptionally agile sex. It’s more “hey, we got some time to kill” and less “I want to rock your body all night long” these days. But there’s still the removing of clothing, the positioning, increased heart rate, heavy breathing, and climax. Straightforward, but you could call it agile.
Then there’s the making of the human. I learned more about my body during pregnancy than I ever learned from my mother or from any health class. (Not that I’m lobbying for pregnancy as a teaching method for young girls. I mean, it would be effective, but probably too impractical.) And for the most part, the female body’s agility during pregnancy is purely a result of evolution. In other words, we really have no control over how agile we are during pregnancy. I mean, I suppose you can “train” for pregnancy and childbirth. Go to yoga, eat healthy, meditate, seek the wisdom of women who have gone before. All that. Sure. But when it comes right down to it, ultimately our bodies already come equipped with the agility to grow a human. It can put all the pieces together, and then eject that human. Nature already perfected the female baby factory line. No assembly required. Innate agility.
Then there’s the birth of the human. Agility doesn’t even begin to cover what is required for getting a bowling ball out of the body. Since there are no bowling ball sized holes in the body, quite a bit of ‘sensation’ is involved. Those strong ‘sensations’ require quite a bit of mental agility to conquer. Or maybe just equally strong medicine. Either way, being agile of mind is necessary. I worked hard on the mental part. I was sure I could visualize my way to a pain free childbirth. There would be soothing music in the background, candles lit everywhere, a warm bath, the scent of lavender and orange blossom in the air. I would close my eyes for the contractions. The silvery sweat glistening in the candlelight and the flush of my cheeks would be picturesque. A few moans, a little pushing and out she would pop, right into my arms. We’d look at each other lovingly and then high five. I meditated on it. I visualized it. I dreamed of it. I wrote about it. My mind was PREpared. Unfortunately almost none of that happened. My water broke at 8:30 pm and my daughter was born at 10:25 pm. 2 hours. No time for baths or candles or glistening sweat. By the time my mind caught up with reality she was already in my arms. But I will say those were probably the most agile two hours of my life and I’ve done triathlons. Agility? I’d say childbirth is downright acrobatic.
Finally, there’s the raising of the human. Again, agile falls short as a description here. For a mother, in the south especially, there’s pressure. Pressure from moms, pressure from friends, pressure from partners, pressure from jobs. All coming from different angles and all with different needs. And of course, the needs of the child factor in somewhere. There’s the breastfeeding. and then the breastfeeding. and then the breastfeeding……and then yes, you guessed it, there’s the breastfeeding. Little humans need to eat almost 24 hours a day. And if you are feeding them from your body they are spending almost 24 hours a day attached to said body. Now, it doesn’t take a gymnast to breastfeed a child. You have to be really good at sitting and really good at watching Netflix. Assuming there’s no latching problems (didn’t learn about those until after she was born) and no food sensitivities (oh yes, they can be allergic to the food YOU eat) and no milk production problems (nature can sometimes be it’s own worst enemy and for various reasons shut down milk production for mom) and you have nothing you want to do in life besides sit on the couch and watch Parks and Recreation, well then breastfeeding is a dream. No agility needed whatsoever. Mental or physical. (….and all the moms in the room laughed)
Raising a human, for a mom, is, as I’ve learned from my mom, never-ending. There are physical challenges and mental challenges. Best case scenario, you have to be agile to do it. But in reality, you have to be an absolute powerhouse to do it…and do it well. Will the human grow regardless of your energy? Yes, for the most part. Will the human be a human no matter how agile you are? Most definitely. Motherhood is (apart from the necessary physical parts) a choice. We choose to be present. We choose to feel crazy. We choose the sleepless nights and the snot and the slobber and the spit up. We choose to be agile. And we are. We are agile. We prepare. We teach our kids yoga, and how to eat healthy, and how to seek the wisdom from those that have gone before. We love them. And love is a thing with unlimited agility.