Today is my eldest daughter's birthday and since I'm in a totally life-changing period in my life right at thsi moment I can't help but reflect on what a life-changing moment it was in 1975 when I gave birth to her at Southampton Hospital.
I was only 22 years old when I married my husband. Almost 23, but nevertheless I was young. To find out only a few months after the wedding that I was pregnant was shocking to say the least. I was in no way prepared for that. I'm the type of person who takes their time reading, learning about, and generally being totally in control of every situation I find myself in. I was not prepared for pregnancy. Or parenthood.
In the midst of my trauma I did exactly what I'm doing during my present one: I threw myself into the process of learning everything I could. I read books, I study the LaMaze method (still a fairly new concept back then), I went to classes, I picked my sister-in-law's brain because she was pregnant for the second time then, and I did everything I could to make up for lost time. I immersed myself in the process of pregnancy and childbirth and raising children. Because I needed to feel as though I had some control over this situation! Of course as everyone knows there are some things we have very little control over and childbirth is one of them.
Nevertheless, I thought I was ready. I wasn't. Bringing this precious, perfect baby home from the hospital was terrifying. I had no idea what I was doing. I somehow managed to keep her alive and learned on the job (as most of us do) and my life was forever changed. This tiny being taught me about love in a way I never imagined was possible. I learned what it means to lay down your life for another. I discovered that I was less self-centered than I thought I was and much more tuned into the needs and wants of another. And I learned to suppress my own needs in favor of giving everything I had to her. I was so in love with this child that I gladly had another, and another, and then even one more. Because I knew that just like lighting a new candle with the one I already had, it wouldn't diminish the light from the first, but only add to the glow as each new one was lit.
I'm beyond blessed in my life to have four amazing children. Right now, in this new time of change and trauma, they are my lifeline. I'm indeed warmed by the glow of their flames, which has only grown as they have added even more wonderful people to my family throughout the years.
Yes, August 30th, 1975 was indeed the beginning of my real life. And so it continues today. Happy Birthday little girl!