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Parenting

Motherhood the Sacred

Motherhood the Sacred

I’m a realist about most things. I tend to look through the mumbo jumbo of picture-perfect parenthood and the ever-present social media imprint of never flustered, endlessly creative mom bloggers. I take it all with a grain of salt, as the world we live in is quick to encourage impossible standards of motherhood. We’re told to get back to pre-baby weight in the first year, we’re told breastfeeding is the only way to ensure a healthy, well-adjusted child, we’re told we need to be chefs and party planners and problem solvers. We’re told that we want for nothing and will be selfless pillars of stability and sacrifice.

I think we can all agree that these tropes are tired and ridiculous and none of us will ever fulfill them so let’s all please stop breaking our collective backs. There’s a lot of expectation placed on us from outside sources which we internalize. However, pushing all that slop away, there is something universal that remains within.

Motherhood is a transformational, beautiful, sacred experience that no advertiser can bottle, no Instagram feed can filter, and no judgmental stranger (or family member) can belittle. You’ve created life. I know we’ve all said that before and heard it said to us, but really think about that for a moment. You. Created. Life.

Sacred may seem like a loaded word for this experience, but I don’t think it’s loaded enough. I don’t care what you weigh, how you feel you look, or whether or not you can cook. You’ve taken on the most enduring, difficult, and beautiful calling there is. You are a mother, and you are the only one who can do what you do for your children. You know them better than anyone, they were once inside of you, pressed against your soft tissues, listening to your heart beat, feeling the warmth of you.

You’ve become a part of something greater, something special, and something shared by women all over this world. In this we are powerful, in this we are fierce. As mothers, we have the ability to soothe upsets, banish fears, protect, love and lead. No matter your age, your beliefs, your background—you are a mother. Not everyone gets this experience, where a tribe of support is interlaced all around you. The energy of other mothers is palpable. We give each other knowing little smiles when we see a kid having a breakdown. We help when the stress is evident by lending an ear or buying a cup of coffee for the mom behind us in line.

You may not have a picture-perfect life, but you have a picture-perfect child. They are quite literally a part of you. So, despite the insecurities that we all bump up against, look at your beautiful children and try and tell me that you are not gorgeous. That reflection you see in their eyes, that adoration and lovely regard, that is you.

So, don’t worry. When you feel alone, discouraged, haggard, there are a million mothers who feel your emotions, your worries, your despairs. They feel you and they see you. This sacred space we now inhabit we can never leave. Even on our worst days, it helps to remember that we are part of something huge, powerful, feminine, and ancient. We are selfless when we have to be and selfish when we need to be without compromising our leadership and grace. In the darkest hours, when you’re sleep-deprived and miserable, you are still the most beautiful thing in the world to the children you’ve created.

Autumn B Follow

Autumn Bettinger is an outdoor-minded momma with a toddler and a lot to learn. She started writing about her experiences as a way to connect to other mothers and inspire them and their kids to get outdoors. Her blog has since evolved into writings about the day-to-day mom life with sprinkles of environmental education. Turns out, she was going to be an incredibly ambitious backpacking mother... before she had a baby. Now it's everything she can do to keep her son from stuffing leaves in his mouth on walks through the dog park.

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