When Birthday Has A Whole New Meaning

Peatuk is currently in bed, taking his usual after-breakfast nap. He is so sweet when he sleeps. Lately he is on his back with his arms flung up by his ears and his lips making that little quivering hint of suckling occasionally.

We woke him up with “Happy Birthday,” and “Честит рожден ден.” Of course, he didn’t really understand it all, but he seemed happy and excited. He liked the poem that his father recited for him to grow up big and tall. Other than that, it was life as normal.

It is hard to believe that an entire year has passed since the little bug was born. He was so tiny a year ago, and even though he could do pretty much nothing, he was the coolest person in the world. But now. Now! He has learned to laugh and to inspire others to laugh. Seriously- at one year old he has decided it is his mission to create laughter. How can I not love him?

He is almost walking. He is far away from talking, but he loves to babble. He is curious. He is joyful. He is honesty wrapped in baby fresh skin. He is amazing.

I want to take this day- blustery with just a hint of snowflakes- to celebrate my little person. However, there is another part of the whole birthday that, as a mother, is still fresh in my mind.

I found birth to be somewhat traumatic for me. I try not to label it as trauma, because I want to have a second child some day and with that label I can never let the amazing human mind work to forget the pain and intensity of birth. However, yesterday and today I can’t help but think about the exhaustion and desperation I felt after nearly an hour of active pushing. After throwing up twice. How, just moments before he was born, I was laying there, ready to surrender, sure I could not finish the act of giving birth. How I looked at Nikola, ready to say I was done. I have never felt as much shame and sadness as that moment, just before it was over, as when I thought there was nothing that could make me keep going. And there wasn’t. The final push was given externally- the full weight of the doctor on my stomach.

It isn’t guilt that I feel about his birth. It is something else altogether. But remembering back to that day I feel scared and weak. I do not feel empowered or any of this, “miracle of birth,” that I am supposed to feel.

Thankfully, the love I feel for him is much stronger than the anxiety I feel over that moment. The panic comes, but I have him to hold and play with and it goes again. In years, I will learn to forget it, and this day will be only about this amazing little being that is going to love the world with such whirlwind passion. 

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