Letters from a Learning Mother

The Momma Lion In Me

The Momma Lion in me came to life two months ago as I discovered strength and courage I didn’t know I possessed. But I didn’t find it all within.

I went into the birthing room overdue, as prepared as it’s possible to be, and so very ready. In the weeks leading up to the night Ellis was born, I kept waking up with three sentences fresh in my mind:

“I am strong. I am not alone. I was made for this.”

When the time finally came, I welcomed the contractions as they came in waves, knowing they were doing their job in helping my body make way for my son to enter the world. As they continually increased in intensity, I only once doubted that I had what it takes to birth completely naturally. I went from two centimeters to fully dilated within about three hours, which basically means that those contractions were definitely no joke.

At one point during labor, a thought suddenly crept into my mind – one I had identified as nonsense months before. Still, there was no mistaking, “I’m not sure if I can do this.” had found its way into my thoughts. I wrestled with it for a minute or two, but simultaneously working through contractions proved to be too difficult as I began to feel ashamed of my internal battle. I slowly lifted my eyes to my husband and said, “I don’t even want to say this out loud… but I don’t know if I can do this.”

Matthis’ expression changed immediately. He looked at me with surprised, kind eyes and exclaimed, “Alyssa, you’re doing so great! Of course you can do this! You definitely can!”

And poof, just like that, the thought disappeared and didn’t return. Not even after I had spent close to three hours pushing!

Those three sentences I carried in me proved to be true, but didn’t end up playing out just how I thought they would.

“I am strong.” I found strength in my vulnerability as it caused shame to subside. I found it in the strength Matthis lent me as I leaned on him in every way.

“I am not alone.” I wasn’t, not just because someone was holding my hand, but because WE were becoming a family and each of us were playing our imperative roles in the process.

“I was made for this.” It was as I experienced the miracle of what my body is capable of when it doesn’t need to rely solely on what I carry, that the Momma Lion in me came to life.

Christine Donaldson

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