Post by Still Standing Contributor Angela Miller of A Bed For My Heart
It doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. It means boldly staring fear in the face and declaring, fear will not win.
Not this time.
You’re doing this. No matter what. And I know you know how many panic-attack-inducing-pee-your-pants-break-your-heart scenarios can trade places with what.
But you’re doing this anyway. Again.
Despite your fear, despite your second-guessing. Despite your broken heart. Despite that, you’re not “healed” from last time and never will be. Despite the flashbacks and panic attacks drenched in sweat that still wake you up in the middle of the night from your empty arms still searching, pleading, begging, aching to be filled with the only child who can gild the cracks of your broken heart. Despite that, you’re not sure you trust your body anymore. Despite that, the God you used to believe in still feels like a cruel stranger. Despite the fact that it could happen all over again. Despite that, you have no control over the outcome. Despite that, all you can do is hope beyond hope that the stats will stack in your favor by filling your arms with a miraculous crying baby at the end of these long nine months.
You are beautifully, beautifully brave.
How I wish I could tell you – you are guaranteed this. You should be — but you and I both know there are no guarantees. There is only now.
And you’ve got this now. This, I know.
In your broken places is where your real strength lies. Where you’ve cracked open is where you’re ever strong. It’s where the light shines through. It’s why you shine. It’s where your fearless mama courage roars even when it’s only whispering or barely breathing in-between choking sobs. It’s the birthplace of your sacred strength.
You glow pregnant with new life, but also pregnant with love, with bravery, and with the fierce determination of a soul that knows suffering yet refuses to roll over and surrender.
Fear will not win. Not now, not ever.
Even in the whispers of the night, from the trenches of your tear-soaked pillow, your courage roars. Even when you feel like you’ll never make it another step forward, your courage roars. Even when the panic of sheer fear is overtaking your body, your courage roars. Even when you can barely speak your truth because terror has clasped your mouth shut again — your courage roars. You roar like a lioness pacing her den, keeping careful watch over her cubs. You roar with the fiercely tender love that is quintessentially mother.
Despite the risks, you’ve chosen love again. Despite the odds, you’ve chosen to breathe life — again. And for some, this isn’t the first time. You’ve accepted it again and again and again. That’s courage. You are choosing to let your heart beat to the drum of hope and love even though the clanging of fear often rings louder and truer.
You deserve this.
All of it.
The pregnancy glow, the joy of feeling your baby move within you, the burgeoning hopes and dreams, the new beginnings, the sacredness of carrying new life, the birthing of more love. More hope. More healing.
You deserve this widening of your family circle and the widening of your broken, mending heart. You deserve the blessings that are raining down on you now. Let them soak you through.
This baby was sent to offer you a gift. Take it. It’s meant especially for you.
Swim wholeheartedly in the sacred sea of life. Allow hope to buoy you up like a lifeboat. When the waves of grief threaten to drown you, tread water and keep breathing like it’s your job. Let the anxiety, fear, and sorrow flow right through you. Cry. It’s as healing as healing is. And remember to make room for the beauty of this very moment. And the next. And everyone that follows.
The time is now, sweet mama. It’s the only guarantee. The secret is just to be. Right here, right now — with your baby.
You can do this. You already are.
Alchemize this pregnancy into a never-before-written love story between you and your precious baby. Say yes to what is beautifully healing, say no to what is not. Make room for gorgeous new memories to bloom alongside the old. Fill this time with as much hope as you can muster, infuse it with anything and everything that makes your grieving heart smile and massages your baby with laughter and joy. Joy is not a betrayal, it’s your birthright, and it’s your baby’s too. Once you allow yourself to taste it again wholeheartedly I promise it will be sweeter than it ever has been.
You deserve the blessings that are raining down on you now. All of them, let them soak you through.
The time is now is now is now is now.
Courage, n. It doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. It means boldly staring fear straight in the face and roaring, and fear will not win. Not now, not ever.
Love will. And love never dies.
Roar on, courageous mama. Roar on.
This essay originally appeared here on the blog Stillborn & Still Breathing.
Photo credit: Sarah Hrudka