I quit.

Four years ago today, I waited. I waited, and I waited some more. It’s a story I love telling. December 27th was Chet’s official due date. My intuition told me he would arrive early, and yet I was still pregnant on his due date. Little did I know that I had two more weeks to go.

Chet does things when he is ready. He is stubborn. His will is strong.

Giving birth to Chet will always be a defining moment in my life. In so many ways, his birth defined my entire approach to life. In between contractions, my hands had gone numb, and I looked at my doula with desperation. I can’t do this. She refocused my breath. She calmed me down. Minutes later I saw my baby for the first time.

Raising him hasn’t been easy. He does things when he is ready. He is stubborn. His will is strong.

As we approach his fourth birthday, I’ve had more moments of defeat than success. I’ve wanted to quit more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve reached out to friends when my head feels numb, and I feel full of desperation. I can’t do this. I refocus on my breath, I calm down, and minutes later he is the most loving child.

 
In the days leading up to Chet’s birth, I questioned myself. What am I doing wrong? What more can I do to prepare him for birth? In the weeks after he was born in the midst of many weeks defined by colic, I questioned myself.  What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I comfort my baby? In the middle of his toddler years, I am still questioning myself. What am I doing wrong? When will he be easy?

But Chet isn’t easy. He is stubborn. His will is strong.

I quit. I quit motherhood. I have failed as his mother. What am I doing wrong? I can’t do this.

These statements have haunted me since Chet became part of my world. I suspect they will haunt me for many, many more years. I’ve been embarrassed by these thoughts. I’ve gone to bed defeated.

Today something changed. Maybe wanting to quit isn’t a sign of failure. Perhaps wanting to quit is proof that I’m giving it my all. Maybe wondering where I have failed is proof that I desperately want to get this right. Chet isn’t easy. He is stubborn, and his will is strong. His heart is full of fire. His heart is full of fire just like my heart craves to be the best mom possible for him. I want to make growing up easy for him. I want to be his safety net. I want to fill him with so much love, he never questions himself. I don’t ever want him to wonder if he has failed or to think he can’t do something.

In the moments after I admit that I can’t do this, my body relaxes. I remember to breathe. Maybe, just maybe, it is Chet who is teaching me that I can do anything. Maybe he is the one who is teaching me that I can’t fail. And hopefully one day this child of mine who is stubborn and strong willed will approach life full of heart and determination because he already knows life isn’t easy. He already has his fight.

Together we can conquer anything. I can be his heart, and he can be my fire. 

  

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