Edie Plum will be ten months old this week, she’s now at that super physical stage where she wants to be everywhere and do everything. She’s a fierce crawler, not afraid of any new obstacle and wants to keep learning as she cruises along. With the warmer weather and our life expanding to the outdoors, she’s watching her big sisters play in our yard and desperate to get at them. Standing at the garden doors, banging and yelling as loudly as she can, it’s not hard to know what she’s after. But she’s so little still, her baby soft skin is the perfect target for slivers from our deck. She wants to put every rock, leaf and dirt clod in her mouth. It’s perilous out in the big world for a little being. And yet, she must experience it to understand it and know her limits.
[Not to mention build her microbiome which will be a topic for another blog but feel free to check this out for now]
I take Edie outside and we set up a picnic blanket on our deck, feel the sunshine and breeze on our winter-pale skin and have about 2 seconds of calm before she wants to explore further. She is curious, as is the baby’s nature. I know from experience that she will eat something she shouldn’t, she’ll cut or scrape her legs, her little feet or hands will likely be imbedded with sharp splinters of wood which are nearly impossible to remove. And yet, as it is her nature to experience the world, it is mine as her mother to allow her the space to do it.
Tiny tippy toes.
Would it be easier to stay inside, away from harm, not worrying about how she might tumble or come across a stinging bug? Perhaps. Maybe I could even plop her into a little playpen, I wouldn’t have to go after her at the stairs 25 times in an hour, before she pitches herself off the step. I could remove every tiny thing that might go in her mouth, make certain my older kids don’t leave anything around that could be harmful, enforce stricter rules in our home. Lord knows we did that the first time around! (Didn’t we all? Poor overly sheltered first borns.)
It could ease some of the exhaustion I feel at the never-not-alertness of my life right now. Maybe in time she wouldn’t wail in her confinement but learn to deal with it, maybe even grow to depend on the security of knowing her space is always safe. And maybe as she grew she would shy away from anything that felt uncertain because all she knew was shelter, she would become ever more cautious and concerned with preservation of the body at all costs.
Perhaps you’re already picking up on the analogy I’m building upon, about how when we fearfully protect we can often do so at the expense of freedom. I’m most definitely not suggesting we just let our wee ones go off in the world to fend for themselves, alone, but I am wanting to weigh caution against reason. I’m no more likely to want to relegate myself indoors than Edie is, so we’ll go out into the world together. She’ll explore and test her boundaries, under the guiding eyes of her big sisters and of her loving parents. She will hurt herself, more than we’ll ever be comfortable with, but she’ll also find her limits and learn how to use her body safely. She’ll grow into a person who knows how to always navigate safely, from her own guidance, her own intuition built upon an inner knowing that has wisdom that spans generations and millennia.
Edie has come into the world at a time when knowing that part of herself well, staying close to what feels truly aligned with her, body, mind and soul, will be paramount to living a life that is full, authentic and whatever she most desires. I take stock in my belief that we all came to earth knowing what was in store for us; we all read over the playbook, agreed to the terms, and knew that we had everything inside of us to find a way to be okay amidst any trial we faced. Sometimes it’s that belief that keeps me feeling hopeful at all right now.
Last week I consulted my oracle deck, as you do, and this is the card I drew. Reflecting on its message, I started to think about the other times in my life that the only way out was through. Of course, back to babyhood, learning all the tricks and trades of a human body — reaching and crawling and walking and grabbing — I can only use the reference of watching my three girls, my memory doesn’t actually stretch far enough back.
Childbirth is the ultimate hard thing I’ve done. All three times, ferociously hard, challenging my mind not to break as my body did what it had to. But not without massive fear; each time, no matter how much inner work I did beforehand, I always went to that dark place where I had to actively quell the fear that was rising in me. There is a moment in labour where my mind says (and often I say it aloud, peppered with a lot of swearing) “I cannot do this, I will die.” And a darkness in my mind thinks I would rather die, I would rather never meet this baby, I would rather leave this earth than feel this much physical intensity. My heart and my body have to counter those big thoughts with even bigger feelings; bravery, courage, stoicism, faith. I have to rely on the deepest well of knowing in me that I can do this, I will do it. But I have to go through to get to the other side, there is no opt out (for me) and there needn’t be one.
Just like that, it’s done. Maybe hours and hours (days?) later, but all obstacles, challenges, worries, fears have dissolved and only love is flooding me. Wonder, awe, amazement. Relishing the new perfect being I had thought I didn’t need to meet.
Meeting Lily for the first time, no struggle from before existed in this moment.
Pursuing what I know is my truth has felt as intense at times and yet I know, the only way out is through. I’m holding tight to those I love, I’m doing my best to channel all the bravery I can, because I know that as terrifying as things may feel now, I won’t stop until we are through. Until there is a peace I can align with, a sensibility and wellness being promoted. I am encouraged by those who have joined with their voices too — maybe not in agreement with my own views, but in questioning, of wanting to understand a bit more of what’s happening in our world right now.
I’m trusting in heart bursting love and awareness, awakened souls who peacefully go after the life they dream of, of clear sharing of information and a reclamation of our own sovereignty. I can’t wait to meet that version of life that is being birthed through all of this. Who’s going through with me?