Knowing Motherhood by Guest Storyteller Barb Buckner Suárez, #365StrongStories 56

Knowing Motherhood by guest storyteller Barb Buckner Suarez, #365StrongStoriesMy baby lay on my chest, warm and wet from being born just moments before. I called my parents to announce they were grandparents - again. This was their 10th, but my first. Still high on the other side of giving birth, I looked at her impossibly tiny fingernails, and dialed. My Dad picked up on the first ring shouting with joy. Mom got on next and the minute I heard her voice, I burst into tears. “I’m so sorry!”

Concerned, she asked, “For what, honey?”

“For all the times that I said I’d be home by midnight and didn’t come home until 2 am! For all the times you must have worried. For everything!”

She chuckled, “It’s okay. It’s okay.” Which only made me sob harder.

How is it that the word “mother” remains unknown, unknowable, until you are a mother yourself?

Just as my mothering journey was beginning, the veil that obscured motherhood had been pulled away. Suddenly and with great clarity, I realized that all of those times I’d been convinced my Mom was “ruining my life” were just her attempts to save me from harm. I couldn’t make sense of this at the time. The center of my universe was me.

Now, holding this completely dependent, tiny little person, I realized the enormity of it all. I had just irrevocably committed myself to doing everything possible to raise this child into adulthood with an intact and healthy spirit. What the hell was I getting myself into?

I couldn’t believe that my Mom had made this commitment six times - all without a mother of her own to call and apologize to.

Where does this determination come from? To love so fiercely that your heart catches in your throat at the thought of your baby ever getting hurt?

I don’t know the answer to these questions. But my Mom was willing to show up and answer them. I’m forever grateful that I have the opportunity to show up and answer them myself, however imperfectly.

But I admit it: I’m looking forward to receiving that call to support my own daughters when it's time for them show up and try to answer these questions on their own motherhood journeys.

Barb Buckner Suarez #365StrongStories guest storytellerBarb Buckner Suárez works with expectant couples as they are preparing to become a family. She believes that every woman should have a birth story worth telling. You can find more of her writing at

Testing the Truth of Two Birth Stories, #365StrongStories 34

The Truth of Two Birth Stories, #365StrongStories by Marisa Goudy It went on for pages. Exacting descriptions took the reader minute-by-minute through the entire 28-hour process. Though the story was written over several weeks, the narrator would tell you she remembered every detail because she'd been exultantly present in every moment. The journal pages filled more than four years later were more like notes on a dream. The writer lingered on the result, not the road that got her there. When you finally do find out what really happened, entire hours are summed up with “I was lost in the torturous, incremental progression of it all.”

Though the stories were written by the same hand, it would be hard to say that the same woman gave birth in 2009 and in 2014.

After my first daughter’s birth, I considered myself a force of nature - triumphant and ecstatic at the power of the female form. When I survived the second, I was a deeply humbled creature who contentedly swore “never, ever again.”

In truth, the second birth was probably the safer one… transition was a long, brutal hell, but I pushed that baby out in the space of eleven banshee-screaming minutes. The first time around I flirted with “failure to progress” and I’m sure the story would have ended very differently if I wasn’t in the care of trusted homebirth midwives.

Both stories were rooted in my truth as I understood it, but none of it was necessarily true.

Birth is ascending to the stars and falling to your knees. It’s all hope and despair, euphoria and desperation, and the words on a page can only offer a distant view through a cloudy glass. For something so sacred, that is just as it ought to be.


What We Mean When We Say Motherhood Is "Incredible," #365StrongStories 10

What We Mean When We Say Mothering is “Incredible,” #365StrongStories by Marisa Goudy “Moms, how come you never told us?” Back when I was high on whatever cocktail Mother Nature serves new mothers to enable us to survive the stress of being responsible for another human life, I wrote an open letter to the Baby Boomer moms.

Sweetly self righteous, I thanked them for teaching us to take on the world, but I took this generation of women to task for holding back an essential piece of information.

“How come?” I asked like some daft hen staggering about under the influence of yummy postpartum hormones.

How come you never told us that motherhood was this incredible? You never mentioned the spell that was cast when you first looked into our infant eyes. You never described it as the greatest love story never told.”

The mommies who came before us didn’t get around to waxing poetic about every magic sparkle moment of motherhood because… motherhood.

Finally, I know that that word really means. Incredible is defined as “difficult or impossible to believe.”

All of the joy and rage and numbness and passion that get mixed into the mother-child bond… it really is incredible.

Yes, parenting is difficult and impossible to believe. I cannot fathom how I - and all the rest of the moms I know - can be a kind, smart, creative individual who practices any level of self control when forced to live with this kind of sleep deprivation and these draconian limits on personal and professional time.

And yes, to balance this all out and to show that I am mother that I purport to be on Facebook, the tremendous love I feel for these girls is incredible too. But tonight, the new mommy glow has long since worn off and just wish everyone would figure out to sleep through the night and wake up pleasantly in the morning.