What 2020 Taught Me About Motherhood

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Having become a mom at the end of 2017, I wasn’t brand new to motherhood when 2020 rolled around. At the beginning of the year, I was expecting my second and ready to take on life with two littles. What I was not prepared for was to have my entire pregnancy, labor, and postnatal plan flipped on its head with three weeks to go when the world shut down. What I was not prepared for was work-from-home turned postpartum, pandemic maternity leave with a two-year-old at home from daycare, and a newborn thrown in the mix. I was not prepared to not be able to accept help from and share our new addition with family and friends. I was not prepared for isolation, constant questioning, growing fear and uncertainly, or the face to face turned Facetime that was our new normal. I was not prepared for fresh hell.

But if 2020 taught me anything about motherhood, it is this: it does not stop. Motherhood cannot be shut down. Motherhood does not close its doors. Motherhood is relentless in its pursuit to protect and provide. It propels us forward, despite all that pulls us back.

Motherhood wears many masks.

We’ve always worn masks. We mask exhaustion with cups of cold coffee. We mask frustration with deep breaths. We mask pain in the comfort of a hug. We’re wearing protective masks this year, but we’ve always worn masks. We’ve worn superhero masks while taking part in make-believe worlds. We’ve worn facial masks in desperate attempts at self-care. We’ve worn eye masks to shut out the world and find some rest. We’ve worn the mask of motherhood all along.

While 2020 has asked us all to mask up, it has also invited us to uncover so much about ourselves, the lives we lead within the safety of our homes, and the love that persists across miles and over time.

Motherhood is a reflex.

How many times have we hit rock bottom, only to find a hole that goes further down? How many times have we looked around for footing to lift ourselves up, to get out of what we were stuck in, to move forward and move on with little to no help? We’ve looked and found nothing and had to make it happen. We’ve had to create strength without knowing how or why or when or if, and we’ve managed to do it. Motherhood is the process of creating strength when there is none to find.

We make it and remake it and there is no recipe; there is no guide; there is no checklist. There is just instinct – a reflex.

Motherhood is magic.

Think about the many times you created magic this year. When the birthday party was canceled. When the holidays rolled by. When the graduations and baptisms and milestones looked more like transactions than steppingstones to somewhere greater. When all else failed, you created magic. You created magic and you will continue to create.

The magic is within you.

As we take on 2021, let that magic ignite a fire in your soul. Let it burn down any doubt you have been holding onto. Let it melt away the fears that weigh you down. Let it kindle within you the power to carry on. Let it be the spark that brings light to the darkness. Let motherhood lead the way.

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