“Recently, a friend texted me: ‘Here we go,’ she said. It was a photo of her in a hospital gown.
Lovely and tired, she was in labor and I felt ever so vividly where she was.
I remembered myself in her place.
I remembered the childless girl who went into a labor and delivery ward scared and in pain and full of wonder and naivety and fear and excitement.
I remember being embarrassed when my water broke in a Hollywood-style fashion all over a cold hospital floor with wonderful strangers around me.
I remember the hours that followed.
There was so much unknown.
I remember the feeling of lightness when Sunday arrived, and the heaviness in the days that followed when the visitors left and the hormones crashed and a wave of newness like nothing I’d ever known came over me.
In a way, when I saw my friend’s text, I missed the girl I was when I walked into the hospital that day. The one who lived in a tiny little apartment and took long runs and longer showers and lounged with coffee and slept in. I don’t always feel like I know her anymore. Glimpses of her, maybe. But not the full her.
In a way, I wanted to say to my friend: ‘Live in those last few moments. Hug your husband. Cherish that time.’
But I didn’t.
I also knew that contractions hurt and it was hard (because it is), and being so close to the unknown is so uncomfortable yet so strangely spiritual.
I also wanted to say this: ‘The person she is becoming, the person she will become tonight, will awe the person she is right now.’
I wanted to tell her the little baby she was about to meet will introduce her to herself.
I wanted to tell her the days that are about to follow will be hard—but it will all be okay. Because the mess of it all is what makes it so beautiful. (But in quiet moments, she’ll always dream about lazy afternoons.)
I didn’t though.
Instead I told her she was doing great.
I told her I’d be here if she needed me.
I told her I couldn’t wait to see her on the other side.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Cassie Shortsleeve of Dear Sunday. You can follow her journey on Instagram and join her mom groups on her website. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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