You are here

Labor Day

Denene Millner of MyBrownBaby

I’m almost certain I walked into the hospital backward, bent over and pointing at my spine when I went into labor with my Lila, groaning, moaning and maybe yelling a little bit about how the only person I wanted to speak to was the anesthesiologist. He, after all, was the one with the needle filled with the magic juice—the stuff that would at least temporarily put an end to the wrenching pain that was squeezing every ounce of lifeblood out of my baby-filled gut. ‘Nuff respect to the mothers who, for whatever reason, go the natural route and bear the excruciating pain that comes with pushing a big-headed human being out of their loins. When it comes to childbirth, some mothers are heroic like that.

I ain’t one of them.

Though my labor with my first daughter, Mari, was rather reasonable considering she was my first birth—two hours and twenty-one minutes of labor, including 20 minutes of pushing, and she was getting her nose cleared and her booty smacked—I remembered every… little… teeny… weeny… second… of… searing… throbbing… push… pull… stretch… and tug… that came with getting that child out of me. And that was with an epidural. I did not want a repeat of any of that business, no ma’am. So with Lila, I asked quick, fast and in a hurry for drugs. Lots of them.

The epidural was no match for my Lila, though; her heart rate was a little too low for the nurse’s comfort, and so I was forced to lay on one side, with all manner of IV’s, straps and monitors attached to my body while I waited a whopping 17 hours for my baby to get on with it. Lila made her move only after Nurse Ratched changed shifts and I was able to sneak onto my other side; three pushes and a massive perineal tear later, the kid was hollering and screaming and looking for some ninny.

Any woman who’s ever given birth knows that labor ain’t for wimps, punks or sissies. And every mother knows, too, that the real labor comes not in becoming a mom, but being one.

And so this Labor Day, I’d like to take a moment to shout out the mothers who wake up in the middle of the night and change the diapers and feed the babies and rock them back to sleep, only to repeat the cycle 32 minutes later…

And sacrifice showers, hair combing and teeth brushing so that infants with onesies full of projectile vomit and loose, green poop can have that sweet baby smell again…

And walk past the sink full of dirty dishes and wash them, even though they’ve seen neither hide nor hair of a crumb of food or a sip of water all day…

And climb Mt. Laundry with its funky socks and grass-stained pants and soiled unmentionables, even though they’ve got all of three pieces of clothes in the pile…

And short-order cook the same number of meals that go with the tastes of all the people sitting at the dinner table, who never seem to actually like the same stuff…

And who rush their kids from one side of town to the other and back again to make it from work to the school to the trumpet lessons to the soccer practices to the PTA meetings because somebody’s gotta take ‘em and mothers rarely make enough to pay a limo driver for the privilege…

And who spend their weekends out on the fields in the hot sun, cheering like fanatics and lunatics for their babies when they win and cheering like fanatics and lunatics for their babies when they lose, too…

And for spending their last penny to make sure their children have what they need and even some of the what they want…

And for doing equal work for less pay and making $1 out of 15 cents to raise your babies, even as it seems politicians work overtime to decimate the very safety nets that help the most vulnerable among us—our children—survive and thrive…

And for rising before sun up and laying it down way past can’t see, plotting and planning and dreaming about how to make their kids’ lives better than their own…

And for loving their little bits with abandon…

Because that’s what we moms do.

We labor.

All day, every day.

Even when we sleep.

So on this Labor Day, mom to mom, I need each and every one of you to know that you are appreciated.

More than you know.

For more of Denene's thoughts on motherhood, visit her personal blog at MyBrownBaby.com.

comments