9 years ago today, after laboring for 30+ hours, my daughter, Aliana, was born via Caesarian section at 7:50 am. After experiencing what my OB-GYN proclaimed to be a freakishly challenging pregnancy, that included sciatica, kidney stones, preterm labor, and gestational diabetes, it was mind-blowing to me that a human this extraordinarily healthy had actually been percolating inside of me for nine months.
On this day, June 15, 2008, I was 32 years old, yet I was just a shell of a person. I had no personality, no likes or dislikes, and no idea how I had gotten myself into the mess of an abusive marriage.
And now I had this tiny, gorgeous human with a full head of curly black hair, that was staring at me with the deepest coffee colored eyes I had ever seen. And somehow, those eyes were the only thing that ever could break me of my numbness. You see, I could no longer disassociate from my life, because that would mean I was disassociating from MY OWN CHILD.
In the intensity of her gaze, I imagined she was saying to me, “I am here. I am LIGHT.”
Her existence broke me into a million pieces so that I would be somehow be forced to make a plan to put myself together again, because her eyes–HER LIGHT–showed me that she needed a mama who was whole, and that mama had to be me.
One day, I was giving her a bottle when her father entered the room. I don’t remember what I had said that upset him so much, but he spat on me. His spit ran down my face and dripped onto my shirt. I didn’t react, as I knew that would make it worse, but Aliana did. She screamed at the top of her lungs and she no longer wanted the bottle. Her screams and her terror reminded me of my own terror–reminded me that I needed to finally be terrified in order to be her mother. My heart of darkness slowly began to crack, and I allowed her light to seep into me.
Her birth was my rebirth, so in many ways, this day, June 15, is sacred to me and forever will be. It is a day that I was also born, as this baby was the one who brought me back to life.
Sometimes people say to me, it’s unfortunate that you and your ex husband conceived a child together, because that means you have to still communicate and can’t be completely unattached. What people who make these comments don’t understand is that if I hadn’t had my daughter, I might still be living in that marriage. Aliana’s existence propelled me into a completely new level of life, because I finally loved a person so much that I didn’t want her to live the way I had been living. The love I couldn’t feel for myself, I could feel for her.
Something deep inside of me knew that I could never be the mother she needed unless I could fully be myself, and the journey to self discovery started with her birth.
Changing lives is serious business, and this girl wasn’t even planning on getting into that business; the universe simply deemed it so.
And for that I will always be thankful. Happy birthday, Aliana.