I was recently thinking about birth. Cause when you have done it so many times you tend to think about it alot. Usually as in, "I really don't want to do that again. Can't the stork bring the next one?" No actually the question was "Is Birth the event that shapes our lives as mothers or just one day out of the big picture?" I ran around the question a few times, recalling what older, more wiser mothers have told me. I don't know how it shapes our individual lives but I know for a fact, its not just one day based on my own personal experiences. I realized I felt a bit biased by my training in natural birth to say it does shape our whole lives. However, as I consider life as a journey, and every day is just closer to our destination I saw I can't know yet how any event will shape our WHOLE lives. We can however see how events have shaped our lives up to that point and its shaping our lives right now.
Recently we went to a new park where they had a see saw. First time my kids have ever been on one. Everyone was eager to try it out. There was a problem for my oldest though, no one else was big enough to ride with her. Her sister tried for a little while then ran off to play with other kids. Then when some younger kids doubled up to play with her my daughter had a hard time even getting on the seat. She couldn't sit on it while they were on because she couldn't lift her leg high enough for the seat to go down low enough for the younger kids to get on. Finally I told her she had to let someone else play as so much time had passed while she had tried to get on. Then drama ensued. She stormed off crying. After letting her cool down I went to talk to her. I gave her 2 options. She could sit there and sulk and not enjoy everything else the park has to offer or she could come play on all the other equipment and miss out on only the see saw. She thought for a moment and decided to come play. A wise decision. She could have let that one incident ruin her entire trip to the park. Now in the future when she doesn't get her way I think she will remember the other fun to be had.
We learn from one incidents, from one moment, one action, one day all the time. We grow, become more mature, round out the rough edges all the time. But even as you can look back and see what you have learned from each different experience you can't fully know how it changes your life in another 20 years or 40 years or 60 years.
When I was expecting my 4th one of my great Aunts was diagnosed with cancer. She failed quickly. By the time my baby was born my aunt was no longer in her right mind. My grandmother told me how she would catch my aunt pushing a chair around the house thinking it was a baby buggy with a baby inside. My aunt would roll up a towel and carry it around the house like a baby. And once was caught in bed moaning and groaning. My grandmother was afraid she was in pain only to discover my Aunt reliving her births. Watching my Aunt hold my baby in her arms, a real baby not a towel, changed me and how I thought of life and death. My aunt was dying and what she was remembering in her life was her babies and her births. I don't know how my births will shape me in 40 years but I saw how my aunts births shaped hers.
I can see how my births have changed my life, how its shaped me as a mother. But I have many more years of being a mother and I don't yet know all the lessons there are to learn. And I don't how the lessons I have learned will continue to shape me in the future.